There's great news about peregrines coming from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania this week.
Meredith Lombard reported on PABIRDS that for the first time in 60 years peregrine falcons have nested successfully in Lancaster County. This raises the number of nests in Pennsylvania to 22, the highest number we've had since the days before DDT.
Like me in Pittsburgh, Meredith monitors the peregrine falcons in York and Lancaster Counties. After months of checking potential nest sites and many disappointments she thought the season would end -- again -- without any nestlings. Then she noticed the pair at the Route 462 bridge mating in mid-May.
Pictured here is the male of this pair. He hatched in 2004 at Southmarsh Island WMA in Maryland and was hacked from Harper's Ferry National Park by Craig Koppie. The female hatched on a building in Virginia and was hacked from a cliff. They've now claimed the arched bridge that crosses the wide and shallow Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville.
Apparently their April nest failed but the May nest didn't. By late June Meredith saw them delivering prey to the bridge and in early July she heard the unmistakable sound of begging peregrine nestlings. (Remember that sound from the webcams?)
On July 13, Art McMorris and Jeff Musser visited the bridge and banded two chicks -- one male (white tape on USFW band) and one female (blue tape). At that time they were about 24 days old so they're expected to fledge in early August. We wish them a safe flight.
Thank you, Meredith, for your dedication to these birds.
See Meredith's pictures of York, Lancaster and Susquehanna bridge peregrines here.
(photo by Meredith Lombard)