Will new falcon be named Savio, Takaki or Ned? You decide

Vote by Sunday to give UC Berkeley’s New Guy a new name. The falcon has been courting Annie since Grinnell was found dead last month.

New Guy, who will get his official name on Monday, April 18, sits on a ledge of the Campanile in the loaf position. Loafing is a relatively common activity for birds, according to Cal Falcons, but varies by species and individual. New Guy loafs frequently, and speculation is that perhaps he loafs to takes weight off his injured leg. Credit: Cal Falcons

Will it be Ned, Morgan, Lou, Ed, Savio, Calvin, Archie, Takaki or Alden?

Those names are the nine finalists in a Cal Falcons contest to officially name the new mate of Annie, UC Berkeley’s female peregrine falcon, whose longtime partner, Grinnell, was found dead on March 31. He’s been temporarily called New Guy.

This article was produced by UC Berkeley and first published by Berkeley News

The public can vote starting today, using this link; the contest ends at noon this Sunday, April 17. The winning name will be announced the following day.

New Guy swooped into Annie’s life just seven hours after Grinnell died and began helping her incubate the eggs in the nest on Berkeley’s Campanile and hunting for her meals. He has an injured left foot that hangs down when he flies, is slightly larger than Grinnell was, and has a cap of very dark feathers on his head that match those on his tail.

More than 1,000 people suggested names for this new addition to the campus community via Cal Falcons’ social media channels. Twelve biologists and volunteers from Cal Falcons reduced the number of proposed names to nine, “but it was really hard to cut down the list — there were a ton of amazing suggestions,” said Sean Peterson, an ornithologist with Cal Falcons. “I’m really excited to see what the community chooses for the final name.”

As required, each of the finalists are names with a connection to the campus. Peterson said Cal Falcons, in selecting these nine, “aimed for a broad spectrum of Cal-related honorees, including people involved in athletics, science, humanities and activism.”

  • Ned, for Ned Johnson (1932-2003), a world-renowned Berkeley ornithologist who was staff ornithologist at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and a professor of integrative biology. He received his Ph.D. in zoology from Berkeley in 1961.
  • Morgan, for UC alumna Julia Morgan (1872-1957), a pathbreaking female American architect who designed more than 700 buildings; at Berkeley, her work included the Hearst Memorial Mining Building and the Greek Theatre.
  • Lou, for Louise Kellogg (1879-1967), a Berkeley alumna and longtime partner of Annie Alexander, the explorer and naturalist who founded the UC Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Annie the falcon was named after Alexander. The campus’s scientific collections contain more than 22,00 plant, animal and paleontological specimens collected, documented and donated by Alexander and Kellogg.
  • Ed, for Ed Roberts (1939-1995), the Berkeley alumnus who pioneered the disability rights movement on campus and nationwide. He is considered the father of the independent living movement for people with disabilities and special needs.
  • Savio, for Mario Savio (1942-1996). Savio, who briefly attended Berkeley, led free speech demonstrations on campus in 1964 in reaction to the university curbing the activities of civil rights and political groups there. He helped lead the Free Speech Movement, a model for the Vietnam War protest movement.
  • Calvin, for Melvin Calvin (1911-1997), a Berkeley professor of chemistry and a leading scientist at Berkeley Lab. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961 for using radioactive carbon-14 to show steps by which plants turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar during photosynthesis.
  • Archie, for Archie Williams (1915-1993), a Berkeley alumnus who won a gold medal at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin in the 400-meter run. He was a civilian flying instructor at the famed Tuskegee Army Flying School and a U.S. Air Force pilot who flew missions during World War II and the Korean War.
  • Takaki, for Ronald Takaki (1939-2009). Takaki, a Berkeley alumnus, became a Berkeley ethnic studies professor who established the nation’s first Ph.D. program in ethnic studies, as well as Berkeley’s American Cultures requirement for graduation. He was a preeminent scholar of U.S. race relations.
  • Alden, for Alden Miller (1906-1965), an American ornithologist and Berkeley alumnus who succeeded Joseph Grinnell as director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and was in the post for 25 years. Grinnell was the museum’s first director; Grinnell the falcon was named after him.

“I think what struck me about this process is how many truly exceptional individuals have called Berkeley home,” said Peterson of the naming suggestions that poured in.

Now that New Guy also is making the campus his home, fans of Berkeley’s falcons appear very receptive to him, despite their deep attachment to Grinnell. “It seems like people really love New Guy,” said Peterson, adding that a photo of New Guy sitting on a balcony of the Campanile like a loaf of bread has been one of Cal Falcons’ most popular social media posts, ever.

New Guy and Annie are “doing an incredible job incubating the three eggs,” which are expected to hatch on or around May 6, said Peterson. “Although we still don’t want to pretend like nothing was different about this year,” he added, “all signs are still pointing toward this being a successful hatch.”