About two weeks since a peregrine falcon chick named Lux died after flying into Evans Hall, the campus has installed “bird streamers” near the balcony to deter birds from the building in the future.
Lux, born in May to two adult peregrines perched in the Campanile, became trapped after flying into a glass-enclosed balcony on Evans Hall’s 10th floor, dying while trying to escape.
The bird streamers, according to East Bay Regional Park District Wildlife Program Manager Doug Bell, are a curtain of cords that have been hung in front of windows near the balcony to “make it look like there’s an obstruction instead of a window.”
“When a flying bird sees an expanse of glass, especially if the glass is reflecting sky and clouds, it views it as open space and flies as if it is flying into open sky,” said Mary Malec, a volunteer nest watcher at the East Bay Regional Park District, in an email. “The paracord streamers break up the visual space.”
Malec noted that the urban fledgling peregrines were “especially vulnerable to buildings” because “without any experience they try to land on surfaces that an adult knows is not a good landing place.”
Bell said Lux’s surviving twin, Fiat, is also expected “to strike out on his own” soon. According to Bell, “By and large, by the time the fall hits, most young peregrines embark on their own.” Malec noted that some fledgling falcons have been found “several hundred miles” from their birthplaces.
The adult peregrine falcons, meanwhile, are likely to “stay around all winter” and may continue to use the Campanile or other buildings in the area as perching and hunting sites, according to Malec.
“The speed at which Fiat is learning to be a peregrine is very quick,” Bell said. “One always worries about how he will learn to avoid towering building and lines. But it’s quite impressive to see (Fiat and his mother) zooming around central Berkeley.”