Eleven peregrine falcon chicks found on MTA bridges were inducted into the state’s nesting program.
Near the end of May each year, wildlife expert Chris Nadareski climbs to the top of three major bridges to place identifying bands on falcon chicks as part of the nesting program that the MTA Bridges and Tunnels has been a part of since 1983.
The bands help experts track the number of the city’s peregrines, a species nearly wiped out by pesticides in their food supply. They are still on the state’s endangered birds list.
Urban peregrine falcons will nest on high-rise buildings, church steeples and bridges to better hunt prey, including pigeons and other small birds.
Chicks found on MTA bridges this year include three girls and one boy on the Verrazano-Narrows, two girls and two boys were on the Throgs Neck and two girls and a boy on the Marine Parkway.
The MTA provides a nesting box at each of the bridges for the falcons. The nesting box at the Verrazano-Narrows is located 693-feet atop the bridge’s Brooklyn tower.
“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,” Verrazano-Narrows Maintenance Superintendent Daniel Fortunato said in a statement. “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.”
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