After a dramatic “will they or won’t they” love story, it appears beloved campus peregrine falcons, Annie and Grinnell have begun displaying signs of a courtship — just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Back in October 2021, Grinnell was found with serious injuries following a fight with a rival falcon, and was taken to the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment. During his time in the hospital, the rival falcon who first injured Grinnell swooped in and started courting Annie, Grinnell’s partner.
There was a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not Grinnell would make a full recovery in time to reclaim the territory. It was also unclear if he would win back Annie, although Grinnell persevered and was ready to be released after three weeks.
“To be honest, we were not sure he would be able to regain the territory given how much he had been hurt in the fall, so it was a very nice surprise to see him return to form,” said UC Berkeley graduate student and member of Cal Falcons Sean Peterson in an email.
The rival male has not been seen since Grinnell’s return, so it is unclear whether or not the two had to fight for the territory, according to Peterson.
Peterson believes that it is possible Grinnell was able to reclaim his territory by simply being present and healthy. Grinnell’s recovery was also enough to win back the heart of his lover, Annie.
According to Peterson, Annie and Grinnell have been seen exhibiting “pair bonding behaviors” all year, which include head bows and flight displays. The pair was seen breeding for the first time this year Monday, which Peterson noted was a sign courtship was “ramping up.”
For the last two years, Annie has laid her eggs March 10. The year before that, she laid them March 17. According to Peterson, if Annie follows her usual pattern, she will lay her first eggs mid-March.
Mid-March will also mark Annie and Grinnell’s sixth brood, which Peterson noted means they likely only have a few years of breeding together left.
“Annie and Grinnell are on their 6th brood, which is pretty solidly in the prime of their breeding age,” Peterson said in the email. “Hopefully we’ll have a few more years of them breeding on the tower, but we do expect that eventually a new Peregrine Falcon will move in and take over for one of them.”
To follow along with the falcons’ love story, students can view the live webcams on the Cal Falcons website.