Bay Area/ Oakland/ Parks & Nature
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Published on February 22, 2024
UC Berkeley's New Falcon Named 'Archie' after Alum and Aviator Archie WilliamsSource: Cal Falcons

There's a new golden boy in town, and his name is Archie, the fleet-winged companion of UC Berkeley's longtime peregrine falcon, Annie. Taking inspiration from Olympic gold medalist and World War II pilot Archie Williams, a Berkeley alum, the new male bird has officially been christened following a public contest that saw its namesake whistle past the competition with nearly 41% of the public vote, ending on Sunday.

With the other proposed names biting the dust, Galen came in second with 27.5% of the vote, followed by Morgan and Mulford, raking in 19.2% and 12.4% respectively – as reported by UC Berkeley News. Sean Peterson, a Cal Falcons ecologist, said in a statement that "Archie really ran away with the competition." Out of the 2,355 votes tallied, Archie seemed to resonate with backers for various reasons, including the alumnus' speed, aviation skills, and the fact that "Annie and Archie just sounds good!"

Archie Williams High School in San Anselmo, also bearing the peregrine falcon as its mascot, has honored its namesake since May 2021, opting for change from its original moniker, Drake High School, to distance itself from Sir Francis Drake's grim legacy tied with slave trading and colonization.

Despite the rainy season possibly playing spoilsport, Annie is expected to lay eggs around mid-March, marking her eighth breeding season atop the Campanile bell tower on campus. "I would not at all be surprised if Annie delays a little bit due to the rainy weather," Peterson told UC Berkeley News, emphasizing the falcon's careful weather watch to ensure the eggs do not suffer from the cold or wet conditions.

Since Annie’s inception on the Berkeley campus in late 2016, all her mates, including the unfortunate Grinnell who died in 2022, were adorned with monikers, marrying their identity to their collegiate haunt. As for their chicks, names like Fiat, Lux, and Grinnell Jr. have taken wing, sometimes connecting with the campus legacy.

Naming these high-flying birds serves more than a symbolic purpose as it pulls the community into a seeming kinship with the avian residents. "It allows people to form relatively strong relationships," said Peterson, stressing the emotional grip a name can hold over a numeric tag. Falcon followers spanning continents continue to engage in social media conversations ranging from Denmark to Brazil, keeping the Berkeley falcons in a global spotlight.