May 25, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Two peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in a nesting box atop the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, which connects the Rockaways with Brooklyn.
The now four-week-old hatchlings live with their mother in the perch on the bridge’s 215-foot Rockaway tower, officials from MTA Bridges and Tunnels said.
Research scientist Chris Nadareski, from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, climbed the tower last week and put identifying bands on the fluffy, baby birds – so that wildlife experts can identify them if they become sick or injured. The MTA released a video of the banding process.
The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge is one of three bridges with falcon families. There are also unhatched eggs in nests at the Throgs Neck Bridge, which connects Queens with the Bronx, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which links Brooklyn with Staten Island.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels installed nesting boxes for the falcons at each of the bridges but otherwise leaves the birds alone, particularly during nesting season.
Peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out by the 1960s by pesticides in their food supply, the MTA said. The birds are still classified as endangered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.