Three male falcon chicks who hatched in a nest atop San Jose's City Hall last month will now be known as Comet, Orion and Striker, thanks to the young winners of the city's annual falcon naming contest.
Hayes Elementary School first-grader Dakota, Willow Glen Elementary School third-grader Nathaniel and Holly Oak Elementary School fourth-graders Lauren and Kathleen submitted the winning monikers in this year's competition.
In addition to the honor of naming San Jose's most beloved birds, the lucky winners will each receive two passes to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, special recognition at an upcoming City Council meeting and a school assembly featuring University of California at Santa Cruz bird expert Glenn Stewart.
The public was able to vote on a list of finalists whittled down by a judging panel that included representatives from the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo and the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
The annual contest is sponsored by the city, Mayor Chuck Reed's office and the Predatory Bird Research Group at UC Santa Cruz.
Orion, Comet and Striker are expected to spend the next week fledging, or learning to fly, with trained volunteers on hand to watch their progress.
City officials say Striker has already lived up to his name after being the first of the chicks to strike out on his own.
According to city officials, Striker either attempted his first flight intentionally or was blown off of the wall surrounding the falcons' nest by strong winds on Sunday.
Residents quickly spotted the chick on Fifth Street and contacted animal control officials and the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, which sent personnel to return Striker to safety.
City officials say he is in good health.
Peregrine falcons first began nesting 18 stories above the ground on a ledge at City Hall about seven years ago, and have made their home there ever since, according to the city.
About two-dozen pairs of peregrines are known to live in the Bay Area.
Residents can check in on the San Jose City Hall falcons via the city's "Falcon Cam" web page.
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