The “soap opera” of the Berkeley peregrine falcons may be turning into a love triangle, as the female Annie is courting a new mate while the male Grinnell recovers from injury.
Those of you paying attention to the peregrine falcon nest atop the UC Berkeley Campanile (the clock tower) may know that the male falcon Grinnell was badly injured in a fight last week, and is recovering at the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital in Walnut Creek. But the female Annie does not know this, and she may believe he is dead. And now Berkeleyside brings us the news that Annie appears to have moved on, and is courting a new male — likely the same male who maimed her mate.
This was discussed in an hour-long falcon update on Youtube Friday, where three ornithologists took questions from the falcons’ fans. “Grinnell was injured by probably another falcon, definitely a raptor,” Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Sean Peterson said in the webcast. “We have kind of a secondhand report of someone seeing three falcons fighting the day that he was hurt, so it’s kind of looking like he was in a fight with two other peregrine falcons.”
That webcast cut to the Berkeley falcon nestcam several times, where Annie could be seen showing signs of courtship with toward a new male, who was likely Grinnell’s attacker. “We just saw Annie doing a little bit of a scrape right there, already showing some interest in nesting,” said Sherrill Cook, a falcon specialist at the Lindsay Hospital where Grinnell is staying.
“She’s been doing breeding behaviors more with the new guy in the picture,” Peterson added. “I think she is kind of showing that she’s receptive to his courtship.”
The injured male Grinnell is still recovering from a busted beak, which will grow back, a wing wound that needed sutures, and a parasitic disease called capillariasis. But it appears he’ll be fine. “To be safe, I’d say he’ll be released in no longer than a month, hopefully, but it could be as short as two weeks,” Cook said in the webcast. The question now is what happens when they do let him back out.
“When Grinnell is released, we just don’t know if he’s going to go back to the territory, or if he’s going to try to go somewhere else, or if he goes back to the territory, if he’ll try to compete and how he’ll do,” according to Peterson. “And I don’t think we really know how Annie will respond to him being back in type picture as well. She may just let the two males duke it out and see who the victor is.”
If you want to play ‘Hot or Not?’ with the two male falcons, both are seen above. Grinnell is on the left, and the yet-unnamed ‘new guy’ is on the right.
Image: @cal_falcons via Instagram