The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Peregrines Are Nesting in Cities from Coast to Coast in the United States

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Peregrines Are Nesting in Cities from Coast to Coast in the United States

Peregrines nest in towns and cities from coast to coast in the United States. The urban locations make the birds easier to watch, which leads to an abundant supply of photos and videos as the puffy progeny come out of their shells each spring.

Peregrines, like bald eagles, nearly went extinct during the mid-20th century because of exposure to the pesticide DDT. By the time the species was given federal endangered species protection in the 1970s, there were just 324 known nesting pairs, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Today there are 2,000 to 3,000 pairs, according to the agency, which took the species off the federal endangered species list in 1999.

Wildlife officials around the country continue to monitor the birds, however. Many cities make special efforts to manage local peregrine nesting sites, providing special structures and banding baby birds for future tracking. Partly this is good public relations, but with peregrine numbers still relatively low, the extra attention also helps biologists keep tabs on the health of individual birds as they grow up and find mates of their own.

This new peregrine family includes one baby male and three baby females. They live in a special nesting box set 215 feet up a tower of the Marine Parkway Bridge in New York City. City and state wildlife officials recently banded the chicks so they can be tracked as they mate and raise their own families.

Peregrine falcons have endangered species status in New York state.

In Lowell, Massachusetts, last week, a peregrine named Merri flew over the head of a staffer from the Massachusetts fish and wildlife agency, who had just returned her newly banded chicks to their nest.

This falcon family’s home is a rooftop nesting box atop the 18 story tall Fox Hall, a dormitory on the University of Massachusetts–Lowell campus.

One of Merri’s chicks, newly banded and ready for its close-up. UMass regularly posts video streams and status updates on this falcon family.

Merri has been raising chicks at Fox Hall for 10 years, according to the university.

These downy peregrine babies—two males and two females—are nesting 693 feet above sea level atop New York City’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island.

According to a statement from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which manages the city’s river crossings, 12 peregrine babies are in residence this season on three of the city’s bridges.

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