Falcons see resurgence over preservation acreage of landfill

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TAYLOR, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Biodiversity is coming back to an area once used as a landfill.

Part of the Alliance Landfill in Taylor and Ransom Township, has been set aside for wildlife preservation. Several years ago, homes for American kestrels were places in the 400 acres to help grow the bird population which has been on the decline.

On Tuesday, five baby falcons were found on the land, making a total of ten kestrels found in the last week. The Pennsylvania Game Commission banded each of them.

“American kestrels are the smallest falcon in North America and we band them every year to keep track of the population,” PA Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Biologist Richard Fritsky said.

Kestrels live in open field environments, making the capped areas of the landfill a perfect home. In 2019 four acres were capped and more were being prepared on Tuesday.

“Once a landfill is at its end life it becomes and open grass land field and we want to give back in another way and the way we do that is habitat wildlife programs,” Waste Management Senior Community Relations Specialist Adrienne Fors said.

Waste Management officials say the habitat is evolving every day.

“From monitoring the bird boxes to putting up mallard roosts and other projects here on site and even the pollinator garden, seeing the butterfly come back, because they are just as important,” Fors said.

Banding the kestrels brought out Taylor resident Ed Fortuna who says Waste Management is preserving the land well.

“You can see with the trees starting to grow now and grass is coming up, it’s not an open face like where they currently dump. So yes, it’s blending back in with the local environment,” Fortuna said.

The remaining 300 acres of the 700 acre property will be used as a landfill for about 45 years.

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