Two falcon chicks from Queens are now sharing a nest with three chicks and their mom atop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s Brooklyn tower.
Verrazano-Narrows General Manager Daniel DeCrescenzo said, “The mother took in the adopted chicks on Friday, May 28 without question and has been feeding them and watching over them as if they were always part of her brood. It’s truly nature at its best.”
Chris Nadareski, a wildlife biologist with the city Department of Environmental Protection said the hatchling’s original nesting place in Queens was unsuitable because the chicks would have trouble leaving the nest safely as they learn how to fly. He has coordinated the city peregrine falcon program for over 16 years.
The successful integration of the two chicks is a promising sign of the peregrine falcon’s recovery as an endangered species. The use of DDT pesticides, which causes the falcons to lay eggs with thin shells, decimated their population in the 1960s. In 1972, the federal government banned the use of DDT, and the city began a nesting program in 1983 to repopulate their numbers.
By 1999, the species had recovered enough to be removed from the federal endangered species list, but it remains on the state list. According to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, there are 73 pairs of peregrine falcons state-wide, including 15 pairs in the city.
Last year, five new peregrine falcon chicks were hatched in the area. This year, four females hatched on Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, and two hatched on the Bronx tower at Throgs Neck Bridge, making our local bridges home to a total of 11 new peregrine falcons.
In their new home 693-feet above the water, the chicks have a panoramic view of New York Bay. Their perch provides them with a perfect vantage point for hunting pigeons and other small birds in mid-air.