Annie and her new man…love at The Campanile?

2 April 2022

So many of us love/d Grinnell. I do not know anyone who is not still shocked by his death.

How do you write about a Peregrine Falcon that brought so many so much love, joy, and laughter? Grinnell was a very sweet lad. I have found it difficult to write about him because for many years it was always ‘Grinnell and Annie’ ‘Annie and Grinnell’. In my mind, I was not able to separate the two. They were a constant which, over the past few years, has been very reassuring. And then they weren’t.

Grinnell was last seen at The Campanile at 10:37 on the 31st of March. He was later found dead in the downtown area of San Francisco. It is believed he was chasing a female intruder and went low and got hit by a car.

Grinnell hatched along with another male in a nest near Martinez, California. He was banded in 2013. This makes him 9 years old this year.

Annie and Grinnell were bonded mates for six years. Indeed, it was probably only Grinnell’s injuries on the 29th of October that caused them to be separated for the longest time in their relationship. They appeared at The Campanile in December 2016 making their first nest on a sandbag!!!!!!! Cal Falcons decided that it was better if they fixed them a proper nest in 2017 which evolved into the scrape box that you see on camera in 2018.

Annie and Grinnell raised two to fledge in 2017- Fiat and Lux. Fiat flew out of Mum and Dad’s territory to set up his own while, sadly, Luxe hit a window and died. In 2018, they fledged 3 – Berkelium, Lawrencium, and Californium. All successfully left. Lawrencium, the female has a nest on Alcatraz and has made Grinnell and Annie grandparents. In 2019, there were two fledges – Carson and Cade. In 2020, there were three – Poppy, Sequoia, and Redwood. Poppy was spotted recently in San Jose, California and Sequoia is known to be in Santa Clara, California. Unless a miracle happens, 2021 will be the couple’s final breeding season. It was hugely successful with three males fledging – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek. In total, they fledged 13 juvenile peregrine falcons in 5 seasons. It is not clear how many grandchildren the couple have.

We ached for Annie and the two eggs in the scrape.

It has been a bit like a roller coaster with the plot thickening every day since Grinnell’s death. A male appeared, began courting Annie, and briefly incubating the eggs almost as soon as Cal Falcons announced the death of Grinnell. The news of this tragic drama has spread. It even made it to the Toronto news.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2022/04/02/berkeley-peregrine-falcon-finds-partner-after-mates-death/

The new male likes to sit on the ledge above the nest box watching over Annie and the eggs. Has she accepted prey from him? I am not certain.

This afternoon, Annie initiated the bonding and the male immediately came to join her at 16:30.

He has a limp. Cal Falcons confirms that this should not impact his hunting. And, in fact, he tried to give Annie some nicely prepared prey last night but she was either full, according to Cal Falcons, or not ready to commit. Has anything changed today?

After the bonding ritual, the young male situates himself on the eggs to incubate them.

He is rather cute and I am quickly warming up to him.

These are gentle gestures of loving kindness — the world could use so much more kindness like this – right now.

There are so many news stories out about Annie and the new male. Here is one with comments by Lynn from Cal Falcons:

I will always treasure the years that I was privileged to watch Annie and Grinnell raise their chicks. No one will replace Grinnell in the hearts of thousands but, for now, I am grateful to this young male who has been hanging around for about a month, that he is stepping up and will help raise the last two chicks ever of Grinnell’s. That makes him a winner in my books.

Thank you for joining me tonight. If you are looking for a blog on Sunday, it will be coming late in the afternoon. I am counting Canada Geese tomorrow at several locations! Continue to send your warm wishes to all of the birds especially those migrating over war zones and those entangled with monofilament line. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to Cal Falcons for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

12 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful, poignant post, Mary Ann. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Grinnell. And crossing fingers that all will be well with Annie and her potential new mate.

    1. Oh, thank you, Betty. It was so very difficult to write. I loved that little falcon so much! Like you and thousands of others. But I am glad that the new fellow has come into Annie’s life and live with the hope that Grinnell’s last two eggs will hatch and fly away.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for this update and tribute to Grinnell. We will miss him. He was a beautiful one indeed. I wish the best for Annie and the new male with her. Hoping the eggs of Annie and Grinnell will hatch and be remembered as Grinnell’s too. I am happy for Annie and it is as if Grinnell sent an angel for his Annie.
    We look forward to hearing from you soon after the geese count. Have a good evening !
    Linda

    1. You are so very, very welcome. His shoes will be hard to fill but I live with the hope that Grinnell’s last eggs will hatch and thrive! Thank you so much for writing in, Linda. It is wonderful to know how many loved this little falcon so much.

