It’s an avian tragedy that may have a happy ending.
A mere day after Grinnell, the longtime partner of Annie the famed Berkeley Peregrine falcon, was found dead, Annie began cavorting with a new paramour, observers said Friday.
“An unbanded male we have previously seen at the tower has, in the last 12 hours … copulated with Annie multiple times,” Cal Falcons, the group that monitors the birds, reported on social media. Grinnell was found dead Thursday.
But let’s not be too judgmental; the death of Grinnell, who famously raised chicks with Annie atop the University of California at Berkeley Campanile for the last five years, left Annie the single mother of two eggs.
The new wannabe inamorato brought and offered food to Annie Friday night. Also, he “briefly incubated the eggs,” Cal Falcons said. The group follows Annie’s exploits via webcam and posts photos, commentary and video regularly — appropriately enough, by tweeting on Twitter.
(Actually, falcons do not utter sounds similar to “tweet;” rather, they make noises something like “kak-kak-kak,” according to All About Birds. Folks who watch the UC Berkeley falcon cam can attest that it also sounds somewhat like a very loud squeaky wheel.)
While Annie didn’t accept the love offering — possibly a piece of deceased pigeon, a common falcon meal around cities, according to Audubon — the courtship is a good sign, Cal Falcons said.
“When a mated Peregrine dies during the breeding season, the most likely outcome of the nest is abandonment. In rare cases, a new mate can come in, establish a bond with the remaining individual, and adopt the chicks. It is possible that we are witnessing this right now,” the group tweeted.
When a mated Peregrine dies during the breeding season, the most likely outcome of the nest is abandonment. In rare cases, a new mate can come in, establish a bond with the remaining individual, and adopt the chicks. It is *possible* that we are witnessing this right now. pic.twitter.com/KKrBI8wxWD— CalFalconCam (@CalFalconCam) April 1, 2022
Given the aforementioned copulation, it would certainly appear that things are heading in that direction.
Upon the occasion of Grinnell’s death, “We are all deeply saddened to report that Grinnell was found dead in downtown Berkeley this afternoon,” Cal Falcons announced Thursday on Twitter. “We are devastated and heartbroken.”
“His cause of death isn’t known, but he was probably struck by a car given where we found him,” Cal Falcons added.
Annie and Grinnell had been nesting atop the Campanile since 2017.
Late last year, it was unclear whether the pair were going to stay together after Grinnell was attacked by two other falcons and hospitalized and Annie — quite the hussy — was seen starting pairing behavior with one of them.
It is unclear whether the “unbanded male” reported to be cavorting with Annie Friday is either of the earlier-reported suitors.
To get reports on the ongoing flap, Peregrine lovers can follow CalFalconCam on Twitter.