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10 Peregrine Falcons Are Banded and Doing Well in Their Nesting Boxes

Peregrine falcon chick atop Marine Parkway Bridge

Ten new peregrine falcon chicks with a unique nursery that includes an awesome 360-degree view of the city skyline were recently banded at the Verrazano-Narrows, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Throgs Neck Bridges.

The 2016 newcomers include two boys and one girl 693-feet atop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s Brooklyn tower; one boy and three girls 215-feet atop the Rockaway tower at Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge; and two boys and one girl 360-feet atop the Bronx tower at the Throgs Neck Bridge. To see photos from this year click here.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels has been part of the state nesting program since 1983.

Each year around the end of May research scientist Chris Nadareski, of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, climbs to the top of the three bridges and puts identifying bands on the falcon chicks. This helps wildlife experts keep track of the number of peregrines in the city, and identify them in case they become sick or injured. This year he was assisted by Barbara Saunders of the state DEC. The bandings took place on May 18 and May 25 when the falcon chicks were about three weeks old. To see video of the bandings click here. Raw footage can also be viewed and utilized for media purposes here.

Peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out in the 1960s as a result of pesticides in their food supply, and remain on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation endangered birds list. Urban falcons like to nest atop bridges, church steeples and high-rise buildings because they provide an excellent vantage point for hunting prey, including pigeons and small birds.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels provides a nesting box for the falcons at each of the bridges but otherwise leaves the birds alone, particularly during nesting season. Falcons mate for life and generally return to the same nest to hatch their young.