What’s in a Name? Here Are Our Top Picks for John Jay’s Pair of Hawks

And an update from the nest: two eyasses hatched, one more to go!

Editor's note:
UPDATE, 5/17/22! We tallied the votes, and the Ginsbirds have it! (At 40 percent, with second and third place going to Odysseus and Penelope (31 percent) and Romeo and Juliet (29 percent). The third egg never hatched but the other two eyasses are growing up fast.
Kim Martineau
April 22, 2022

We asked, dear reader, and you responded. From dozens of suggested names, we picked our favorite three. We list them below. In the meantime, for those who may have stepped away from the Columbia College Hawk Cam, we share this important update: two downy hatchlings (known as eyasses) have arrived. As we await the third, tell us how, exactly, we should address the parents in our note of congratulations. Tweet us @Columbia!

Romeo and Juliet envisioned as hawks

Romeo and Juliet

A balcony figures as prominently in Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers as it does in the lives of our Columbia College raptors. So far, at least, our lovebirds have evaded tragedy, and thanks to the live Hawk Cam, we've been given a rare window into their quotidian routine: Juliet pulling long day shifts on the eggs while Romeo hunts and brings home the dead pigeon. Romeo flies in with sticks while Juliet weaves them into the nest. In a tight real estate market like Manhattan, this couple clearly knew a prime nesting spot when they saw it. As one reader posted on Instagram: “So this is what the tiny inaccessible balconies are for!” 

Odysseus and Penelope envisioned as hawks

Odysseus and Penelope

Columbia’s Core curriculum has evolved over the years, but Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, has stuck. Since John Jay is an undergrad dorm, this nod to an ancient Greek love story that remains required reading for all undergraduates seemed fitting. Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, spent a decade after the Trojan War trying to return home to his beloved Penelope. The Columbia College hawks have faced no similar test of their love (yet, that we know of) but the power of literature lies in its ability to speak to us at random moments throughout our lives. 

Ruth and Marty Ginsburg envisioned as hawks

Ruth and Martin Ginsbirds

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazing Columbia Law School graduate who fought tirelessly for women’s rights, first as a litigator, later as the second woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Soft spoken but relentless, she became known as the Notorious RBG in her later years. She met her husband Marty, at Cornell, as an undergraduate. “The only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain,” as she later described him. Their 56-year marriage showed the world what gender equality could look like in the home, with each pursuing a career and sharing housework and child care duties. Could a young pair of hawks have better role models?

We received several names riffing on Columbia landmarks that are worth sharing: the Learners, for Lerner Hall on the other side of the quad; Soar-ee, for Columbia’s mascot and fellow apex predator, Roar-ee; and College Hawk, for the tree-lined promenade that divides north and south campus. 

Other notable mentions: Harry and Sally Hawk, Pierre and Marie Clawy, and Alexander and Eliza Hawkilton.