Naming contest for UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcon chicks starts tomorrow

Names of campus libraries, state plants, Harry Potter characters, Bay Area mountain peaks, famous UC Berkeley women and medical pioneers were the most popular names suggested by the public this spring for UC Berkeley’s latest peregrine falcon chicks — two males and one female — that were born in April. The triplets’ parents, Annie and Grinnell, set up territory on the Campanile in late 2016 and, since 2017, have raised chicks there.

“We had over 400 suggestions this year — at least twice as many as last year — and over 5,000 likes/hearts/votes to tally up,” said Sean Peterson, a Berkeley Ph.D. student in Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management who run the Cal Falcons social media project with biologist Lynn Schofield. “It was really fun to see what people came up with.”

In celebration of commencement, he said, the final vote will take place starting tomorrow (Saturday, May 16) and run through Tuesday (May 19), at noon. The winning set of three names will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Instructions on how to vote can be found on the Cal Falcons website.

The falcon chicks on the Campanile will fledge in a few weeks.

What’s just around the corner? The annual Cal Falcons contest to name the campus’s peregrine falcon chicks, of course. (Cal Falcons photo)

Choose one of these sets of three names, and get out the vote!

  • Doe, Moffitt and Koshland, after the campus libraries named for San Francisco financier and philanthropist Charles F. Doe, UC alumnus and Regent James K. Moffitt and immunologist and educator Marian Koshland.
  • Poppy, Sequoia and Redwood, for the state flower, the perennial California poppy, and the two official state trees. In 1951, to settle confusion over the California Legislature decision in 1937 to name the native redwood as California’s official state tree, California’s attorney general ruled that Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) and Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant Sequoia) both qualified for the title.
  • Ron, Harry and Hermione, good friends in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. These names received the top vote among suggestions from children.
  • Hamilton, Tamalpais and Diablo, after the three main peaks that surround the Bay Area — Mount Tamalpais to the north, in Marin County; Mount Diablo to the east, in the Diablo Range in Contra Costa County; and Mount Hamilton, to the south, in the Diablo Range in Santa Clara County.
  • Morgan, Scrivner and Diamond. Several of these names were suggested by multiple people, as Berkeley is celebrating the 150th anniversary of women being admitted the university. In 1904, alumna and architect Julia Morgan became the first female licensed architect in California; Rosa Scrivner, the first female UC graduate, received her Ph.B. in agriculture in 1874; and Marian Diamond, a Berkeley professor emerita when she died in 2017, was a founder of modern neuroscience and the first to show that the brain can change with experience and improve with enrichment.
  • Hippocrates, Edward and Florence, for the Greek physician known as the founder of medicine; Dr. Edward Jenner, founder of the field of virology and a pioneer of the smallpox vaccine; and Florence Nightingale, a nurse and social reformer who raised standards for nursing and educating nurses.