BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — A fuzzy white peregrine falcon chick hatched atop a bell tower on UC Berkeley’s campus just days before Mother’s Day.
The chick’s adorable hatching was livestreamed Thursday by UC Berkeley’s falcon nest cameras.
LIVE NEST CAM: See Annie’s new baby chick
Berkeley biologists said it was a particularly special hatching because of challenges the mother falcon faced this spring.
The mother, Annie, lost her loyal mate, Grinnell, on March 31 when he was fatally struck by a car. The pair had raised chicks together since 2017 on the 300-foot-tall Campanile Bell Tower.
Annie had already laid her eggs when she lost her partner. She depended on Grinnell to hunt for food while she sat on the reddish-brown speckled eggs to keep them warm, UC Berkeley spokeswoman Gretchen Kell said.
Biologists were concerned that her three eggs wouldn’t hatch at all.
Amazingly, Annie welcomed a new mate, Alden, just hours after Grinnell died in downtown Berkeley, Kell said.
Somehow Annie knew that Grinnell was gone, and she needed to find a new partner fast for her babies to survive.
Alden immediately began helping her incubate the eggs and serving as a primary hunter for their food.
Other male peregrine falcon stopped by the nest, but Annie made it clear her heart was set on Alden.
The story of Annie and Alden won over falcon fans worldwide who regularly watch UC Berkeley’s live nest cameras.
VIDEO: Stepdad Alden meets the new baby falcon
“It was a really compelling story for a lot of people,” Cal Falcons ornithologist Sean Peterson said.
Annie still has two more eggs to hatch and one began cracking on Friday afternoon.
A clutch of peregrine falcon eggs typically hatches “about 48 hours from first to last egg, with more eggs toward the earlier side of the hatching window,” Peterson said.
By mid-June, the babies will be big enough to begin flying.
Researchers have been working for years to bring peregrine falcon back from being an endangered species in California.
“Fifty years ago there were two pairs of peregrine falcons in California. That’s it, just four birds total,” Peterson said.
There are about 50 nests in the San Francisco Bay Area Bay Area. If all goes well for Annie’s chicks, California will have three more falcons soaring soon.