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NEWS

NEW YORK STATE BRIDGE AUTHORITY

May 18, 2010

Two Peregrine Falcons Hatch on Mid-Hudson Bridge

Highland, NY - “We are pleased to announce that our Bridge Authority family has grown by two”, Authority Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said today, “and the mother and babies are doing well.”

“It’s become somewhat of a spring ritual to welcome our new arrivals,” said Authority Chairman James P. Sproat.  “We’re delighted to be able to support the Peregrine repopulation effort and that our bridges can serve as ideal homes for these majestic birds.”

The NYS Bridge Authority maintains Peregrine nesting sites on each of its five mid-Hudson region bridges. 

There are two ways to view the falcons and their hatchlings.  NYSBA has posted a YouTube video of the mother falcon feeding her young at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vyl5nQxYio

The Bridge Authority plans to provide periodic video updates as the young falcons grow.

Also, the Bridge Authority partners with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to provide the public with live snapshots of Peregrine nest.  The webcam can be viewed at  http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/53052.html.  The DEC web site also includes additional information about Peregrines as well as other webcams around the state.

Falcon Babies

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 eyas 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.

Quick Facts about the New York State Bridge Authority

  • The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges. 
  • The Authority is funded from bridge tolls and receives no state or federal tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.
  • The Authority holds the highest bond rating given to any public toll-transportation entity in the United States, reducing annual costs.
  • The $1.00 passenger vehicle toll for east-bound passage on all Authority bridges is among the lowest nationwide for self-supporting transportation agencies (there is no toll for west-bound passage).
  • Tolls today are actually lower, in real dollars, than they were in 1933 when the Authority began operations.
  • The Authority’s employee safety record has resulted in an “unusually high discount” from the state insurance fund, protecting workers and reducing costs.
  • Accidents on Authority bridges in 2009 were among the lowest in recent history, resulting in one accident for every 317,000 crossings.