For the birds: Can you name falcon chicks nesting on Cuomo Bridge?


An April 22, 2024, image from the New York State Falcon Cam on the Mario Cuomo Bridge. Copyright NYSTA

A naming contest for the peregrine falcon chicks at the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is open to  third- to sixth-graders across Rockland and Westchester counties who can submit names until Wednesday, May 10. 

The public will vote on the finalists in a weeklong poll on the bridge’s website to select the winners.

The naming contest is a partnership between the New York State Thruway Authority and Veolia,  a water supplier in the two counties. 

“Over the years, young students have set a high bar by coming up with incredibly creative names, including Cardi Beak, Luke Flywalker, and Talon Zee,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said. "Watching the endangered birds on our Falcon Cam has been a wonderful way for teachers and students to connect with nature over the past decade.”

Veolia Vice President and General Manager of New York Operations Chris Graziano called the contest "a fun way to get elementary-school students talking about the importance of healthy ecosystems and their role in sustaining biodiversity. Access to water is a critical factor in defining the preferred habitat of many species–like these endangered peregrine falcons."

The Thruway Authority last held the naming contest for the peregrine falcons in 2021. Dozens of names were submitted by local students for the three peregrine falcons born that year.

A pair of peregrine falcons call a nest box atop a bridge tower—some 400 feet above the Hudson River—their seasonal home. The female falcon laid her first egg in mid-March. Three more eggs followed within the week. There is currently one chick in the nest box. If the other three eggs are viable, they should hatch soon. Unfortunately, last year’s clutch of eggs did not hatch.

 Teachers and students this year also can submit a poster or short video explaining the reason behind their submission.

The contest deadline is May 10. A panel of judges will then review the entries and select the top 10 finalists for the public online poll, which will go live on the bridge’s website on Wednesday, May 15. Voting will be open for a week, closing on Wednesday, May 22.

The winning names will be announced before Memorial Day weekend.

The bridge will be lit in the colors of the winning school(s) in June and the winning classroom(s) will be invited to a special presentation featuring a certified falconer. 

Nest boxes have supported New York’s falcon population in recent decades, providing shelter and high vantage points from which the peregrines can search for food. Scores of birds hatched at the Tappan Zee Bridge over the decades before it was replaced by the new bridge.

Those interested can watch the falcons in their nest box on the bridge’s Falcon Cam before they leave their current home. As the nestlings age, they are left alone for longer periods of time to learn how to hunt and survive on their own until they depart the nest after approximately 40 days. 

When young falcons mature, they often migrate great distances to establish nests and raise their own family. Peregrines primarily hunt other birds, such as pigeons and ducks, and can exceed 200 mph during their dives.

For information and to view the webcam, visit

Robert Brum is a freelance journalist who writes about the Hudson Valley. Visit to read his work.

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