Romance on The Campanile

05 April 2022

Someone once told me that if you can get people involved in the lives of the birds, get them to see them as the individuals that they are, get them to understand the hardships that they face because of ‘us humans’, then there is hope that the world will be a better place for our feathered friends.

One of my readers, ‘B’ mentioned to me that California loves its birds. He sends me wonderful links to the news stories of Grinnell and Annie or Jackie and Shadow. It was mind blowing to see the sheer mass of press coverage – everything from breakfast news, to the headline news at 6pm, to the printed pages – stories of the lives of the birds from eagles to falcons. What a fantastic way to get the public involved. No wonder the streaming bird cams in California have over 5000 viewers at times.

Today there is another wonderful article surveying the life of Annie and Grinnell, the death of Grinnell, and the rise of the ‘new guy’. Have a read, it is a good one:–vk

I miss Grinnell. There was something about that little falcon that tugged at my heart every time I saw him. For transparency sake, I should say that I feel thee same heart tugs when I see Xavier bringing prey to Diamond or the male at the CBD 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne plucking a pigeon for his female triplets. They are tiny up beside the females. If someone could design a pajama onsie like the plumage of an adult male falcon, they would surely make a lot of money. Seriously, these little males are cute. We cannot forget – at the same time – that they are the best aerial predators in the world flying at speeds up to 350 kph, breaking the necks of their prey in the sky. Still…put that altogether with the ritual bonding of the couples and you have a most interesting raptor. I disagree with some who say watching falcons is the ‘gateway’ into watching larger raptors. For me, the falcons and the hawks are just as interesting, if not more, than the eagles. Eagles frustrate me. Falcons can feed three eyases without a problem and have them all fledge. Enough said.

For Annie’s sake and for the two eggs of Grinnell’s in the scrape along with the one of the ‘new guy’, I am glad the NG came along. I like the fact that he brings prey to Annie late at night. If she isn’t hungry she can stash it away and have it in the middle of the night or eat it for breakfast. There is no waiting for food. I like the tenderness that he uses in trying to roll the eggs and get them under his tiny body along with the fact that if Annie calls him – he comes. New Guy isn’t going to win a lot of awards for his jammies – they are a little rough at the edges, something that goes along with his lameness – but he will most certainly win hearts and minds, just like Xavier did at Orange, for rescuing this 2022 breeding season for Annie — and for our dear Grinnell. We must not forget that. He isn’t the male that comes storming in and shattering the eggs of his predecessor. Nope. He is tender and caring. It is a miracle of sorts that he came along, just at the right time, slipped into place. In a month, we will play guess whose nestling belongs to whom – and we won’t know and the new guy and Annie won’t know. They will just take care of all three of them.

I do wish that the falcons wore identity tags. It appears that the ‘new guy’ flew up to the ledge. No prey in talons but obviously working on something. Is it stashed somewhere? The ledge clock says it is 17:16 when he arrives.

Simultaneous with the new guy’s arrival, Annie gets up and leaves the eggs to take a break.

It was only the limp that gave away it was the ‘new guy’ trying to fit the eggs and roll them under him without causing any damage.

Annie returns with some nice YSL red lipstick at 18:08. She obviously had a nice supper. Did I say I was getting to like the new guy? How many times?

Cal Falcons put together this video of the exchange of incubation duties. Enjoy!

Good night Annie and ‘the new guy’. Good night to all of you. Take care. See you soon!

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

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