Dreamstime/Martin McMillan

Peregrine Falcons Thrive At UC-Berkeley

Cal's Falcon Family Delights Bird Watchers, Puts Paid To Pesky Pigeons

Bob Butler
July 13, 2018 - 7:34 am

BERKELEY (KCBS Radio) - The sounds of pigeons cooing around UC-Berkeley's campus have become less common recently thanks to a hungry family of peregrine falcons that has made its home on one of the university's landmark buildings. 

The world's fastest creatures can fly up to 200 miles per hour. With the speedy falcons nesting in the Campanile, other birds and small creatures are staying away from their hunting grounds. 

"I've been out looking at the peregrines the last few months and it is hard to find a pigeon right now anywhere near Sproul Plaza," said Golden Gate Raport Observatory Director Allen Fish. "The squirrels are probably being a little more careful," he said. The falcons are such skilled hunters that they capture pigeons "in midair," he said. 

Though it's unusual for the falcons to roost on the campus, there is a similarity between the Campanile bell tower and the soaring cliffs in Yosemite, like El Capitan, where the species also reside, according to Fish. 

The soaring birds could become a fixture around Cal with another generation of hatchlings next year, especially if the pigeon numbers rebound as Fish expects. The pigeons could become a source of what he calls "fast food" for the peregrines.