Eleven peregrine falcon chicks are now fledging in nests high atop three city bridges.
Officials from the city Department of Environmental Protection recently banded the birds as part of a state nesting program that gives the falcons, nearly wiped out in New York during the 60s, homes atop the Verrazano-Narrows, Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial bridges. They also photographed the newest falcons.
On the Marine Parkway bridge the nest box is poised 215 feet in the air. The Throgs Neck box is 360 feet above ground and the Verrazano-Narrows box offers a view from 693 feet. The urban falcons like to nest in bridges because their height offers a good vantage for hunting prey.
“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-Narrows Maintenance 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.”