Peregrine falcon chicks return to Milford cliffs after 70-year absence

Visitors asked to avoid two of only 12 cliff-nesting pairs in Pennsylvania


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Peregrine chick poses after being banded. (Photo provided)




  • Two peregrine chicks returned to the nest after a health check and banding. (Photo provided)




— After a 70-year absence, peregrine falcons have successfully nested this year in the Milford Cliffs area of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Historic nesting pairs were first reported on these cliffs in the 1940s and 1950s. No nests have been identified at this site until now, says the National Park Service.

Declines of nesting peregrine falcons in the northeastern United States were first observed following World War II and the use of the pesticide DDT. The catastrophic decline led to their federal listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1972. Once a federally listed endangered species, peregrines were delisted in 1999 because of their highly successful recovery in many places in North America. The species remains listed as an endangered species in the state of Pennsylvania and is a protected species in the park.

The number of known cliff-nesting pairs in the state is 12. The park now has two.

Thanks to the cooperative efforts of park staff, Pennsylvania Game Commission staff, and volunteers, the nest has been monitored closely over the past several months following reports of territorial behaviors initially seen along the cliffs in February. In March the pair selected a nesting site on those same craggy, shale cliffs and then proceeded to lay eggs. Later in the spring adult brooding and feeding behaviors were observed, indicating that the eggs hatched.

To track chicks after they fledge and disperse Pennsylvania Game Commission staff, park staff, and volunteers worked together to locate the nest and band the two chicks. During the banding process each chick was assessed to determine gender, size, and health. One leg was banded with large letter and number combinations that can be seen with binoculars. The other leg was banded with a uniquely numbered silver band tracked by state and federal agencies.

Biologists will continue to closely monitor the chicks over the next several weeks. The park service asks that visitors honor the marked closures, since disturbing the young birds could result in a premature exit from the ledge before they have learned to fly. Closed areas will reopen when the young birds are old enough to not be disturbed by human activity. This is expected in late July or early August, once the young fledge from the nest.



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Police say there were no threats at DDMS
DINGMAN TOWNSHIP — The Pennsylvania State Police at Blooming Grove found nothing behind the report of terroristic threats at Dingman Delaware Middle School.
At 4:06...

Read more »

Stephanie Neugebauer to get proclamation for 100th birthday
— Stefanie Neugebauer of Milford will be 100 years old on Dec. 24. And the Milford Township Council is ready to celebrate.
The...

Read more »
Image

Milford-Westfall sewer connection would be good for business, advocates say
By Frances Ruth Harris
— Talks have begun about installing a modern sewer system that would connect Westfall and Milford...

Read more »
Image

Martin Guitar factory named National Historic Landmark
NAZARETH, PA — C.F. Martin and Co. says the guitar-maker's original factory in Pennsylvania has...
Read more »
Image

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers



MOST READ

Letters to the Editor
Rest in peace, Mr. President
  • Dec 10, 2018
Letters to the Editor
Season of giving: The food pantry needs your help
  • Dec 10, 2018

MOST COMMENTED



Weather in Milford, PA