The nest is not visible from the bridge and is in

an area that

is not accessible .

VERONA (AP) – A year after two pairs of osprey set up housekeeping on the Waldo-Hancock Bridge, a pair of peregrine falcons followed suit.

The pair nested on a beam beneath the travel way of the bridge a month ago and have since established a nest and laid eggs, Phil Roberts, resident engineer for the state Department of Transportation, said.

The eggs should hatch in about a month. It will take another month to six weeks before the chicks are ready to fly.

The nest is not visible from the bridge, and DOT officials stressed that the birds were in an area that was not accessible to the public.

Last year, after several attempts, the department succeeded in relocating two pairs of osprey from the top of the bridge towers in order to continue work on the bridge.

One of the pairs apparently relocated to the wild. The other moved into an artificial nest set up near the bridge by the department and successfully raised a pair of chicks.

It does not appear relocation will be necessary with the peregrine falcons.

DOT has been cooperative in avoiding the nesting birds when possible. The small raptors, however, may become a problem for the nearby osprey. There already have been reports of the peregrines “dive-bombing” their larger neighbors.

“Peregrine falcons and osprey don’t really care for each other,” he said. “It could be exciting. I expect we’ll see some good raptor interaction, more so when the eggs have hatched and there’s more coming and going from the nests.”

Most of the work the department is doing this season will be done above the bridge deck, Roberts said, although crews will need to inspect some areas below the travel lanes.

The birds don’t seem to mind.

“They moved in while we were working on the bridge, so apparently the noise doesn’t bother them,” Roberts said.

State wildlife biologists said that the birds seem to be doing just fine.

Although spotters have seen peregrine falcons in the area during the past few years, this appears to be the first mature pair to establish a nest site in the area, according to Brad Allen, head of the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s bird group.

Peregrine falcons are small raptors – about the size of a crow – that catch their prey on the wing. In a dive they can reach speeds of more that 100 mph and are considered the fastest birds alive.


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