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May 26, 2004 (rt23 news) - (04/56) TRENTON--- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell announced today that the Department is continuing its efforts to restore the peregrine falcon population by banding four chicks that hatched atop New Jersey’s second tallest building three weeks ago in Jersey City.

"The restoration of the peregrine falcon in New Jersey marks an important conservation milestone and is one of the first success stories attributed to New Jersey’s Endangered Species Conservation Act," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Even with this success, our work to manage the peregrine population and monitor for the potential effects of environmental contaminants cannot wane."

The breeding pair of falcons that produced the chicks were first spotted several years ago by two building managers at the LCOR building at 101 Hudson Street in Jersey City. Standing at a height of 592 feet, the 42-story building is the second highest in New Jersey. The four chicks reside in a three-sided nest box that was placed on the roof of the building in 2001. The chicks can walk but are not yet able to fly. This hatching is the fourth successful falcon breeding to occur at this location.

Individually identifying each bird through banding helps the Department in its study of the birds migration habits, behavior, life span, survival rate, reproductive success and population growth.

Peregrines historically bred in New Jersey on cliffs along the Hudson and Delaware rivers, but were wiped out in the East primarily due to pesticide contamination.

Starting in the late 1970s, biologists from DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife released young peregrines into the wild. The first successfully re-established peregrine nest in the East produced chicks in 1980 at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Atlantic County, New Jersey. By 1986, 10 pairs were nesting in New Jersey and the population now remains stable at about 18 pairs.

The peregrine falcon was removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999. They continue to be listed as endangered in New Jersey because they remain threatened by contaminants and human disturbance, and they rely on active management of their nesting sites.

The peregrine falcon is the largest falcon in New Jersey and the world’s fastest bird. In a dive, peregrines can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour and take their prey (other birds) in mid air.

A grant from the Verizon Foundation in 2001 enabled the Department to install a webcam, providing an educational connection for the people of New Jersey and around the world to view the daily behavior of the peregrine falcons.

In addition to the webcam, a monitor display in the lobby of 101 Hudson Street provides employees and visitors with a "live cam" view of the birds as well as background on peregrines and the successful efforts to restore them in New Jersey.

After the banding is completed, second graders from the Cornelia F. Bradford School in Jersey City will have an opportunity to see one of the falcon chicks up close. The students are participants in Project Peregrine, a hands-on educational program using the peregrine falcon as its focus to teach reading, writing, science and geography. The Peregrine Project is part of a larger joint effort by DEP, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the Verizon Foundation to raise awareness about this endangered raptor.

To see a live video feed of the peregrine falcon chicks, visit the Department’s website at:

Nestbox News
May 24, 2004
Here’s some more information regarding Friday’s banding at 101 Hudson St. Around 10:00 a.m., Kathleen Clark, Principal Zoologist for the Endangered & Nongame Species Program, removed the little falcons from their nestbox and brought them inside to be fitted for the bands they will wear for the rest of their lives.
Since the peregrine restoration project began in 1975, thousands of peregrine falcons have been banded in north America. Although band returns for peregrines are less than 10%, each bird recovered or seen subsequent to banding offers biologists a wealth of potential knowledge on their migration habits, distribution and longevity.

In New Jersey, we try to band all of our young falcon nestlings each year. In addition, passage birds, or peregrines migrating through places such as Cape May in the fall, are often trapped and banded as adults. Birds that are rehabbed at facilities such as The Raptor Trust, are also banded before release. It is very thrilling to hear that a bird that was banded as a youngster in New Jersey is now part of a nesting pair, sometimes hundreds of miles away from its birthplace.

Those who have been concerned about whether the adult birds are around would have had their fears allayed the very moment the door to the roof opens - both parents began a vigorous defense of their young. As Kathy removed the youngsters from the nest and placed them in a box to transport them indoors, another bander kept busy trying to keep the adults from getting too close. Anyone who has ever participated in peregrine banding gets a pretty good idea of just how it feels to be a prey item!

The birds were examined for overall health as well as visually inspected for external parasites (quite common in young birds of prey due to nest sanitation, or lack thereof). Bands were applied to both legs. On their left leg is now a US Fish & Wildlife Service band, and on the right, an alpha-numeric band that will identify them as Jersey birds! The bands do not bother the birds at all and will remain on them for life.

When this was done the nestlings were placed back in their nestbox, again accompanied by more cacking and attack flying on the part of the adults.

Posted by: Staff at
May 26, 2004


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