More than 2,700 people voted. Other name suggestions included Deacon (240 votes), Bishop (195 votes) and Canon (60 votes).
The Millennium Falcon name stuck because Star Wars “afficionados came out and voted for it,” said Kevin Eckstrom, a spokesman at the cathedral.
The Gothic-style building is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world and has more than 400,000 visitors a year. It has a history with Star Wars: Darth Vader, a series villain, is carved into the cathedral’s northwest tower. Vader is one of several designs that were part of a carving competition in the 1980s.
Eckstrom said officials recognize that the bird is a hawk and not a falcon, as its new name states. But they still want the name.
The red-tailed hawk made itself at home atop the central tower at the cathedral and seems to enjoy the view and the food — pigeon carcasses are often found along the roof line.
The hawk comes and goes and has not set up a nest, cathedral officials said. They believe the rebuilding at the cathedral that has been going on since the 2011 earthquake disturbs the hawk, so it probably takes off when it is noisy.
The hawk likes to hang on the scaffolding that is being used in the repairs, according to Eckstrom. When workers have spotted it, the hawk will sometimes screech if they get too close.
The bird of prey at the cathedral isn’t the only unique one around Washington these days.
Two snowy owls recently moved into the courtyards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture building near the Mall. And, of course, the birds have interacted on Twitter.
Officials at the cathedral said they are not sure of the hawk’s gender but suspect it is a female because they are typically larger.
Eckstrom said they don’t have plans to do anything to the hawk other than enjoy viewing it and leaving it alone.
“It is one of God’s creatures,” Eckstrom said.