Local Peregrines!

Peregrine falcons are special birds, known for their incredible high-speed acrobatic flight as they chase down avian prey. Pesticides like DDT that were in widespread use after WWII caused a precipitous decline in their nesting population in the U.S. and it took an well-coordinated national reintroduction and breeding program to bring them back. In Pennsylvania these birds now nest mostly on man-made structures like buildings and bridges, and there are only a few known pairs occupying historic eyries on cliffs. Over my recent sabbatical year (2015) I had the pleasure of watching a single male find a mate and then successfully rear two young from a cliff nest near the Delaware River a few miles from my home. It has successfully raised chicks from the same ledge both years since then.

The bachelor male back in January 2015

The bachelor male back in January 2015

I had the great fortune to be present with my camera when the second chick fledged from the cliff. Some images below from the evening of July 23, 2015 – click for a larger version (all pics taken from the canal towpath – heavy crops). Better PEFA pics HERE

dad swings by the cliff to see what the fuss is all about

dad swings by the cliff to see what the fuss is all about

chick1 swings by to taunt his earth-bound sibling. Show-off!

chick1 swings by to taunt his earth-bound sibling. Show-off!

She's all a flutter - flapping and flapping

She’s all a flutter – flapping and flapping

ok, its time!

ok, its time!

Airborne!

Airborne!

First soar

First soar

into the blue!

into the blue!

toward the safety of the nearby trees

toward the safety of the nearby trees

dad arrives a half-hour later with prey

dad arrives a half-hour later with prey

now where is everyone??

now where is everyone??

What's that noise over in the trees?

What’s that noise over in the trees?

Turns out that the male (who is banded) hatched only two years previously from the Martins Creek nest upriver. He was unusually young to successfully raise chicks – nice job dad!

More PEFA pics HERE