Peregrine falcon Grinnell is nearing release after drama at the Campanile

Photo of a falcon
Cal Falcons/Courtesy
Grinnell, peregrine falcon, is scheduled to be released soon from Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital after suffering injuries from a violent confrontation with other falcons.

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Grinnell, UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcon, is currently recovering at the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital after likely sustaining injuries in a fight with rival falcons Oct. 29.

After acquiring his injuries, Grinnell was taken to the sanctuary and has since undergone an operation, according to Lynn Schofield, staff biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations.

Grinnell could be released as early as Thursday or Friday depending on his ongoing recovery, noted Sean Peterson, campus doctoral candidate in the department of environmental science, policy and management.

Following Grinnell’s injury, a female and male peregrine had been seen around the tower, Schofield noted.

Since the initial altercation, Annie, Grinnell’s partner, has expressed interest in the new male, who in turn appears to be skittish, according to Peterson.

The accompanying female peregrine formerly mentioned also seems to pose no threat to Annie, as she has not been seen since, Schofield added.

Once Grinnell is released, he could either return to the Campanile or look for new territory elsewhere, Schofield said. She added that it is hard to speculate.

Peterson noted that it is likely that Grinnell will try to come back to the Campanile — his assumption being based on other birds in similar scenarios.

Ongoing competition for nest sites reflects the effectiveness of conservation efforts, said Steve Beissinger, campus professor of ecology and conservation biology.

Beissinger noted that increased competition probably means that the availability of nest sites could limit population growth.

According to Schofield, Annie will likely be uninterested in entering a territorial battle between Grinnell and the new male.

While Annie has been seen engaging in courtship behavior with the new falcon, Schofield said she will likely pursue whichever male secures the Campanile.

“(Annie) may have already determined that (Grinnell) has died and isn’t coming back,” Beissinger said.

Beissinger noted that this is uncertain. Despite Grinnell and Annie residing in Berkeley throughout the year, some populations of peregrines migrate before returning to nesting sites independently.

Schofield noted that a potential confrontation between Grinnell and the new male falcon could range from non-injurious to deadly.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t result in death,” Peterson said.

Amid hopes for the well-being of the falcons, Schofield said the aim of Cal Falcons is to educate other humans.

Peterson added that the role of Cal Falcons is to be observational, as they avoid interfering with natural competition.

“Although people have the emotional connection with Grinnell, this new falcon is not the villain,” Schofield said. “It’s just how this plays out in a natural scenario.”


Contact Jude Strzemp at [email protected], and follow them on Twitter at @JStrzemp.