The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites bird watchers of all ages to tune into the County’s free Falcon Cam online at ucnj.org/falcon and observe a pair of rare peregrine falcons start their family in a nest perched on the roof of the Union County Courthouse tower. The nest, 17 stories high above the bustling streets of midtown Elizabeth, has been home to falcons every year since 2005.
“The Falcon Cam is a wonderful opportunity to learn about this fierce and fascinating bird. We are delighted to share it with the world as a service to our community here at home, and to the global community, too,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados.
The proud parents welcomed their first egg into the nest last Thursday. The second egg arrived on Saturday.
“The revival of the peregrine falcon shows how much we can accomplish when we all work toward the same goal – on the national, state and local level, with our academic and non-profit partners, and with members of the public who are informed and educated about the importance of wildlife conservation,” said Granados. “In ways great and small, we can all make a difference.”
Once found throughout the United States, peregrine falcons – known as “nature’s finest flying machines” for their daring high speed dives -- were rendered virtually extinct in the eastern part of the country after the 1960’s. The population decline has been linked to the pesticide DDT as well as hunting, loss of habitat and other human activity.
Conservationists slowly succeeded in re-establishing peregrine falcons in the eastern U.S. after the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972, and Congress passed the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1973.
Only about two dozen pairs of nesting falcons are known to reside in New Jersey. Union County works with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the nonprofit organization Conserve Wildlife to monitor the County Courthouse nest, check the health of the falcons and share information.
Last year, Conserve Wildlife began incorporating the County’s Falcon Cam into an educational program for students in grades 1 and up. More information on the curriculum is available from Conserve Wildlife at onservewildlifenj.org.
For more details about Union County’s Falcon Cam and a timeline of activity in the nest visit ucnj.org/falcon.
Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at ucnj.org/green-connection.
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