Things are becoming official for Annie the peregrine falcon’s new Campanile paramour: “New Guy” has been officially named Alden, announced Cal Falcons on Monday.
Cal Falcons held an online naming contest to vote on the name, with Alden winning with 29% of the vote, according to campus. The contest received 9,478 votes in total, breaking the record of votes received in the previous contests to name falcon chicks.
“Thank you to everyone who suggested names and voted,” reads a tweet from @CalFalconCam. “We were blown away by the amazing suite of names suggested by all of you!”
The winning name was inspired by Alden Miller, late campus alumnus and famed ornithologist. Miller had ties to Joseph Grinnell, the namesake of Annie’s recently deceased mate and beloved Campanile falcon Grinnell.
Miller was a student of Grinnell at UC Berkeley and eventually succeeded him as the director of campus’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
Naming Alden after Joseph Grinnell’s real-life successor is thematic, especially considering Alden has succeeded falcon Grinnell as Annie’s mate, becoming a “bird stepdad” to Grinnell and Annie’s currently incubating eggs.
“Everyone I’ve talked to on Cal Falcons has liked the name,” said Cal Falcons ornithologist Scott Peterson in an email. “I think the relationship between Alden and Grinnell mirroring that of the Falcons, with Alden succeeding Grinnell at Cal was a great hook for people.”
According to Peterson, the team received more than a thousand name suggestions via social media and filtered it out to about 40 names based on popularity and relation to Berkeley. A group of volunteers then narrowed it down to nine finalists: Ned, Archie, Lou, Ed, Takaki, Morgan, Alden, Savio and Calvin.
Alden was not the only name suggestion related to the falcons’ human counterparts, with the runner-up name Lou inspired by Louise Kellogg, longtime partner of Annie the falcon’s namesake Annie Alexander. Lou was second place in the naming contest with 17% of the vote, followed by Archie, Savio, Takaki, Ed, Ned, Morgan and Calvin, according to campus,.
The naming contest has proved a welcome respite from an eventful breeding season for the falcons, with Alden giving Cal Falcons hope for the future of Annie’s eggs.
“Alden is doing an incredible job. None of us expected him to slide into fatherhood as quickly and adeptly as he has,” Peterson said in the email. “We really were fairly certain the nest would fail this year, so it’s been really amazing to have a ray of hope.”