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Monday, November 29, 2021

UC Berkeley soap opera about peregrine falcon is gaining traction

Today in How the Falcon World is Changing, Grinnell, the handsome protagonist, returns home from his battle wounds and learns that his life partner, Annie, is coming out with a new beau.

Will their love be reborn? Can Grinnell Forgive Annie? Will the new love interest fly away or enter into a new battle for Annie’s heart?

The soap opera playing in the skies over the Campanile of UC Berkeley continued when Grinnell, a male peregrine falcon, was released back to campus on Wednesday, about three weeks after he was hospitalized with injuries sustained in a battle with a newly arrived falcon. He has his eye on the territory of Grinnell and longtime friend, Annie.

Upon his release, Grinnell flew to the tower – his home since late 2016 – and was seen sitting there. Sean Peterson of the Cal Falcon project says observers are pretty sure Annie saw him and had some kind of interaction, but it’s too early to know if the couple will reunite or if Annie is turning her attention to a new boyfriend.

All three – Grinnell, Annie and the new bird – flew together late Wednesday night.

Grinnell was rushed to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience Animal Hospital on October 29 after being found sitting on a campus trash can the day before. Some of his account was missing and he suffered a serious wing injury. A male and a female peregrine falcon were spotted in the area around the same time, and Grinnell is believed to have fought them for territory.

Although falcons mate for life, if one of them disappears or dies, the birds’ instincts seek to find a new mate. For the past three weeks, viewers watching through the camera of the falcon at the top of the tower have become desperate as Annie seemed to be friends with the rookie, exchanging bows and chatting with each other.

“She seems to be very receptive to his courtship,” says Peterson. “The breeding season hasn’t started yet, but she’s definitely ready to take this new male as her mate.”

Lindsay Wildlife Experience veterinarian Dr. Crystal Wu releases UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon Grinnell to return home to Campanile. Wu treated Grinnell for injuries sustained from the territorial brawl and announced that he was 95 percent cured and ready to return to action. (Courtesy of Jennifer Wu)

Grinnell and Annie fans posted messages of support for the pair on the Falcon Facebook page, urging them to wait for Grinnell’s return. It seems inconceivable to some that Annie and Grinnell would break up. Over the past five years, the couple have successfully raised 12 chickens and gained a large fan base.

While it would be sad to see the pair split up, says Peterson, it could actually be beneficial for the breed. Peregrine falcons were once on the list of endangered species. The population declined from 3,875 breeding pairs in the 1940s to 324 pairs in the mid-1970s.

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Habitat loss, shooting and egg collection have caused some decline, but the use of the insecticide DDT has dealt an almost fatal blow.

Peregrine falcons, at the top of the food chain, consumed massive amounts of the insecticide while hunting birds that ate poisoned insects. This chemical made the eggshells extremely thin and brittle, and they broke when the parents sat on them for incubation.

Federal safeguards and reductions in DDT, as well as active breeding programs, have brought the birds back to the brink of extinction.

Having a new breeding stock would provide a healthier population, Peterson said, and a new bird caring for Annie is generally good for the falcons.

When UC Berkeley first installed a video stream of the falcon from the top of the 307-foot Campanile, Peterson said they didn’t expect it to become so popular.

“We thought there would be five people watching,” Peterson says. “We didn’t expect to be watched by thousands and thousands. Not surprisingly, many have developed attachments. Year after year, they watched the chicks hatch.

“But as a biologist, it worries me that humans project too much of human behavior onto birds. It is difficult to lose Grinnell and Annie, but this change will be beneficial for the conservation of territory. It’s actually great. “

Observers are not yet ready to write off the Grinnell-Annie connection. Annie knows Grinnell was a great helper, feeding the chickens and fulfilling his male duties.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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