Peregrine Falcons Nesting in Delaware Water Gap Area

DINGMAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- After a 70-year absence, peregrine falcons have successfully nested this year in the Milford Cliffs area of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

According to park rangers, it appears the chicks were born late last month.

Pictures taken by members of the Delaware Water Gap National Park Service show a pair of three-week-old peregrine falcon chicks -- the offspring of falcons that successfully nested on the Milford Cliffs of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

"We were going to go tubing down the Delaware (River) today and apparently there are some falcons as well so we are going to keep an eye out for that as well," said camp counselor John Burke.

Park rangers discovered the nest in February.

In Pennsylvania, the peregrine falcon is endangered and the birds are protected under the Game and Wildlife Code.

National Park Service officials say these birds haven't been spotted in this area of the park since the 1940s.

Some hikers we spoke to say it's great that they're back.

"That is stunning, isn't it? It's always nice to see birds come back to natural areas. Up at our camp, we also have bald eagles nesting up there and it's just fantastic to see them in the wild," said camp counselor Michael Banting.

Not only is this successful hatch exciting for visitors, but it's also an educational tool for park rangers.

"They are now banded, so we will be able to monitor them and learn more about them as they move on, where they are going, and learn a bit more about the species," said Kathleen Sandt, National Park Service.

Biologists will continue to closely monitor the chicks over the next several weeks. The area of Milford Cliffs is still off-limits to hikers.

Officials say there are penalties and fines for people who don't obey the rules of the closure.

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