Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 16, 2023

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New Peregrine Falcon Nest Found in Stony Brook State Park

For the first time on record Peregrine Falcons are nesting in the gorge of Stony Brook State Park. The birds were first noticed by Park Manager James Jeffery while he was checking trail conditions earlier this spring. 

"I first heard the ‘kack-kack-kack' sound the falcons make and then was able to get a picture that was later identified as a Peregrine Falcon," Jeffery said. "Stony Brook State Park is home to a multitude of wildlife, but this seems a little extra special since it is the first time we have known Peregrine Falcons have nested in our gorge." 

Once the initial observations of the falcons were made, members of the Finger Lake State Park Region's Environmental Field Team joined staff from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in an effort to locate a nest. This was particularly important timing since the pair's presence coincided with Peregrine Falcon breeding season. After an extensive visual search of the park's gorge walls, an adult Peregrine Falcon was observed sitting on a rock ledge nest nearly 200 feet high. 

Peregrine Falcons are superb aerial hunters that can famously dive at speeds of over 200 mph in pursuit of their avian prey. The species is listed as endangered in New York State, though state populations seem to be slowly on the rise. Many of the Peregrine Falcon nests in New York are located on human-made structures such as bridges and tall buildings.

Park environmental education staff plan to be onsite to provide the public an opportunity to observe the nest at a safe distance and give more information about the birds through the end of their nesting season.

There is another naturally occurring cliff-nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons in Finger Lakes Region Parks at Taughannock Falls State Park. This mating pair has been coming back to Taughannock Falls for the past three years after returning to a historic nesting site in 2020 where Peregrine Falcons had not been seen since 1946. The juvenile Peregrines (or eyases) at Taughannock Falls have just fledged. A walk on the Gorge Trail or a visit to the Falls Overlook will provide a spectacular display of four juvenile and two adult Peregrines.