May 2, 2018
For the first time in a decade, a pair of peregrine falcons is nesting on the top of PPL’s iconic 23-story headquarters in downtown Allentown.
A duo set up house in a nesting box atop PPL’s tower building in 2007 and 2008, with no hatchlings in 2007, but four in 2008. Those young birds were banded for potential future tracking and study.
No falcons nested on top of the PPL building after that, but they did subsequently nest at other places in Allentown, first at the 8th Street Bridge, then the Tilghman Street Bridge.
“We’re thrilled these magnificent raptors returned to our building. They’re amazing creatures,” said Jeff Luzenski, a senior environmental professional with PPL Electric Utilities. A camera installed several years ago to monitor the nest box, is operational and a live feed can be viewed at pplelectric.com/environment.
PPL has had a long-standing involvement with efforts to restore the peregrine falcon population in Pennsylvania. In 1995, the company began its support of the Lehigh Valley Peregrine Project, a community effort lead by Luzenski, to release young peregrine falcons from the top of the 322-foot building in the hopes that the falcons would come back to the area. In the wild, falcons nest on high cliffs. In urban settings, tall buildings make a suitable alternative.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, an adult peregrine can reach a speed of more than 200 miles per hour in a vertical dive and averages about 60 miles per hour in level flight. Peregrine falcons feed on other birds, usually by striking them in flight. Their prey includes pigeons, blue jays, and other mid-sized song birds.
Peregrines aren’t the only raptors getting help from PPL. The company has a long history of supporting ospreys and bald eagles that continues today. Over the past two years, PPL has assisted in putting up about an additional half dozen osprey nesting platforms at various locations in its service territory. It partners with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and others, on those projects. Unlike peregrine falcons, ospreys feed almost exclusively on fish and nest near water.
PPL Electric Utilities provides electric delivery service to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and ranks among the best utility companies in the country for customer service and reliability. PPL Electric Utilities is a major employer in the communities it serves. It is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL). For more information visit www.pplelectric.com.