May 29, 2014
Eleven Peregrine Falcon Chicks Banded At 3 MTA Bridges
Eleven peregrine falcon chicks, with cityscape views to die for, were recently banded at three MTA bridges as part of the state nesting program that MTA Bridges and Tunnels has been part of since 1983.
Each year around the end of May wildlife expert Chris Nadareski, of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, climbs to the top of the Verrazano-Narrows, ThrogsNeck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial bridges to put 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.
Peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out in the 1960s because of pesticides in their food supply, and remain on the State DEC 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.
This year’s MTA chicks includes four at the Verrazano (3 girls and one boy); four at the ThrogsNeck ( 2 girls and 2 boys) and three at Marine Parkway (two girls, and a boy). For photos: click here.
“We frequently have to go to the top of the towers for maintenance work but we are very respectful of the falcons during nesting season and while the chicks are learning to fly,” said Verrazano-NarrowsMaintenance Superintendent Daniel Fortunato. “The mama bird in particular is very protective so for the safety of our employees and the birds, we do our best to keep out of their way.”
MTA Bridges and Tunnels provides a nesting box at each of the bridges. Other than that, there is no cost associated with participating in the program. The Marine Parkway nesting box is located 215-feet atop the Rockawaytower, the ThrogsNeck nest is 360-feet on the Bronx tower and the Verrazano-Narrowsoffers the most supreme view with a nest 693-feet atop the bridge’s Brooklyn tower.