It was an eggs-citing time Tuesday at a party to celebrate the hatching of new peregrine falcon chicks in a nest at University of California at Berkeley’s famous bell tower.
The hatching of four eggs of a falcon named Annie and her new mate Lou atop UC Berkeley’s Campanile tower was the inspiration for a party being held all day at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), which was showing a live video feed of the birds on an outdoor screen as part of a free event.
Jan Ambrosini, who is with the Cal Falcons group of scientists and volunteers that monitors the falcons and posts regular photos, videos, commentary and memes about them onto social media, said hundreds of people as of Tuesday afternoon had already come to the “Hatch Day” party to watch the live video feed and learn from falcon experts there.
One of the four chicks had come out of its shell and looked fluffy and white on the webcam while a second was trying to make its way out of its egg as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Ambrosini.
The female peregrine falcon Annie and her late mate Grinnell initially made their home at the Campanile in 2017 and a crowdfunding campaign in 2019 led to the installation of two webcams that live-stream the nesting area and balcony to the public 24 hours a day.
Grinnell was found dead in March 2022 on the UC Berkeley campus and eggs Annie laid before Grinnell’s death would not have hatched except for the arrival of a new falcon, eventually named Alden, that helped incubate the eggs.
Two eventually hatched, though Alden then left in November and has not been seen again by the Cal Falcon experts. That absence allowed a new mate, Lou, to swoop in and become Annie’s new mate among multiple suitors, Ambrosini said.
“They’re all about survival and reproduction. For them, if they lose a mate, it’s very typical that they replace that mate almost immediately,” Ambrosini said. “They don’t sit and mourn like people do.”
She said Lou “is doing all the right things and seems to be a really good partner” for Annie, helping to incubate the eggs and bringing food, including a meal earlier Tuesday for Annie and the new chick.
“He’s a very dedicated dad for sure,” Ambrosini said.
For those who weren’t able to make it to the BAMPFA party in person, the live-stream of the nest and social media updates on the hatchings and other information about the falcons can be found at the Cal Falcons website.