[Updated] Vote now to give the new UC Berkeley male falcon suitor a permanent name

[Updated] Vote now to give the new UC Berkeley male falcon suitor a permanent name
Photo Credit: @cal_falcons/Instagram
By Wesley Severson - Published on April 13, 2022.

The saga of the falcons that live on top of the Campanile on the campus of UC Berkeley is about to add a new chapter. The female falcon, Annie, has hitched up with a new male partner, after her former mate, Grinnell, was killed on March 31st. Less than eight hours after Grinnell was presumably hit by a car in downtown Berkeley, which was reported by Hoodline, Annie was already being courted by a new suitor — because apparently that's how it works in falcon world during mating season.

Now that suitor needs a new name. He’s been lovingly called New Guy since he popped up on the live camera provided by Cal. He appears to have moved in and has started helping out with the incubation of Annie’s eggs.

The university is now asking for the public’s help to give New Guy a permanent name that has a connection to UC Berkeley. After asking for suggestions on the Cal Falcons social media pages, more than 1,000 falcon fans weighed in. 


Thanks to the work of biologists and volunteers, those names have now been whittled down to nine choices. “It was really hard to cut down the list. There were a ton of amazing suggestions. I’m really excited to see what the community chooses for the final name,” Cal Falcon ornithologist Sean Peterson told Berkleyside.

The choices are Calvin, Ed, Takaki, Archie, Ned, Morgan, Alden, Lou, and Savio. Each of the names has a strong connection to campus dating back decades. The site that is being used for the public to cast votes on their favorite names gives a brief background on each name. It reads as follows:  

“Calvin, after Melvin Calvin, Berkeley professor and Nobel prize winner who discovered the Calvin cycle. Ed, after Ed Roberts, Berkeley graduate and leader of the disability rights and independent living movements. Takaki, after Ronald Takaki, longtime professor and founder of the Ethnic Studies program at Berkeley. Archie, after Archie Williams, Berkeley graduate who won gold in the 400m run at the 1936 Olympics before becoming an Air Force pilot and educator Ned, after Ned Johnson, renowned ornithologist at Berkeley and longtime curator at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Morgan, after Julia Morgan, pioneering architect and graduate of Berkeley who designed over 700 buildings in California. Alden, after Alden Miller, student of Joseph Grinnell and famed ornithologist, who succeeded Grinnell as director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Lou, after Louise Kellogg, Berkeley graduate and naturalist who was Annie Alexander's partner for 42 years. Savio, after Mario Savio, after the free speech activist famous for his speeches on Sproul Plaza.”

You have until Sunday to cast your vote. As for the eggs, they are supposed to hatch around May 6th and officials are optimistic about seeing some cute falcon chicks. “Although we still don’t want to pretend like nothing was different about this year. All signs are still pointing toward this being a successful hatch,” Peterson told Berkleyside. 

Photo Credit: @cal_falcons/Instagram


According to a Twitter post by @CalFalconCam, New Guy already feels right at home living on top of the tall tower. He’s been seen “Loafing” which the post says “is the scientific term for when a bird is displaying relaxed behaviors not specifically related to feeding, breeding, or predator evasion. As you can see, New Guy really knows how to loaf. We’re hoping for some uneventful weeks full of loafing ahead of us.”


Update: The votes are in, and Alden is the winner — giving Grinnell's successor the name of the successor of the real Grinnell, Alden Miller. The naming contest actually brought in more votes than any other previous naming contests since the Cal Falcons group starting doing them five years ago, with nearly 9,500 votes.