Date: 2/28/18 12:19 pm From: F. Arthur McMorris <mcmorris...> Subject: Please report Peregrine Falcons at Cliffs
Dear PA Birders,
Please let me know (off-list) of any sightings you may have of Peregrine Falcons near cliffs in Pennsylvania. Cliff-nesting peregrines are extremely important to the recovery of the species in Pennsylvania, but only 9 active cliff nests are currently known. All other PA nests are on man-made structures (bridges, buildings and smokestacks) where the nestlings and fledglings face additional hazards that they don’t face at cliffs: flying into glass, getting hit by cars, flying into powerlines, getting downed on streets, exposure to hazardous materials, human disturbance, falling from bridges into the river, etc. etc. It is quite likely that there are cliff-nesting pairs in PA that just haven't been discovered yet; your observations will be extremely valuable.
Right now is an excellent time to detect nesting peregrines, and to observe and enjoy them. This is the beginning of the nesting season: established pairs are renewing the pair bond, single birds are advertising for mates, and all are demonstrating their "ownership" of their territories, by dramatic display flights and aggressive challenges to practically anything big that flies (Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, sometimes even small airplanes!). Whitewash on cliff ledges is also a possible sign of residence by peregrines. Later in the nesting season peregrines become more secretive; and then later still, in June and July, when the young are learning to fly and hunt, they become conspicuous again. Now is a great time to enjoy them and a golden opportunity to detect new pairs.
Peregrines were extirpated in eastern North America by DDT and other pesticides in the 1940's and 1950's, but they have been re-introduced and the population in PA is recovering steadily. Cliff-nesting birds are of outsized importance to the population recovery. Your reports will be very valuable in aiding the recovery of this charismatic species.
F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.
Peregrine Falcon coordinator
Pennsylvania Game Commission
405 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bala-Cynwyd, PA 19004