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May 17, 2007

Peregrine Falcons Hatch on Mid-Hudson Bridge

Highland, NY - Three baby peregrine falcons chicks have a new home on the Mid-Hudson Bridge. 

“It’s become somewhat of a spring ritual for our extended family at the Bridge Authority to welcome our new arrivals every spring,” said Authority Chairman James P. Sproat.  “We’re delighted to report that mother and babies are doing well.”

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird on the planet in its hunting dive, soaring to a half mile or more, then diving at speeds in excess of 200mph. The top speed recorded for a Peregrine dive is 242.3mph.

Falcon chicks are called eyas and will grow more of a downy coat as they mature.  It is expected that the chicks will be tagged by wildlife specialists in the near future.

The name Peregrine means “wanderer,” and northern-nesting Peregrines are among North America’s long-distance migratory species, traveling as much as 10,000 miles a year.  Peregrines mate for life and usually return to the same nesting spot each year.

A medium-sized falcon, the Peregrine will grow to about 15 to 21 inches long and have a wingspan of more than 3 feet.

In 1970, the Peregrine was federally protected in the United States. Peregrines have since made a strong recovery, aided by wildlife management such as providing habitats on structures like the bridges over the Hudson River.

In order to protect the birds, the nesting spot in the Mid-Hudson Bridge is in a remote location and not accessible to the public.