Time for an awwww break! Five peregrine falcon chicks were born atop the towers of MTA bridges! The MTA says that three were born at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, while the Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges each welcomed one chick. Some details about the fuzzy birds, which are 3-4 weeks old (their talons are already the size of an adult human hand!), from the MTA:
- The Verrazano-Narrows falcons are two girls and one boy; the other Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges falcons are both boys. All chicks were banded by a state volunteer wildlife expert.
- The falcons at the Verrazano nest at a tower that's 693 feet above the water and they have returned every mating season since the MTA Bridges and Tunnels team replaced the falcons' original nesting box on the lower roadway in 2000.
- The Throgs Neck Bridge's nesting box used to be on the Queens tower, but was moved to the Bronx tower (360 feet above the water) in 2007, due to a painting project. Throgs Neck Maintenance Superintendent Ray Higgins explained, "We have a good relationship with the falcons because we’re like absentee landlords. We set them up with a nice place to live and then try not to bother them."
- The Marine Parkway nesting box is 215 feet above the water on the Rockaway side, "inside an old gun turret that was installed during World War II." The MTA plans some renovations for the nesting box, because the wood inside is split.
Falcons love high perches because they "provide an excellent vantage point for hunting prey, including pigeons and small birds" (falcons hang out at the top of 55 Water Street in lower Manhattan). More details on falcons from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Remember these baby falcons from the Throgs Neck Bridge back in 2007?