Conserve Wildlife Blog

Month of the Falcon – Part III

January 15th, 2014

History of the Jersey City Falcon nest

 by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Peregrine nestlings in the nestbox at 101 Hudson St.

Peregrine nestlings as viewed from the nest cam at 101 Hudson St.

We hope you’re enjoying the “Month of the Falcon” series! The summary below was created to tell the story of a peregrine nest (also referred to as an eyrie) at 101 Hudson St. in Jersey City where a live webcam broadcast the live view of the nest during the nesting season. It’s important to remember that we would not know any of this without the use of the camera to monitor the nest. The summary was written using posts to Nestbox News and from banding and re-sighting data from Kathy Clark, Supervisory Zoologist with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program.


A pair of peregrines were first spotted by observant building managers at 101 Hudson St. more than 10 years ago. They often caught glimpses of peregrines streaking through the sky, in pursuit of prey, with the NYC skyline in the background. They knew what they were witnessing was rare and wanted to help. They contacted biologists with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and a plan was made to help establish a nesting pair there. In 1999 there were only 15 known pairs of peregrine falcons in the state.


A nestbox was installed on top of 101 Hudson St. to attract a nesting pair. It was lined with pea gravel, which biologists have called “the peregrine aphrodisiac.” Peregrines do not build stick nests but instead create a scrape or shallow depression in the gravel to lay eggs in. This year the pair produced two young: one male; one female. Both were banded for future tracking. The bands used by biologists allow individual birds to be re-sighted and identified in the field. A female nestling that was banded at this nest (*D/*M) was found nesting in Stone Harbor in 2005.


In 2001 the pair laid four eggs. A total of three young hatched and all three fledged. All three were banded. After fledging the young female was found on the ground below 101 Hudson. She was taken to The Raptor Trust and was not found to be severely injured. She was later released.


Four young were produced this year; however, one hatchling died in May. The remaining three young were successfully banded and fledged. In June a female fledgling was found on the ground in Jersey City by a passerby. Luckily, it was not injured and was successfully rehabilitated at The Raptor Trust and released.

2/6 after fledging in 2003.

2/6 after fledging in 2003.


This year a late winter snow storm hit on April 7th and left 8” of snow in the nestbox. The snow buried the clutch of four eggs. The first clutch of eggs was removed and the pair re-nested. They successfully produced four young, which were banded in late June. On July 4th a young male (*2/*6) was seen on a building in Edgewater. This sighting is important because this male would end up nesting at 101 Hudson St. in 2006!


This is the first year that the current nesting female started nesting at 101 Hudson St. She is only identified by her silver USGS bird band, which has been unreadable in all her years in Jersey City.  The pair was successful in raising four young, which were all banded for future tracking. Two of the young were injured this year but were successfully rehabilitated and later released.


This was a trying year for the nesting female at 101 Hudson St. and for the biologists and volunteers who worked so hard to protect and monitor them. On May 4th, a Jersey City resident happened to find an injured adult peregrine on the ground near 101 Hudson St. Unfortunately, it was the male from the eyrie at 101 Hudson St. He had lost his wing, most likely from clipping an overhead wire. Peregrines often get tunnel vision when in a stoop (a dive) while pursuing prey. They concentrate so hard on the prey that all their surroundings are blurred. Fortunately he was rescued and brought to the kind, caring staff at The Raptor Trust. With the loss of the male from the pair at such a critical time in the nesting season (the pair was incubating four eggs). A plan was made to supplement the nest with food, specifically quail. No one knew if it would be a successful venture. “Operation prey delivery” continued and soon, something amazing was seen. A new male had appeared and had begun courting the female. This new male (*2/*6) is the current male who still resides at 101 Hudson St. On May 8th two of the four eggs hatched, then a day later a third hatched. The new male had not yet bonded with the nesting female but evidence of his presence was seen, and human prey deliveries became unnecessary. The three young were banded and successfully fledged, only because of the perseverance of dedicated volunteers, Linn Pierson and ENSP biologists! Shortly after fledging one fledging was found dead on the street below 101 Hudson St. It most likely made impact with a building. The adult male, who had lost one wing, had remained in the care of The Raptor Trust, but died after about one year.


This was the first year that the current nesting pair (female with only a silver band; male with *2/*6) began courting in Jersey City. They successfully raised four young.

The adult male that nests here is a ten years old and has been nesting here since 2006. © Kathy Clark/ENSP

The adult male that nests here is a ten years old and has been nesting here since 2006. © Kathy Clark/ENSP


This season was dedicated to the loyal and dedicated volunteer, author and Nestbox News writer, Linn Pierson, who passed away in April of ‘07. Linn’s wonderful and educational writing style attracted a lot of viewers to the Peregrine Cam. The peregrine pair had a good season and produced three young. Long time rules were broken and the three nestlings were named, Linn (93/Y) named after Linn Pierson, Alpine (40/S), Roxy (92/Y).


This was a tough year for the pair at 101 Hudson St. A bad Nor’easter hit in May and one nestling died from exposure. Another died shortly after fledging, so only two young survived this year.


In 2009 the pair successfully produced three young (two females and one male). Sometimes no news is good news!


All four young (all female) produced in 2010 fledged successfully. One nestling (00/AE) was found injured after fledging but was captured and rehabilitated at The Raptor Trust. She had a broken humerus in her wing and was not expected be able to be re-released. Thanks to the dedicated staff at TRT, 00/AE was released in November in Jersey City!


Three young were produced this year but one ended up being removed from the nest after appearing abnormal. The two remaining young were banded and successfully fledged. The bird that was removed was taken in by a bird trainer and falconer, and he was used for education, but he never fully developed normally and died of his developmental complications.


This year the female laid five eggs! Only 3 of those eggs were viable and all three hatched and were banded. After fledging one young peregrine was found dead after it hit a window of a skyscraper in Jersey City.

The nestling from this year was banded with an alpha-numeric band 44/AM for future tracking. © Bonnie Talluto

The nestling from this year was banded with an alpha-numeric band 44/AM for future tracking. © Bonnie Talluto


We don’t know the exact age and origins of the nesting female since her band has never been read fully. We have gotten some of the numbers of the band and have narrowed it down to (possibly) originating from a nest in New York City in 1995, making her 18 years old this year. As peregrines grow older they become less productive. This was evident this year. The female laid four eggs but only one egg hatched and the hatchling failed to thrive (it died after two days of treatment). Biologists intervened to make sure the pair did not fail completely. A foster chick was taken from another (successful) nest in Sea Isle City and was placed in the nest at 101 Hudson St. It worked! The pair accepted and nurtured the nestling as their own! The young male peregrine was banded and successfully fledged.

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