Just an update on the peregrine falcons atop UC Berkeley's Campanile: There are already two eggs in Annie's nest, and she's ahead of the usual schedule with the laying by a week or two.
According to the expert watchers in the Cal Falcons discussion group, the earliest that longtime Campanile resident Annie has ever laid eggs in this nest was March 10. This year, the first egg appeared on March 3, last Friday, and a second egg arrived early Monday. With Annie usually producing a new egg every 2.49 days, they say, the third should be arriving today — and they actually have a likely timeframe, which is around 4 p.m.
At this rate, there will be hatchlings by early April!
As discussed the other week, Annie has a new mate this breeding season, and he's been named Lou by popular vote. The name is in honor of the real-life partner of Annie's namesake, Annie Alexander (1867-1950), who was named Louise Kellogg (1879-1967). As Berkeleyside explains, Alexander was a naturalist and explorer who founded the UC Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and she and Kellogg personally donated some 22,000 plant, animal, and paleontological specimens to the museum that they had collected.
"I think the story of Annie and Louise really resonated with people," said Sean Peterson, an environmental biologist with Cal Falcons, speaking to Berkeleyside. “It wasn’t the most queer-friendly era that they lived in, yet they carved out incredibly successful lives together."
Lou arrived on the scene earlier this year, and Annie seemed to take to him quickly. Annie's longtime partner Grinnell, who fathered last year's brood of offspring, was killed shortly after breeding last year, apparently by a car in downtown Berkeley. Annie continued laying eggs, successfully raising two fledglings, with the help of temporary partner Alden, who has since disappeared.
The falcon soap opera lives on, though, and Annie is considered a highly successful breeder among peregrines. The species, known to be the fastest-flying bird in the world, was considered endangered in the middle of the 20th Century due to impacts from pesticides that made fewer of its eggs viable. Populations have since rebounded, and the Bay Area is home to multiple peregrine nests and genetic lines, including one atop PG&E former SF headquarters that was watched via live feed for many years. That falcon cam went dark in 2021, leaving us with only the UC Berkeley falcon cam.
Below, you can see the live feed of the nest, where Annie and Lou are alternately sitting on the eggs. And look for a third to arrive any minute now. As of this writing, Annie is in the nest, and Lou is keeping a close watch on balustrade nearby, which you can see on this other live feed.
Sidebar: A Berkeley alum, business reporter Nick Turner, recently commented on the campus's fascination with the falcons. "One of my favorite things about UC Berkeley is everyone is obsessed with the falcons nesting in the tower," Turner writes on Twitter. "When the chancellor sends an alumni bulletin, it’s not about, I dunno, the endowment or something… she’s like HERE’S WHAT’S UP WITH THE FALCONS GUYS."