Environmental Programs

Falcon Nesting on Virginia Bridges

FalconThrough placement of nesting boxes on bridges maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the endangered peregrine falcons - considered the world's fastest birds - fly high over Virginia's eastern seaboard.

VDOT has a role in falcon recovery because nesting pairs are attracted to bridges, which are similar to their normal nesting environment on cliff faces. 

VDOT first placed a falcon nesting box on the Coleman Bridge in the late 1980s. Additional boxes were placed as evidence of the falcon's presence on other bridges was found.

Bridge pairs now represent approximately 30 percent of the Virginia peregrine falcon population.

There were 23 known breeding pairs in Virginia during the 2010 breeding season.

The successful management of these birds represents a model of federal, state and university cooperation. 

Along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Conservation Center at the College of William and Mary, VDOT monitors the falcons on each bridge to ensure they and their habitat are doing well. 

VDOT has established falcon-specific contract requirements for bridge construction and maintenance as it continues to identify other nesting sites.

Bridges with falcon nesting boxes:

  • James River Bridge on Route 17

  • Berkley Bridge on Interstate 264 

  • West Norfolk Bridge on Route 164 over the western branch of the Elizabeth River

  • Mills Godwin Bridge on Route 17 over the Nansemond River

  • I-64 High-rise Bridge (George Treakle Memorial Bridge) over the southern branch of the Elizabeth River

  • Coleman Bridge on Route 17 crossing the York River

  • Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel on Interstate 64 over and under the Chesapeake Bay

  • Benjamin Harrison Bridge on Route 156 over the James River 

  • Varina-Enon Bridge on Interstate 295 over the James River

  • Norris Bridge on Route 3 over the Rappahannock River


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Page last modified: Oct. 14, 2012