Photo Study Of  Peregrine Falcon Banding At The NJ/PA Turnpike Bridge, June 2nd, 2015

        Peregrine Falcons were once an endangered species in the United States. North American Peregrine Falcon
       populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides. Further, the
       Peregrine Falcons have found champions in dedicated folks like Dr. F. Arthur McMorris and his associates at
       the Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as other conservation groups who protect, band and account for
       the Peregrines in the Commonwealth. Today, Art's banding team consisted of Ellyn Henry, Bucks County
       Conservation Officer; Andy Lutz, PA Turnpike Authority;  Hilary Brugger, STV Corporation, and Ed  Norman,
       Photographer.  These folks climbed down the ladder to the nesting box on Pier 18 (which by the way is 135 feet
       above the Delaware River.) They then moved the three chicks from the nest box to a location near the center of
       of the bridge where they were examined, dusted, weighed, measured and banded. When the team finished, they
       returned the three banded chicks back to the nest box and within minutes everything settled down just as if
       nothing had ever happened.

                                                         Here are some of today's photos (Ed and Hilary took the
                                                         photos up on the bridge and I took the ones from below
                                                         while standing on the river bank) :

 NJ/PA Turnpike Bridge From The New Jersey Side

Art Starts To Bag Each Peregrine Chick

Ellyn Takes Bag With Chick From Art

Ellyn Moves Bagged Chicks To Center Of Span For Banding

Art Gets Ready To Weigh Chicks In Bags

Art Weighs Each Chick

Ed Norman Photographs Each Stage Of The Process

Banding Team Gets Into Position On Narrow Pier 18 Catwalk

Ed Photographs Banding Process

Ellyn Holds Chick In Bag

Ellyn Holds Chick While Art Checks It Out

Art Examines Chick

Art Looking In Chick's Mouth

Art Swabs Chick

Art Dusts Chick

Art Looks At Wing

Art Checks Other Wing

Art Examines Feet

Ellyn Holds Chick

Art Applies Bands

Chick Tells Art And Ellyn Exactly What She Thinks Of Them

Chick Continues Squawking

Banding Is Almost Over

Back In The Bag Ready To Be Returned To Nest Box

Art Returns Chick To Nest Box

Ellyn Brings Art Another Chick

Art Makes Sure Chicks Are OK In Nest Box

Andy And Hilary Get Ready To Leave

Art Finishes Up At Nest Box

Art Gets Ready To Leave

Art Moves Into Ladder

Art Climbs Up


And Ed Norman, Who Was Up On The Bridge, Got These  Great
 Shots Of Both Adult Peregrines Flying Around The Banding Team

Adult Male Peregrine Falcon Flying

Unbanded Adult Female Peregrine Falcon Flying

Adult Peregrine Flying Under Bridge

Adult Peregrine Flying Near Beams

Adult Male Peregrine Flying Near Beams

Important Note:

     We already knew that the female Peregrine was replaced this year by a new
     female. We now know from today's photos that she has no bands. Further,
     today's shots show that the banded male Peregrine is also a different bird
     than was here in previous years (this new male falcon definitely has different
     band numbers.)

Today's Banding Team Back On The Ground
Hilary Brugger, Ed Norman, Andy Lutz, Art McMorris, Harry Strano, Ellyn Henry

      Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) are formidable hunters that prey on other birds (and bats)
      in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey, drop into a steep, swift
      dive that can top 200 miles an hour. This makes them the fastest members of the animal kingdom.
        Although nowhere common, Peregrine Falcons are among the most widespread birds of prey and
      live on all continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where
      shorebirds are common. But they can also be found everywhere from tundra to deserts. These birds
      may travel widely outside the nesting season—their name means "wanderer." Though some of them
      are permanent residents, many do migrate. Those that nest on Arctic tundra and winter in South
      America fly as many as 15,500 miles in a year. Yet, they have an incredible homing instinct that leads
      them back to favored aeries. Some nesting sites have been in continuous use for hundreds of years,
      occupied by successive generations of falcons. Fortunately, Peregrines are also now known to live on
      bridges and skyscrapers in major cities.             
(Cornell ; Wikpedia and National Geographic)

© Howard B. Eskin 2015  © Edward J. Norman 2015

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