Baby Falcons Make Throgs Neck Bridge Their Home

Three rare baby falcons have made the top of the Throgs Neck Bridge their new home.

During the first week of May, three Peregrine Falcons, an endangered species in New York State, hatched 360 feet above the Hudson River atop the Bronx tower of the Throgs Neck Bridge.

According to the Metro Transit Authority Bridges and Tunnels, birds of all kinds have been calling the Throgs Neck, Verrazano-Narrows, and Marine Parkway bridges home for decades.

Falcons in particular, often nest atop bridges, high church steeples and other high-rise buildings because it provides an excellent vantage point for hunting prey for their chicks.

Carlton Cyrus, who has worked with the MTA B&T for 27 years, is the maintenance superintendent for the Throgs Neck Bridge. Cyrus has been involved with nesting falcons at the bridge since 1997.

“It doesn’t cost the Authority anything to have the falcons nest here,” Cyrus said. “We just give them some peace and quiet and during nesting season make sure that our contractors and maintenance workers don’t disturb them. This allows the chicks to hatch and gives them a greater opportunity for survival.”

During the 1980s, Peregrine Falcons were placed on the Federal Endangered Species List as a result of pesticides contaminating their food supply. Although they were removed from the list in 1999, they still remain on the New York State Department of Conservation’s endangered birds list.

In 1983, the Peregrine Nesting Program began in New York City and one of the first established nests was on top of the Throgs Neck Bridge. Peregrine Falcons mate for life and nest in the same spot each year and as of 2011, 16 pairs of this species call the city home.

Wildlife specialist Chris Nadareski of the Department of Environmental Protection helped band the new chicks on top of the bridge. The baby falcons were given the names Bayside, Edgewater and Locust, and were also given an identification band for future monitoring by the DEP and State DEP.

“It seems that the falcons have been very happy here for quite a number of years,” Nadareski said. “The banding is not harmful to the birds.”

Many local residents were not aware of the falcons atop the bridge until the MTA unveiled the information to members of Community Board 10. Mary Jane Musano, board member and Waterbury-LaSalle resident, watched a video from the MTA of Nadareski climbing the bridge to band the baby falcons and was very impressed.

“I had no idea about what was being done for these falcons on our city’s bridges,” Musano said.

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