Next time you zoom across one of this city’s big, hulking bridges, don’t forget to look up! Well, as long as you’re in the passenger seat.
This year, 12 peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in nesting boxes atop the Verrazano-Narrows, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial, and Throgs Neck bridges.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been placing nesting boxes on bridges since 1983 as part of a state program.
Not Afraid of Heights
NYU Department of Environmental Protection research scientist Chris Nadareski recently made his way to the top of these bridges to band the 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.
The 2015 newcomers include: two boys and two girls 693-feet atop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s Brooklyn tower; one boy and three girls 215-feet atop the Rockaway tower at Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge; and two boys and two girls 360-feet atop the Bronx tower at the Throgs Neck Bridge.
Peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out in the 1960s as a result of pesticides in their food supply, and remain on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation endangered birds list.