  3. Lily says:

    I miss Grinnell and I only just discovered he and Annie though your blog, so thank you Mary Ann, I almost exclusively watch eagle nests, but the little time I knew Grinnell I was so impressed. What a handsome falcon and amazing protector of his Annie.

    And then new guy shows up, almost as a miracle to save Annie and her eggs. He is cute, I wonder how he got his leg injury? Probably in a battle with another Peregrine falcon. Did he also lose a mate? I have no idea how to age P. Falcons, is he young or older?

    Whatever happens it seems that Annie has accepted him because I watched her lay a third egg. I couldn’t believe it. What a day at the Campanile!

    1. He was a fabulous provider and mate. Look through some of the old videos so you can see him with his chicks. Adorable. I feel like good fortune has come upon Annie. It is rare for her to attach herself so maybe this fellow has been known to her. At any rate, I hope that the last two of Grinnell’s eggs hatch and thrive. We live in this wonderful world of hope for this nest now -. Thank you so much for writing in!

  4. Bill says:

    Thanks, Mary Ann, for the tribute to our dear Grinnell. He was such a sweet and handsome guy, a devoted mate to Annie and wonderful father to their chicks. And such a brave and dedicated defender of their territory. The last live view I had of Grinnell on camera Thursday morning was Grinnell buzzing the large juvenile intruder on the ledge. He was greatly overmatched in size, but that didn’t stop Grinnell. His loyal protection of Annie and the territory is probably what sent him to rehab in the Fall and well might be what led to his downfall on Thursday.

    I am so sad for the loss of Grinnell, but I will always have nothing but fond memories of him. I flash on so many great pictures of Grinnell with Annie and with their chicks. Fly high, dear Grinnell!

    Annie is so strong. I’m hoping for the very best for Annie and her new guy. I do hope they can raise one last set of Annie and Grinnell’s offspring to further carry on the legacy of the bond between Annie and Grinnell.

    B

    1. Bill, You are so very welcome. I would like to say it was my pleasure but it seems it is much harder to write about a bird that you have know for a long time. Grinnell was so loved. I am happy that you thought it was alright. I know that he will live long in our memories and I hope, beyond hope, that his 2 last two eggs will hatch and thrive. Another of my favourite little birds, Ezra, died the same way – defending their mate against a much larger bird and being drawn into traffic. The tears still come. Thank you so much.

  5. Akane says:

    Thanks for the update.
    The attack on Little and Middle in Dale Hollow and the death of Grinnell broke my heart.

    It will be hard for a while, but now I can look forward a little with renewed spirit to the good news that Annie is not alone and that Middle is being eaten, although I am worried about the fishing line.
    Thank you very much Mary Ann. I appreciate everything.
    Thank you for using Japanese in your previous blog. I am glad to hear it.

    1. Oh, you are welcome. Like you and so many, I loved Annie with Grinnell. But there is something about this little fellow that has showed up that has endeared me to him. Many would have destroyed those first two eggs so I am hopeful that they will not hatch and fly. It is so difficult to watch some of the nests. I won’t ever recommend Dale Hollow. It looked like great parenting at the start and then all that changed. But we will hang on with Little Middle! It is lovely to hear from you. I hope you are well and that spring has come.

      1. Akane says:

        I too support Little Middle. I am sure that Grinnell’s last chicks will be a success. I am just praying.
        Today at 4:26pm (nest time) in Port Lincoln, Ervie was begging for his mom’s fish. He really is a delightful little guy.
        Thank you so much. In Japan, the cherry blossoms are blooming here and there, and the temperature is unstable, but spring is here.
        Wishing you a wonderful start to the week!

      2. Oh, thank you Akane! I have been so caught up in trying to help Middle Little that I have to go and see if I can still see Ervie. Begging Mum for fish! What a character. Dad would have brought it. Glad to hear there is a bit of a spring for you. I had some sakura mochi the other day and thought of you. All best wishes Akane.

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