In the last few years there have been three known peregrine falcon nests within 25 miles of my place, two on bridges and one on a traditional site on a cliff along the river. Several of the adult birds now also spend the winter near one of the bridges where there is a large population of pigeons on which they prey.
On a recent morning as I walked along the river one of the peregrines was perched in the same tree where a peregrine frequently spent time last winter.
The return of peregrines to Pennsylvania and many other eastern states is one of the real conservation triumphs of recent years. Thanks to banning of DDT, which thinned eggshells - resulting in broken eggs, and the efforts of both government agencies and volunteers to re-introduce peregrines, many of us now have the opportunity to be thrilled by the sight of these birds.
Years ago I worked with a fellow who, when he was much younger, reportedly had removed a clutch of eggs from a peregrine’s cliff nest – the eggs were said to have gone to a museum for its collection. Since the final successful nesting of peregrines reported in Pennsylvania during the DDT era was in 1957, that nest must have been one of the last nests in the state before DDT eliminated peregrines as a nesting species.
Now they’re back – Great!