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.
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
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!