UC Berkeley’s male peregrine falcon, Grinnell, has been injured in a fight against rival falcons.
According to a Berkeley news article, Grinnell was found Oct. 29 and has lived atop the Campanile for five years, a position that might be endangered by this injury. He was brought to the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment.
Sean Peterson, a campus doctoral candidate in the department of environmental science, policy and management, said Grinnell was found at the Berkeley Tennis Club, perched on a trash can. He added Grinnell was easily approached and caught.
According to Peterson, Grinnell had X-rays and a minor surgery to close a wound on his wing.
“He has now been given anti-parasite medication and antibiotics,” Peterson said. “He is being fed and recovering and medicated.”
Mary Malec, a member of Cal Falcons and East Bay Regional Park District volunteer raptor coordinator, has seen the pair of falcons that engaged with Grinnell near the Campanile.
According to Lynn Schofield, a staff biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations, Grinnell will heal quickly and build up strength so he can be released into the wild.
“Raptors heal relatively quickly … so Grinnell might be fit enough to start working on moving and flights so that he can be released,” Schofield said. “He will need to put on some extra weight to make sure he can fly strong enough to be released.”
Schofield said they don’t want to release Grinnell near the Campanile as the rival falcons are there. She added the Lawrence Hall of Science is a potential site of release.
Malec noted that nesting season begins in February and attributed recent events to “territorial behavior.”
Allen Fish, associate director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and member of Cal Falcons, said that cameras are observing the falcons on the Campanile.
“The Cal Falcons group has documented via the nest cams that a second adult pair, male and female, have been visible on the Campanile over the past few days,” Fish said in an email. “This new pair speaks to the high value of the tower as a Peregrine nest site.”
Peterson said fans of Grinnell are distraught and want to see him get better soon.
However, Schofield noted some of the positive takeaways from the incident.
“Honestly, this altercation that Grinnell had is an indication that the health of the species is greatly improved,” Schofield said. “The population is great enough that there is competition between individuals.”