Local "avian celebrity" Grinnell the peregrine falcon is one step closer to being able to return to the fight for his home and mate atop U.C. Berkeley's Campanile, according to Lindsay Wildlife Experience, which treated the bird for injuries after a run-in with rivals.
The Lindsay wildlife rehabilitation hospital said it released Grinnell to homecare with a volunteer expert last week and will evaluate him for possible release to the wild this week. Fans are rooting on social media for Grinnell to get back to the clock tower, where another male peregrine falcon appeared to be courting his mate, Annie — the very bird, in fact, presumed responsible for Grinnell's injuries.
"Grinnell the Peregrine Falcon continues to prepare for his return to the wild," Lindsay Wildlife Experience posted on Facebook. "His injuries are healing well and he was sent to homecare on Tuesday, Nov. 9 with a volunteer species manager and falcon expert who will monitor his progress as he builds up strength. Our veterinary team plans to recheck Grinnell next week and possibly decide at that point whether he's ready to go back to the wild."
The wildlife museum and hospital said that a member of the public had discovered an injured Grinnell, whom it referred to as an "avian celebrity," sitting on a garbage can at the Berkeley Tennis Club at the end of October. The person rescued him and brought him to the hospital the next day, where veterinarians found that he was missing the tip of his upper bill and a large patch of feathers at his chin and throat area near a wound. He also had an injured left wing.
The team quickly discovered that the hurt bird was Grinnell, who rose to fame when he and Annie began nesting atop the Campanile in 2016 and a group raised money to install webcams, turning the pair into avian reality TV stars.
While eye-witness testimony has been hard to pin down, strong circumstantial evidence has allowed the Cal Falcons group to reconstruct what happened. "Clearly he was in a fight, but we didn't know with who," the group posted online. "However, after spending some time watching, we found Annie and two other peregrines, both adults, a pair. So he was in a fight with two peregrines."
Lindsay said its lead wildlife veterinarian performed surgery on Grinnell's wing and its team gave him antibiotics, antiparasitic drugs, and pain medication as he recovered from his injuries.
Video of the new falcon | Source: Cal Falcons
But while the people quickly figured out who Grinnell was and what probably happened to him, his mate Annie had no way of knowing that he wasn't dead or gone for good, as reported by U.C. Berkeley and covered by SFist and numerous outlets. And in his absence, Annie has been entertaining the new male, who seems to be courting her. Another female who initially showed up with the new male seems to be out of the picture, meanwhile.
“When Grinnell is released, we just don’t know if he’s going to go back to the territory, or if he’s going to try to go somewhere else, or if he goes back to the territory, if he’ll try to compete and how he’ll do,” Cal Falcons ornithologist Sean Peterson said in a webcast. “And I don’t think we really know how Annie will respond to him being back in the picture as well. She may just let the two males duke it out and see who the victor is.”