UC Berkeley Falcons: Annie and Grinnell's Last Chicks Have Hatched!

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A one-day-old peregrine falcon chick snuggles up to two reddish-brown eggs. The chick and a nearby adult falcon both have their beaks open, as if squawking.
Alden (aka 'New Guy') wonders what he got himself into while the first chick from Annie and Grinnell's last brood gets settled in and waits for their siblings. (Twitter/ @CatchALostStar/ @CalFalconCam)

Updated Monday, May 9 at 4:40pm.

The final brood of Annie and Grinnell, UC Berkeley's famous peregrine falcons, has hatched on top of the university Campanile.

The new chicks began arriving on Thursday morning, monitored and announced by the dedicated ornithologists of @calfalconcam on Twitter.

The first egg began to hatch at dawn:


And the first hatchling made an appearance a couple of hours later:

The hatchlings, when they first emerge, look like tiny meat sacks with a few sparse white feathers. This was the new chick first thing this morning.

A tiny, freshly hatched peregrine falcon chick sits between broken red-brown egg shell pieces, next to another intact egg. An adult peregrine falcon watches over the hatchling closely.
The first of the chicks that arrived on May 5. Look at its tiny beaky face! (Twitter/ @calfalconcam)

Just a few hours later, the cuteness factor went through the roof.

Annie continued to incubate the two remaining eggs while also keeping the new chick safe and warm.

Then, on Friday morning, the second chick made its first appearance.

Chick no. 2 escaped its shell entirely just a couple of hours later.

Ultimately, the third egg was abandoned. The new parents, however, kept themselves busy with the very serious task of feeding the babies their snack of choice—raw meat.

The tiny duo will no doubt consume the attention of falcon fans and UC Berkeley's ornithologists as they mature over the next 40 days or so.

Annie and Grinnell's fourteenth and fifteenth babies successfully making it out of their eggs is cause for celebration. Concerns that none of the toot-floofs would make it into the world went into overdrive on March 31, when Grinnell was hit and killed by a car. At that time, Annie was incubating two eggs at their nest—a task she wouldn't be able to complete alone.

Tributes to her beloved baby daddy, including flowers, photos and newspaper articles, were placed at the base of the Campanile in the days that followed. Annie and Grinnell had been resident at the Campanile together since 2016.

After Annie's repeated calls to Grinnell went unheeded (sob), she quickly acquired an attentive new mate. Within one day of Grinnell's departure, New Guy (as the internet initially dubbed him) started assisting Annie with egg-warming duties, food deliveries and nest defense at the Campanile. Annie felt so at ease with New Guy, she even laid a third egg. Ordinarily when a mated peregrine falcon loses their partner during breeding season, the nest gets abandoned. Final proof, if we needed it, that Annie is no ordinary falcon. (We kind of figured that out after she faked her own death at the end of February.)

Realizing Annie's new partnership was not a flash in the pan (like that mean falcon that hospitalized Grinnell back in Nov. 2021), a public vote was held to decide on an official name for New Guy. The best little stepdad in Berkeley was renamed Alden on April 18 after winning 29% of the vote, and beating out the names Lou, Archie, Savio, Takaki, Ed, Ned, Morgan and Calvin. Alden was named after Alden Miller, the ornithologist who took over as director of the university's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology after Joseph Grinnell died in 1939. (Annie is named after Annie Montague Alexander, the founder of the museum.)

A vote will imminently be held to decide what to name the last of Grinnell's offspring. The birds of last year's brood, which arrived between April 17 and 19, were named Fauci (for Dr. Anthony), Kaknu (the Ohlone name for falcon) and Wek’-Wek’ (the Miwok name for falcon). Names of prior chicks include Fiat, Lux, Berkelium, Californium and Lawrencium. (Though the current location of most of the babies is unknown, Lawrencium lives on Alcatraz.)

Perhaps the new chicks can be known as Grin and Nell in honor of their dear departed papa.