Meet Luke Flywalker, Talon Zee, and Jimmy Falcon.
Science fiction, history, and celebrity were the inspirations behind this year’s winning names for the three peregrine falcons born on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge earlier this spring. They were the top vote-getters in this year’s falcon naming contest and respectively paid tribute to Star Wars, the Tappan Zee Bridge, and comedian Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show.
Nearly 1,000 visitors to the bridge’s bike/walking path voted during the past two weekends. They picked their three favorite names culled from 50 submitted by local elementary and middle school students.
The New York State Thruway Authority will send certificates of recognition to the winning classes at Cottage Lane Elementary School (South Orangetown Central School District), F.E. Bellows Elementary School (Rye Neck), and Lincoln Avenue Elementary School (Pearl River).
A wildlife specialist from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection recently visited the tower nest box, some 400 feet above the Hudson River, to check on the chicks—two females and one male—and attach a tracking band to their legs.
As avid viewers of the bridge’s FalconCam have likely noticed, one of the youngsters has already fledged, or taken flight. They typically depart the nest after approximately 40 days and the remaining pair are expected to leave shortly. Also, the young falcons white “baby” feathers have been replaced with their adult feathers, which are shades of brown.
When young falcons mature, they often migrate great distances to establish nests and raise their own family.
The Authority thanks all of those who took part in this year’s naming contest.
Falcon fans can keep an eye on the birds via the bridge’s FalconCam, which features still images and a live video feed.
Please note that the FalconCam provides an unfiltered window on the day-to-day lives of these fascinating birds of prey. At any given moment, you may see the adult falcons eating, feeding their young, defending their nest and more. These are wild birds and their behaviors reflect what really happens in nature. Some of their actions may be unpleasant to watch and it is possible that some of the fledglings may not survive into adulthood.