Falcon family that calls City Hall home has a new addition

For the eighth year now, a couple of peregrine falcons have hatched a nest of babies on the 16th floor of Philadelphia City Hall.

Pat Loeb
May 25, 2018 - 9:50 pm
City Hall Falcons

Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- For the eighth year now, a couple of peregrine falcons have hatched a nest of babies on the 16th floor of Philadelphia City Hall. But wildlife experts discovered there's been a change this year. 

"That's one of the parents guarding the nest box..."

City Hall Falcons
Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio

Building superintendent Joe Brasky watches the new little family from behind a closed window to guard against the protective mom's long, curling talons. A band on her ankle shows she hatched in Tuckahoe, New Jersey, but she has nested here for eight years. Art McMorris of the state game commission recently came to put bands on her babies and discovered she has a new mate.

"Nobody saw what happened to the old male, whether he simply died or whether there was actually a battle and the new one won the battle for the territory," McMorris said. "We don't know that, but we do know the previous male is gone and we now have the new male."

City Hall Falcons
Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio

McMorris says the new male is from nearby: the Ben Franklin Bridge. Banding helps McMorris keep track of falcons, which came back from extinction caused by DDT, but are still endangered. He says they like high buildings and bridges that mimic their natural cliff habitats.

"They've got a tall place to nest, open skies to fly around and hunt in, lots of food and they're all set," he said.

City Hall Falcons
Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio

McMorris says 10 percent of the state's falcons live in Philadelphia.