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UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcon may have a new suitor

Berkeley at dusk.
Flickr / Creative Commons
Berkeley at dusk.

The KALW newsroom was gripped with anticipation this week, watching via webcam as a local falcon fluffed her feathers and paced back and forth on a ledge.

The subject of our collective fascination was Annie, the female peregrine falcon who has nested atop the university’s Campanile Tower since fall 2016. When she first made her home in the clock tower, Annie was accompanied by Grinnell, a male falcon who became her longtime mate.

But Grinnell was struck by a car in downtown Berkeley in March 2022. Earlier that day, he had been defending their two eggs from a younger falcon attacking the nest.

After Grinnell’s death, Annie took another mate. Researchers named him Lou. But Lou also recently disappeared. He was last spotted in early January.

Last week, the group of researchers observed a courtship beginning between Annie and a new male falcon.

Annie is now ten years old. She has raised 18 chicks from the Campanile tower. Egg-laying season typically takes place in mid-March, so researchers are encouraged by the timing of this new courtship. If things continue to go well, a contest will be held to name Annie’s new beau. His new name could be revealed as soon as Valentine’s Day.

You can watch a live-feed of Annie courting her suitor at calfalcons.berkeley.edu.

Pat McMahon is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy, an audio producer, sound artist, and radio enthusiast.