One of the red tailed hawks that calls Highland Hospital home soars above the healthcare campus on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Credit: Amir Aziz

For the last few months, hospital staff and patients at the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus on 14th Avenue in East Oakland have been delighted by the sight of two red-tailed hawks who frequently fly over the hospital. The Oaklandside wrote late last month about how the hawks settled down in an old cedar tree on campus and raised a couple of red-tailed fledglings until the birds felt confident enough to leave their nest—and Oakland—behind. 

The parent hawks are still around though, and can frequently be spotted circling the campus or perched atop the eight-story acute-care tower, usually looking for squirrels or other rodents scurrying around the garden in Highland’s central courtyard. 

Now, Alameda Health System, the public agency that operates Highland, is looking to name the hospital’s feathery friends, and issued a press release on Monday asking the public to weigh in.

Anyone is welcome to submit name suggestions for both the female and male hawk using this online form. The top three names for each hawk will be collected on Aug 1 and presented back to the public, hospital stafff, and patients for a final vote on Aug 3. 

Eleanor Ajala, the media and communications manager for Alameda Health System, told The Oaklandside that hospital staff are thrilled more people will have the opportunity to fall in love with the hawks. She also noted that a certain group of falcons that live at UC Berkeley’s Campanile now have some competition. 

“Move over Berkeley falcons,” said Ajala. “Oakland has its own celebrity hawks.”

Ricky Rodas is a member of the 2020 graduating class of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining The Oaklandside, he spent two years reporting on immigrant communities in the Bay Area as a reporter for the local news sites Oakland North, Mission Local, and Richmond Confidential. Rodas, who is Salvadoran American and bilingual, is on The Oaklandside team through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.