Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C.

City Hall Peregrine Falcons

The Terrace offers a birds-eye view of the City Hall peregrine falcons. Throughout the year, the adult peregrines can be seen from the Terrace, hanging on the top of the Ritz Towers, the balcony of the Ritz Hotel as well as a favorite spot on the top of the landmark PNB sign. On special occasions, the falcons can be seen on the walls of the Terrace itself, and they have been known to buzz just above the Terrace space. The peregrine falcon is the fastest of all birds, achieving speeds of up to 200 MPH, and Terrace visitors are often treated to high-speed dives off their perches, generally in pursuit of an overmatched pigeon.

In the spring, the adult peregrines mate and the female peregrine lays its eggs in a man-made nest attached to the south face of City Hall. The Terrace offers the closest view of the falcon chicks as they hatch and then learn to stand, walk, jump and finally fly.

The highlight of the falcon season, without doubt, is the banding of the falcon chicks in mid-May. The chicks are brought inside City Hall through a window next to the nest, where they are inspected for disease and parasites and then banded for future identification. During the past year, FKB's Don Perelman has participated in the banding of the peregrine falcon chicks at City Hall (along with Allyson Katzman) and at the St. John the Baptist Church steeple in Manayunk.

Through the spring and summer, the adult peregrines teach their chicks to fly and, just as important, to land. It's an amazing sight to watch an adult peregrine and its chicks flying in formation in the skies around City Hall. In August, the chicks leave their parents to find their own homes. In the past, falcon chicks from the City Hall peregrines have been tracked to Long Island, NY, Baltimore, MD and the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Click here for pictures of the City Hall peregrine falcons and their chicks.