2009-05-29 / Community

Falcon At Bridge Roost

Three pairs of peregrine falcons are spreading their wings with joy after five new chicks hatched high atop the towers of the Verrazano- Narrows, Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges this season. Three new chicks were born at the Verrazano, one at the Throgs Neck and one at Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial. Although no longer on the federal list of endangered species, peregrine falcons are still on the state endangered species list.

The chicks had their first closeups taken when they were banded by a state volunteer wildlife expert this week. The process includes putting a metal band around their feet with numbers to identify them and track them as they grow and reproduce. The Verrazano-Narrows falcons included two girls and a boy, while the Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges each had a boy. The Throgs Neck chick is the oldest of the group at fourweeks. The other four hatched during the first week in May and are now three-weeks-old.

"The falcons have been on this bridge longer than I have and I've been here 28 years," said Maintenance Superintendent William Mc- Cann, who is the keeper of the nest at the Verrazano. Not that there is much keeping to do since the goal is to provide the falcons a place to nest, keep them away from bridge maintenance activities and then leave them alone as much as possible, McCann said.

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