Following a week-long campaign in which more than 3,000 ballots were cast, the New NY Bridge project is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 falcon naming poll: Hudson, Bridge-ette and Zee received the greatest number of votes among 10 candidate names provided by local elementary schools. With all votes tallied, here are the final results:
Only a day after the results were announced, the newly-named fledglings took wing on their inaugural flights, returning to their nest box approximately three hours later with their first self-caught prey. The precocious raptors claimed the skies ahead of schedule; based on the date they hatched, their first flights were not anticipated until later in June.
“As the falcon chicks take their rites of passage, we offer our sincere thanks to the students who suggested these inspired and fitting names,” said Brian Conybeare, special advisor to the Governor for the New NY Bridge project. “We are very pleased by the positive response to the contest from area schools as well as everyone who cast a ballot and we hope they continue to follow the progress—of bird and bridge alike—in the years ahead.”
The three winning schools were recognized with award certificates and commemorative posters of the named falcons.
The project conducted the naming contest to introduce local youngsters to the endangered raptors, serving as an entry point for them to learn how major steps are being taken to avoid harming the falcons during construction. The three fledglings and their parents currently occupy a man-made nest box in the existing Tappan Zee Bridge, which is maintained by the New York State Thruway Authority. The New NY Bridge will include a new peregrine falcon nest box high atop its towers.
The chicks, two females and one male, recently were tagged with identifying bands by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The bands, placed on the fledglings’ ankles, will allow the project team and DEC to identify them and track their health and migration habits.
The young falcons hatched between April 24 and 27 after their eggs had been incubated by their parents for approximately a month. Now having taken their first flights, the fledglings will remain around the nest throughout the summer as they learn to hunt and survive on their own.
Falcon fans are urged to check back frequently as the chicks grow into flying adult falcons via the project’s 24/7 FalconCam.
Note: The falcons are wild birds and their behaviors reflect what happens in nature. Some of their actions may be unpleasant to watch and it is possible that some of the fledglings may not survive into adulthood.