Falcon returns to the Lehigh Valley

April 8, 2008 4:05:32 PM PDT
A peregrine falcon has perched itself atop the PPL building in Allentown. This bird is on lookout, protecting its mate who is sitting on three precious eggs. Scanning the PPL building from outside you wouldn't know what's in store at the top. In a restricted, dark, quiet room, three small peep holes look out to a precious piece of property.

Jeff Luzenski, PPL Sr. environmental official says, "I come up from the 17th floor to check on things... lunchtime and before the end of the day I check again."

With three eggs safely warm under mom, this looks to be the first peregrine falcon family hatched in the Lehigh Valley. The peregrine falcon nearly perished between 1950 and 1970 because of the harmful pesticide DDT.

Luzenski says, "The DDT wasn't enough to kill the peregrines, but interrupted the development of the eggs... the eggshells got very thin."

PPL now has 4 sites that safely nest these birds. "We've been working on the recovery since the early '90s, but the last 2 years have seem to take off."

Despite that the peregrines are very smart and the fastest animals on the planet, clocking 200 miles an hour, they still need our help.

"Being able to provide them with secure nest sites is a critical part right now." And that's important to Jeff. "It's one more place that will produce young peregrines to help restore the population in Pennsylvania."

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission there are 24 nests statewide. The mother of the PPL building nest will sit on her eggs for roughly 33 days, which means her eggs could hatch on May 11th ... which happens to be Mother's Day.


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