Taylor Swoop? Vote to Name Those Bridge Falcons

These four peregrine falcon chicks recently hatched in a nest box atop the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Photo: New York State Thruway Authority

Online voting has started to name the four peregrine falcon chicks that recently hatched in a nest box atop the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge 

Third- to sixth-graders across Rockland and Westchester counties submitted more than 100 names as part of an expanded falcon naming contest conducted in partnership between the New York State Thruway Authority and Veolia. 

A panel of judges then selected 10 finalists. Votes can be cast on the bridge’s website starting Wednesday, May 15, until 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 22. 

Select your favorite from these names: 

  • Amelia Birdelia 
  • Beakonce 
  • Brooklyn 
  • Coco Puff 
  • Empire 
  • Estrella 
  • Freedom 
  • Jet 
  • Millenium Falcon 
  • Taylor Swoop 

The four winning names will be revealed on the Cuomo Bridge and Thruway Authority social media accounts on Thursday, May 23. 

A representative of the state Department of Environmental Conservation banded the falcon siblings this past Monday. Three of the four chicks are female. The four chicks are expected to fledge, or leave, the nest box in the next several weeks. 

In mid-April, Veolia and the Authority solicited names from elementary school students across Rockland and Westchester. At the time, there were four eggs in the bridge’s nest box located some 400 feet above the Hudson River. Three eggs hatched on Earth Day, April 22, and the last falcon was born two days later on April 24. 

With the arrival of the falcon chicks, interest grew in the contest. Area students submitted more than 100 names, some referencing pop culture, local history, regional heritage, area landmarks and locations, the Hudson River, and the bridge itself. 

Judges from the Thruway Authority, Veolia, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Rockland BOCES then took on the challenging task of selecting the top 10. 

The judges included: 

  • New York State Thruway Authority Chief of Staff Nicole Leblond 
  • Veolia Vice President of Communications Steve Goudsmith 
  • United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel 
  • Rockland BOCES Director of Communications and Governmental Relations Scott Salotto 

In addition to seeing the bridge lit in their school colors, each winning class will meet with a certified falconer. 

Those interested can watch the bridge 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. 

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. In fact, scores of birds hatched at the Tappan Zee Bridge over the decades before it was replaced by the new bridge. 


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About the Author: Robert Brum