Union County News

Press Releases

Urban Legends Exposed: City-Dwelling Peregrine Falcons Offer a “Rare Wildlife Reality Show” in Union County

325b2cd6fdc7cf07d81b_UnionCountySeal.jpg
Credits: ucnj.org
64e167d022fed0d25f77_Conserve_Wildlife.jpg
Credits: ucnj.org
325b2cd6fdc7cf07d81b_UnionCountySeal.jpg

Union County, NJ – Thanks to a new partnership between the Union County Freeholder Board and the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, students, scientists and other wildlife enthusiasts all over the world will have more opportunities to study a pair of rare peregrine falcons that have made their nest on the roof of the historic 17-story Union County Courthouse Tower, located in the bustling center of midtown Elizabeth.

Peregrine falcons have been nesting on the Courthouse Tower every year since 2006. In 2016, Union County began offering a free livestream “Falcon Cam” after installing two cameras inside and outside of the nest. This winter a third camera has been added to provide a scenic view, and audio will be available later this year.

“This year our Falcon Cam will become a new collaborative effort between the County and Conserve Wildlife, with assistance from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “This partnership makes Union County a premier site for falcon observation and research in New Jersey. The result is a truly enriching experience that brings the message of environmental stewardship throughout Union County and beyond.”

Sign Up for E-News

The two current occupants of the nest have spent the winter “pair bonding.” Bird watchers who visit the Falcon Cam at the right time can catch sight of the two falcons meeting at the nest, bowing to each other and communicating with gentle sounds called “ee-chupping.”  

“While peregrine falcons were completely gone east of the Mississippi River just a few decades ago, this magnificent bird – the fastest animal in the world – has recovered dramatically in recent years,” said Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director David Wheeler. “Thanks to Union County, students and New Jerseyans of all ages can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at this rare wildlife reality show unfolding near tens of thousands of people in downtown Elizabeth.” 

In winter the prime time for viewing is early morning. Activity also tends to occur mid-afternoon. If the pair breeds, the nest will be occupied almost constantly until the chicks fledge.

The Courthouse Tower hosts one of only two falcon cams in New Jersey. The other falcon cam is in Jersey City.

In addition to providing a unique learning opportunity for students of all ages, the Union County Falcon Cam provides essential information that helps promote the continued recovery of peregrine falcons in the eastern U.S.

 The cameras help biologists determine when the chicks are old enough to be banded and enable observers to identify the falcons based on bands placed on their legs at birth. The bands indicate the age of each falcon and where they were born. That information can help scientists detect trends in range of habitat and choice of nesting locations.

The leg bands helped biologists to take note of some recent changes in the  population of the Union County nest.

The first female to occupy the nest was from Jersey City. She remained there until last year, when a new and younger female from New York City gained possession of the coveted spot. Her leg band indicated that she was born at the Throgs Neck Bridge in 2010.

“Peregrine falcons prefer to nest in a high spot on the face of a cliff where they can forage for prey, and apparently the Courthouse Tower fits the bill,” Bergen explained. “It is the tallest building in Union County.”

Early this year, a third female replaced the New York City female. This new occupant does not have a leg band.

The first male to occupy the nest was banded and came to Union County from Connecticut. The current male is unbanded.

The free Falcon Cam livestream is available on the Union County website at ucnj.org/falcon.

Union County has also provided a link to the Falcon Cam on the Conserve Wildlife website, conservewildlifenj.org. Conserve Wildlife will use the Falcon Cam in its STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs in local schools, and for programming at the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is also offering individual and corporate sponsorships of public outreach and environmental education in Union County centered on the Falcon Cam. CWF seeks to provide educational programs, lesson plans, curriculum development, and educational field trips for schools within Union County.

For more information about Conserve Wildlife's individual and corporate sponsorships, call 609-984-6012 or use the online form at ConserveWildlifeNJ.org.

For quick links to all Union County programs related to conservation and sustainability, visit ucnj.org/green-connection.  

##

About CWF: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) is a private, independent non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife and the habitats they depend on. We carry out our mission by researching and managing rare animal species, restoring habitat, educating New Jersey’s residents, and engaging volunteers in our conservation projects. Since 1990, CWF scientists and educators have helped conserve and protect a variety of at-risk species of wildlife in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, while reaching millions of people through outreach, educational programming, and wildlife webcams.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Cranford

Small Fire Extinguished at Addams Tavern in Westfield

June 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It likely started with a smoldering cigarette, according to Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Tiller.

The fire that started in a flower planter on an outside deck on the second floor of Addams Tavern Wednesday caused a lot of smoke as it spread to the flooring, but only about a three-foot by three-foot area was damaged, Tiller said.

The restaurant at 115 Elm St. is ...

Cranford High Senior Prom

June 16, 2018

CRANFORD - Cranford High School held its Senior Prom on Friday at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. Check out the photos our readers submitted. 

Spring Art Show Displays Students' Creativity

CRANFORD - The Cranford High School Spring Art Show was held at the Cranford Public Library, on Tuesday. 

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., artwork from classes such as crafts, graphic design, photography, and drawing was on display for the public to promote the creative and unique projects done by students throughout the school year. 

Senior Awards Recipients

CRANFORD - On Thursday, June 7th, Cranford High School held its annual Senior Awards Ceremony. Here is a full list of the awards and winners. 

 

Cranford High School Award for Outstanding Achievement

Top 5% of the Class of 2018

Recipient: Jack Callan, Alannah Clarke, Meg Cui, Caroline Kelly, Julia Kelly, Nicholas Macchi, Katherine Ruane, Layla Serna, Katherine Stochel, ...

Sports Betting Is Off And Running in New Jersey

June 14, 2018

OCEANPORT, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy officially ushered in sports betting in New Jersey when he made the initial wager at Monmouth Park  on June 14.

Governor Murphy, an avid soccer fan who has called ESPN’s “Sportscenter” his favorite show, placed the first bet  — $20 on Germany to win the World Cup. He also bet $20 on the N.J. Devils to ...

Cranford Police Athletic League Registration

June 15, 2018

CRANFORD - Registration for the Cranford Police Athletic League is now available. Sports for Fall 2018 include Flag Football, Tackle Football, and Cheerleading. Registration can only be done online, and can be found at www.cranfordpal.org. The deadline to sign up in June 28th. 

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

Summer Water Safety Tips

Summer is a great time for parents to ensure their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. The Westfield Area YMCA offers weekly swim lessons all summer long and in Monday-Thursday weekly sessions.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14. Remember these tips to ensure the water is an enjoyable and safe place to ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Between Park Street and Washington Street, Westfield

Walking Tour: What Makes a Great House and ...

Home & Garden

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...