Louisville, Ky. (July 11, 2012) – Despite the noise and activity surrounding construction of the new Milton-Madison Bridge, the pair of peregrine falcons nesting on one of the bridge piers has had another successful nesting season.
Officials from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) monitoring nest activity say three healthy falcon chicks hatched in the nest in April and recently left the nest. The nesting box is located near the Indiana side of the bridge on a pier that is not being reused as part of the project.
Kate Heyden, an avian biologist with KDFWR, climbed onto the bridge pier and banded the chicks with special ID tags. “All the chicks – two females and one male – appeared healthy, with no sign of disease,” she said.
Project contractor Walsh Construction Co. named the chicks after characters from an old TV show, “Three’s Company”: Janet, Jack and Chrissy.
Falcons have nested on the Milton-Madison Bridge since 2002. Peregrine falcons are no longer on the endangered species list, but are still federally protected; it is illegal to harm or destroy a falcon or its nest. Peregrine falcons are strong hunters, diving at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour to prey on other birds in mid-flight. There are only 13 known nesting pairs in Kentucky.
A permanent home will be found for the falcons’ nesting box early next year before the truss on the existing bridge is removed.
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet committed to relocating the nesting box as part of the project’s environmental process.
Named one of the Top 10 bridge projects in the country by Roads & Bridges Magazine, the Milton-Madison Bridge Project has been the recipient of several state and national engineering awards for innovation. For more information, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com or follow the project on Twitter.