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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Peregrine Falcons on the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I took a break from the woodland songbirds this afternoon and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with my wife. I haven’t read any reports of Peregrine Falcons nesting on the bridge so I thought I’d check it out.

A pair of Peregrine Falcons has been nesting on the building at 55 Water Street in lower Manhattan since 1998. A second pair of falcons, a short distance from the Water Street location, has periodically nested on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Falcon aerie

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Both the north and south towers of the bridge have an opening in one of the arches that was designed for maintenance access. The size and shape is, apparently, perfect for a falcon aerie and has been used on and off for several years. Today we noticed an abundance of “white wash” beneath the opening in the north tower. It appeared that they were using it as a nest site again. A cold rain began coming down so we stood under the protection of the south arch and watched the aerie. At around 2:30pm I noticed a falcon circling over the East River to the south of the bridge. As he approached the bridge he pulled his wings into his body and plummeted towards the bridge. Through my binoculars he seemed to be heading right towards me. He threaded a path through the support cables, pulled up at the last moment and perched at the top of the north main cable. I kept checking the the aerie for signs of hatchlings but all was quiet. At 2:49pm one of the adult falcons suddenly emerged from the aerie. I struggled to pull my camera out but was slow on the draw. She flew south from the opening, looped around the outside of the stone tower and came to rest on the main cable north of the arch. We hung around until about 3:30pm but never observed any young falcons at the edge of the aerie. I’m not certain when the young Peregrine Falcons usually fledge but I’ll keep an eye on this nest and let you know as the time approaches.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) on support cable

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Prospect Park & Brooklyn Bridge, 5/21/2006
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Eastern Towhee
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole

Other common species seen (or heard):
Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

Cucumber Magnolia fruit

(Photo credit - Rob J)


Vics said...

Have you seen the Kodak Birdcam? Mariah, a Peregrine Falcon, has been nesting in Rochester, NY since 1998. We have been watching her raise a family of chicks every spring since 2000.

The site is at:

Our favorite view of the nest is the 4 Camera View.

Walker said...

The Indianapolis falcon chicks are just about to fledge now. See them at

Rob Jett said...

Thanks for the webcam links. It's amazing to see how quickly raptors develop. I've been daydreaming about a wireless webcam for the Red-tailed Hawk nest. Any access point, unfortunately, is too far from the woods.

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