‘Unique and interesting’: Peregrine chicks born atop Campanile on Mother’s Day weekend

Photo of Hatch Day
Gavin Sagastume/Staff
Despite a chaotic breeding season marked by the death of peregrine falcon Grinnell, Annie and Alden successfully hatched two eggs Thursday and Friday.

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It was a festive Mother’s Day weekend for Annie the peregrine falcon as she welcomed two new chicks Thursday and Friday.

After a tumultuous yet successful incubation period, falcon fans got to see the fluffy bundles of joy hatch on the live Campanile falcon cameras. The newborn chicks are both active and eating well, according to Cal Falcons scientist Sean Peterson.

The Cal Falcons team celebrated the eggs by hosting a “Hatch Day” event on campus Friday, featuring telescope views of the nest and falcon drawings.

“I thought it was cool that it was open to students,” said campus student and Hatch Day attendee Kian Maple. “The falcons are a unique and interesting part of the Berkeley community.”

Although Annie had originally laid three eggs, Peterson noted that it is past the normal timeline for the third egg to hatch. This is not uncommon for Annie, who has not previously hatched all the eggs laid in each breeding season. 

The Cal Falcons team is delighted to have any chicks at all after Annie’s longtime mate Grinnell died last month in the midst of the breeding season and was swiftly replaced by new male Alden.

“I’m delighted to have 2 chicks this year,” Mary Malec of Cal Falcons said in an email. “Alden came in at the right time and had done everything right since.”

According to Peterson, the Cal Falcons team believes that the first two eggs were fathered by Grinnell, while the third egg could be Grinnell’s or Alden’s. This means one of the chicks is almost certainly Grinnell’s whereas the other’s parentage is unknown.

Regardless of biological fatherhood, Alden is stepping up well as a new father according to Peterson.

“It’s really exciting and just great that Alden was able to kind of step in and fill the parental gap that we lost when Grinnell died,” Peterson said.

The chicks will be banded — a process that enables viewers to identify and distinguish the birds — by Cal Falcons on May 27, according to Malec. They will be also named shortly after through a public naming contest, similar to what recently took place to name Alden.

Peterson estimates that the chicks will start to fly around June 15, although this depends on the sex of the chicks as male peregrines are likely to fly earlier than females.

In the meantime, the Cal Falcons team members are hoping for a break from the recurring peregrine melodrama.

“All of us are hoping for some quiet time and no drama,” said Malec in the email.

Contact Claire Daly at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @DalyClaire13.