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BERKELEY, Calif. – One of two baby peregrine falcons born on the University of California, Berkeley campus died after flying into a window, university officials said Wednesday.
The chick, named Lux by the campus community, flew Tuesday onto a 10th-floor balcony and got trapped. The bird hit a window as it tried to escape the balcony and died from the impact, the university said in a statement.
The baby falcons, called eyasses, hatched in May at the university's freestanding bell tower and were the first to be born on campus in recent memory. Lux and the other eyasse, named Fiat, successfully flew for the first time last week, marking another milestone in the recovery of the once-endangered species.
Volunteer nest monitor Mary Malec said window strikes are a common cause of death of raptors.
"Windows reflect the sky and clouds. It looks like they are flying into the open sky," she said.
Malec said the university plans to install more bird-safe windows on campus. LeConte Hall, for example, already has decals on the breezeway between buildings, which help birds avoid an accidental collision.
Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of more than 200 mph (322 kph), killing their prey — other birds — in mid-air.
Once on the brink of extinction, peregrine falcons have soared back and moved from their natural cliff faces into urban areas, laying their eggs on skyscrapers and other tall buildings, such as UC Berkeley's Campanile.