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Life’s a breeze on the Brooklyn Bridge

DEP, with a gracious assist from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), are the proud adoptive parents of three Peregrine Falcons hatched on a nest site on a ledge on the Brooklyn Bridge. Two females and one male had hatched out of five eggs that were laid sometime around the middle of March. All three young were healthy and within a few days of taking their first flight.

The nest was all but unreachable located some 80 feet above the roadway on the Bridge’s granite archway ledge. But DEP Wildlife Biologist Chris Nadareski, who has been studying the migratory and other behavioral habits of these endangered birds by tagging them since the early 1990s, was not deterred. In fact, he has tracked and banded various falcon families sited throughout the city at locations ranging from skyscrapers, to out-of-reach window sills to church steeples.

The Brooklyn Bridge posed a unique problem in that the nest was perched right over one of the lanes of the Bridge overpass. Chris contacted DOT, the City agency responsible for bridge maintenance and operation to see how he could access the nest. DOT, though better known for its mission to improve traffic patterns and carry out street repairs, is also a partner in the City’s-multi-agency quest to improve the environment and make the City hospitable not only to vehicles and residents but also to members of the avian class.

DOT offered to provide a manlift to raise Chris up to the nest to bring the nestlings below to perform his delicate banding operation. Chris was aided by DOT Engineer in charge of East River Bridges, Bala Nair and members of his staff. As the manlift slowly made its way above the roadway, other DOT staff aided in controlling traffic. Also, at the same time, a class from the Harry Halpern Day School in Brooklyn were treated to an unscheduled outdoor project as they crossed the Bridge and were given an opportunity to witness and report about the wildlife preservation project.

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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