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Here comes Hatch Day 2024, an event to welcome Berkeley's newest falcons

Stop by BAMPFA's outdoor screen on Wednesday, April 24, to watch the egg-hatching live, meet raptor experts.

By AJ Fox

The giant outdoor screen on the BAMPFA building shows Annie with her four eggs. This is a 2023 photo from Hatch Day, an annual event when the public can come to watch the livestreamed hatching on the Campanile and ask experts questions.

Peregrine falcons Annie and Archie and the hatching of this year's eggs will be on BAMPFA's giant outdoor screen on Wednesday, April 24, during Hatch Day, an annual event for the public.

Dave Taylor for BAMPFA

Since 2016, bird lovers locally and beyond have been captivated by the peregrine falcons living on UC Berkeley’s Campanile. Annie, the matriarch, and Archie, her current partner, are expecting some new arrivals in their nest: Up to four chicks are due to hatch on or before Wednesday, April 24.  

Falcon fans once again will flock to watch the hatching in real time on the massive outdoor screen of the campus’s Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). On April 24, BAMPFA is hosting its third annual Hatch Day celebration on the corner of Addison and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley, where the screen will display a livestream from a webcam — “the Nest Cam'' — installed in the bell tower in 2019.  

This is Annie's eighth breeding season. So far, she’s produced 18 chicks — with the help of a sequence of mates. Two of her young died as fledglings, and one is believed to have perished from avian flu after establishing his own territory.

People visiting Hatch Day 2023 next to the giant outdoor screen at BAMPFA ask raptor experts questions and watch the screen for the hatching of peregrine falcon eggs in the nest on the Campanile.
This year, for the first time ever, guests at Hatch Day may get a visit from a live raptor. As usual, falcon experts will answer questions, ASL interpreters will assist, and city librarians will offer projects for youngsters.  

Dave Taylor for BAMPFA

The evolving falcon family’s well-being is overseen by Cal Falcons, a coalition of scientists, educators and other volunteers. Throughout Hatch Day, Cal Falcons will staff an information booth adjacent to the BAMPFA screen from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., sharing insights with visitors as the chicks begin to appear. American Sign Language interpreters will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and representatives from the Berkeley Public Library will drop by from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with family-friendly projects for younger birdwatchers.

For the first time, Hatch Day also will feature a live raptor, which will make a guest appearance at the information booth from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Once the chicks hatch — experts caution that not all the eggs may open — and later are banded, Cal Falcons will hold a contest to name them.

As in past years, Annie and her mate will prepare the chicks for independence, for flying off to find mates and set up their own territories. Happily, the young falcons will find plenty of company; after federal environmental protections were imposed on the peregrine falcons’ fragile species in the late 1970s, the population has flourished across the western U.S., with many of the birds choosing to nest in urban coastal settings, like Berkeley.

In chairs and on their feet, visitors to Hatch Day 2023 outside the BAMPFA watch the giant outdoor screen as the peregrine falcons eggs in the nest on the Campanile begin to open.
A livestream from a webcam on the Campanile of the eggs hatching in the falcons' nest mesmerizes guests at Hatch Day every year. 

Dave Taylor for BAMPFA

BAMPFA Executive Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm said Hatch Day "has become a beloved tradition at BAMPFA that marks the beginning of spring each year. We are thrilled to use the large public outdoor screen to share this natural marvel and celebration of new life.

“We are grateful to our educational partners at Cal Falcons, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley Public Library, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, East Bay Regional Park District, Native Bird Connections and Institute for Bird Populations for this unique learning opportunity that is quintessentially UC Berkeley.”

Cal Falcons has been posting periodic updates about Annie and Archie’s impending brood that can be found on Facebook, Twitter/X and Instagram. For those unable to attend the BAMPFA screening in person, a livestreamed view of Annie and Archie’s nest is always available 24/7 via the Cal Falcons website.