Stormy (or is it Sunny?) perched on a building at Highland Hospital in June. Credit: Amir Aziz

Earlier this year we were tipped off by staff at the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus that a pair of red tail hawks, which had been living there for a few years, was thriving and had given birth to several chicks, raising them in a nest high atop a big cedar tree.

We had to check it out. In reporting the story we learned how the hospital’s landscaping makeover several years ago created a habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife. By turning a parking lot into a lush garden, the hospital invited the hawks into its central courtyard. And patients, staff, and visitors benefited by being able to gaze out windows and watch the majestic birds soar between buildings.

After our story ran, the Alameda Health System decided to name the birds. AHS invited the public to submit ideas and then picked three suggestions for hospital staff to vote on. We gladly helped spread the word. It came down to Hawkeye and Houlihan (a reference to the TV show M*A*S*H), Antonio and Bella (a nod to San Antonio and Bella Vista, the two neighborhoods surrounding the hawks’ habitat), and Stormy and Sunny.

According to AHS, 290 staffers voted, naming the male Stormy and the female Sunny.

“We are delighted that hundreds of Alameda Health System staff members, patients, and neighbors from the broader community all pitched in to help us name the pair of hawks who live on the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus,” said AHS Media and Communications Manager Eleanor Ajala in a statement today announcing the names. “Stormy and Sunny are beloved fixtures of the neighborhood, and we hope they stick around for many years to come.”

Stormy and Sunny join other Bay Area celebrity birds, including UC Berkeley’s peregrine falcons, and Richmond’s ospreys. AHS told us previously they’re considering whether to install a nest cam, similar to Berkeley’s falcon cam, so fans of Stormy and Sunny can check in on them via the web. We’ll let you know if this happens.

Stormy and Sunny resting in a tree on the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus. Image courtesy of Alameda Health System

Before joining The Oaklandside as News Editor, Darwin BondGraham was a freelance investigative reporter covering police and prosecutorial misconduct. He has reported on gun violence for The Guardian and was a staff writer for the East Bay Express. He holds a doctorate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and was the co-recipient of the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2017. He is also the co-author of The Riders Come Out at Night, a book examining the Oakland Police Department's history of corruption and reform.