Three baby peregrine falcons hatched in a nesting box at the South Grand Island Bridge in Western New York about three weeks ago.

The NYS Thruway Authority has installed peregrine falcons nesting boxes at several bridges across its 570-mile system since the late 1980s. As part of its biodiversity/endangered species project, the nesting creates a safe place away from human interference. Also, the falcons help keep pigeons off the bridges.

According to the Thruway, pigeon droppings are harmful to the bridges’ paint and steel. By keeping the pigeons at bay, the bridge structures last longer.

There is no formal naming of the birds, according to a Thruway spokesperson. Although last year, students named the falcons at the Tappan Zee Bridge in a naming contest.

The nesting program at the North Grand Island Bridge started in 2005, and at the South Grand Island Bridge in 2009. More than 70 baby falcons have hatched there since the nesting boxes were installed.

Baby falcons are called eyasses. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the word “peregrine” means “wanderer” or “pilgrim.” They were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century.


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