The next generation of City Hall’s resident falcons arrived earlier this month, which means the return of Mayor Chuck Reed’s naming contest for the baby falcons perched 18 stories above the streets of downtown San Jose.

Since spring 2006, two peregrine falcons have made City Hall their home. In 2007, the falcons—Clara and Jose Fernando (Clara’s first mate at City Hall)—welcomed their first offspring at City Hall and a naming contest was introduced to get the community involved with the unusual choice of habitat for the flying family.

The naming contest continues this year until April 26 for children ages 5 to 18 years old to submit their names. Children must submit artwork, an essay, video or a song to enter the naming contest.

“We really want to encourage creativity and that intersection of nature and science,” says Michelle McGurk, a spokesperson for Mayor Reed’s office.

In previous years, a wide range of submissions were received at City Hall, from charming kindergartner artwork to sophisticated, beautiful art from high school students, according to McGurk.

Many teachers use the falcon Web cam as a learning experience for their classroom and some teachers choose to make the submission a class project.

“The falcon chicks are hatched right around Earth Day,” McGurk says. “It’s a great opportunity for teachers because it fits in with their timing from a curriculum standpoint.”

Falcon fans tend to vote for names that represent characteristics of the baby falcons.

“Every year there are family dynamics that emerge from the little birds as they are growing and developing,” McGurk says. “It is kind of like a reality TV show.”

Representatives of organizations including the Art Council of Silicon Valley and Children’s Discovery Museum make up the panel of judges.

The judges look at each entry to see if it exemplifies why they chose the name, according to McCurk.

Depending on how many submissions are entered, there will be about eight to 12 finalists that will be judged by a Yahoo group of falcon fans.

The winners will be announced on May 10 and will receive a commendation from Mayor Reed at a future City Council meeting, passes to Happy Hollow Park & Zoo and a school assembly featuring Glenn Stewart of the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, according to McGurk.

More info. What would you name the baby falcons? Leave your suggestion in our comments section.