UC Berkeley peregrine falcons welcome 3rd egg this year

Mary Malec/Courtesy

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Living in the Campanile, UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcon couple has laid its first three eggs of 2020.

Annie and Grinnell have raised their chicks in the Campanile since 2017. This year, Annie laid three eggs between March 1o and the early hours of March 16 and is expected to lay her fourth egg in two to three days, according to East Bay Regional Park District volunteer raptor coordinator Mary Malec.

“Most peregrines lay four eggs. Occasionally they will lay five, and fairly frequently they will stop at three,” Malec said. “In 2019 and 2018, (Annie) laid four eggs each time, so her pattern is to lay four eggs — that’s kind of what we expect.”

Malec added that peregrines give birth to broods once a year, this being Annie and Grinnell’s fourth time. She added that Annie was observed to start full-time incubation after she laid her third egg and that it will take 33 to 34 days for the eggs to hatch.

During the falcons’ first year on campus, one of Annie’s two hatchlings died after hitting a building. To try to decrease the danger that falcons face, researchers installed bird-safe streamers on windows near the Evans Hall balcony and other possibly dangerous places, according to Malec.

Historically, the population of peregrine falcons was once endangered when DDT, a chemical once used as insecticide, was found to thin the shells of eggs. Malec holds a positive attitude regarding the current situation of peregrines and added that the current population of peregrines is “robust.”

“The goal of both the education and the wonder of it all is to build respect for peregrines and how difficult their life is and how lucky we are to have them be doing really well,” Malec said.

Contact Joy Ma at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dcjoyma.