Peregrine Falcons Find Homes in Urban Communities

By Desiree Taylor

It’s nesting season for peregrine falcons. And a handful of them are raising their young in some of New Jersey’s urban communities. In Atlantic City, a family of peregrines are nesting on a ledge outside the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, formerly a Hilton. In order to protect the baby birds, officials with the hotel have delayed plans to put up a sign that bears the casino’s new name. Once the young are old enough to safely fly away, the sign will go up.

“It’s an incredible story of a big corporation versus a little bird and how people want to do the right thing,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, director of the Turtle Back Zoo.

Peregrine falcons have also been identified on top of the George Washington Bridge as well as apartment buildings and high rises in New Jersey. A web cam set up at one Jersey City high rise, located at 101 Hudson St., allows experts and the public to keep track of the birds. You can see the live video on New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website. Goodman says the web cam provides an important educational tool.

Peregrines were once endangered birds but they have made a bit of a comeback. Pesticides led to their decline in the 1960s when there were just 10 pairs in New Jersey. Today, there are about two dozen. They’re considered stable but still threatened birds. Goodman attributes their progress to regulations put in place to eliminate harmful pesticides and ongoing efforts to brand, track and monitor these birds.