In the past, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, or BAMPFA, has screened spectacles like the presidential elections or the World Cup — but Thursday, the museum will show the hatching of three eggs, currently incubated by UC Berkeley’s celebrity falcons Annie and Grinnell.
The hatching will be broadcast on a “massive outdoor screen” at BAMPFA. The web stream will be running from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. As the chicks pip and hatch, experts from BAMFA’s partners will be stationed on site to field questions from the community “to provide expert commentary about this momentous event,” said BAMPFA spokesperson AJ Fox in an email.
“I think these falcons are special because they provide a link between wildlife and humanity right in our backyard,” said Golden Gate Raptor Observatory volunteer Sean Peterson.
The falcons are an index species considered by experts to be an environmental success story. The population, once decimated by DDT — a substance that causes eggshell thinning — has since bounced back, and its numbers are now comparable to pre-DDT times.
The hatching process, according to David Mindell, visiting scholar at the campus Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, will begin when the chicks attempt to break out of their eggs.
“Sometimes they hatch simultaneously; sometimes serially,” Mindell said in an email. “Usually all eggs in a clutch will hatch w/in 1 to 2 days of each other.”
While this occurs, the chicks will vocalize and the parents will reply with quiet “chups,” according to Peterson. After hatching, Annie and Grinnell will hold off on feeding the chicks for 24 hours, at which time the parents will likely sit on top of them, keeping them warm.
Following the hatching, Paterson said the real danger comes after the chicks leave the nest. Predators will not be a big concern for this particular pair, because of the nest’s safe location in the Campanile.
Both the falcon experts and BAMPFA are excited to share this event with the community.
“I am excited about any opportunity that people have to learn about the wildlife that shares our planet with us,” Peterson said in an email. “I think it’s really important for people to learn about how species live and interact with one other.”