Two peregrine falcon chicks sit in their nest atop the Campanile bell tower on UC Berkeley's campus in May 2018. The university is conducting a public callout for names for the chicks. (Mary Malec)
Fluffy, Cottonball and Marshmallow or Bruce, Clark and Diana?
UC Berkeley officials are asking for help naming three fluffy peregrine falcon chicks that hatched earlier this year atop the iconic Campanile bell tower. The chicks are expected to fly off around June 1.
"They eat their food where they catch it, but when they have babies, they bring the food into the nest area," said Glen Stewart, director of UC Santa Cruz's Predatory Bird Research Group, which will be tracking the birds for the next couple of decades. "So when the food started coming into the balcony on April 23, we knew the eggs had hatched."
The suggested names range from the local (Cam, Pa and Nile), to the sporty (LeBron, Jordan and Larry), to the punny (Free, Screech and Movement).
One woman suggested on Twitter that the falcons be named Fluffy, Cottonball and Marshmallow, but those names might not work in the long run because when the chicks grow up, they'll be fierce predators.
"They actually make a living by plucking up other birds out of the air," Stewart said. "They'll be among the fastest creatures on the planet, diving at 200 to 300 miles per hour."
According to Stewart, Berkeley's iconic bell tower is a fitting birthplace for these birds.
"You say the bell tower is an iconic place -- this is an iconic animal," he said.
The peregrine falcon was near extinction 40 years ago, but Stewart said landmark legislation was passed to protect them and other endangered animals.
"It's really what drove passage of the Endangered Species Act," he said. "And I think that's what makes it a significant animal today."
This is the second straight year the chicks' parents have nested and hatched babies in the tower.