PHOTOS: Seven new falcon chicks nest on top of New York City bridges

Chris Nadareski of the DEP is seen banding chicks on top of the Throgs Neck Bridge.

We’re pretty sure they don’t have to pay a toll!

Seven new peregrine falcon chicks are are now living in nesting boxes
high atop three MTA bridges, the MTA announced today, and released
photos of the baby birds.

There are four newly hatched peregrines living at the 215-foot top of
the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, which connects the
Rockaways to Brooklyn.

Two female birds, nicknamed Skye and Baysie, are at the Throgs Neck
Bridge at a height of 360 feet up. The Throgs Neck connects the Bronx to
Queens.

And one lone chick, Leif, that calls the 693-foot top of the
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge home. Not all of the falcon eggs always hatch,
said MTA spokeswoman Judie Glave.

All the chicks were hatched in early May. They were banded by wildlife specialist Chris Nadareski, of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Studies division. Nadareski is seen in these images banding chicks on top of the Throgs Neck Bridge.

The MTA and the DEP Wildlife division started the falcon nesting program in 1983, after peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out in the 1960s. Their numbers diminished due to pesticides in their food supply, and the birds remain on the state’s endangered birds list.

The MTA installs the nesting boxes, and allows DEP agents to check the eggs and band the birds, so they can be tracked.

“But our primary goal is to just let them be,” said Verrazano-Narrows Maintenance Superintendent Daniel Fortunato.


 

Maintenance workers try to especially leave the birds alone when the chicks are learning to fly, since the parents, particularly the mother, can be very aggressive.

Peregrine falcons mate for life and nest in the same spot each
year. 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.

Photo credit: MTA/Patrick Cashin and Carlton Cyrus


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