Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All 6 power plant nest boxes have peregrine falcon eggs

Recently laid egg at our Presque Isle Power Plant.
The final nest box without an egg, now has one.  

The resident female at our Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan, laid her first egg this morning. 

Eggs also are present at five other power plants – Pleasant Prairie, Port Washington, Oak Creek, Valley and Milwaukee County. If a full clutch is achieved at each site, we could see a total 24 chicks born this spring.

Learn more about our peregrine falcons and view hourly snapshots on our website:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nesting season update

Peregrine Manager Greg Septon reports that nesting season is fully underway with eggs at four of six of our nest sites, and eggs are likely to follow soon at the remaining two sites. The data below provides a brief overview of the sites with eggs and additional info pertaining to observations at the Milwaukee County Power plant this winter and spring. And finally, there is some recent news about another We Energies produced peregrine nesting in Madison.

Pleasant Prairie Power Plant

PBR sharing incubation.
Adult female: Olivia (b/r) 00/Y, produced in 2010 at the Chase Bank, in Allen County, Ohio. Olivia nested at the Kenosha Medical Center site between 2011-2014. This is her first year at Pleasant Prairie.

Adult male: PBR (b/r) 07/B, produced at Milwaukee’s Miller Brewery nest site in 2009. This is PBR’s fourth year at this site.

Eggs: 4 laid between March 26 – April 1
Projected hatch dates: May 2 – 4


Oak Creek Power Plant

Scott sharing incubation.
Adult female: Eclipse (b/r) 67/H, a 2009 falcon produced at the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus, Ohio. This is her fifth year here.

Adult male: Scott (b/g) M/Y, here for his 10th year, was produced in 2000 at the Malteurop complex (formerly Froedtert Malt complex) in West Milwaukee.

Eggs: 4 laid between March 27 – April 3
Projected hatch dates: May 4 – 6


Valley Power Plant

Unbanded female incubating 
her clutch of four eggs.

Adult female: Unbanded – her first year here.

Adult male: Hercules (b/r) 60/R, produced in 2011 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee  – back for his second year.

Eggs: 4 laid between March 27 – April 3
Projected hatch dates: May 4 – 6


Port Washington Generating Station

Adult female: Brinn (b/r) 84/X, produced in 2012 at Gold Hoist cliff, Split Rock State Park, Lake County, Minnesota. This is her second year at this site.

Adult male: Ives (b/g) 78/N, produced in 2004 at the Edgewater Generating Station site in Sheboygan. He has likely been present since 2007, when first identified at this site.

Eggs: 4 laid between March 28 – April 4
Projected hatch dates: May 5 – 7
  

Presque Isle Power Plant

Adult female: (b/g) *P/*S, produced in 2008 at the Grand Haven L and P Sims Plant in Grand Haven, Michigan, is back for her fifth year.

Adult male: Unbanded

Female (b/g) *P/*S was joined by an unbanded adult male on March 29. A large scrape has been made in the rear corner of the nest box where the pair nested last year, but no eggs have been laid yet.Milwaukee County Power Plant’s (MCPP) nest site has seen a lot of peregrine activity over the past couple months. At least five different males have been there since Feb. 8.

Milwaukee County Power Plant 
Winter/spring observations

Asa (b/r) 17/M at MCPP nest box.
On March 12, female (b/r) 33/U, produced in 2012 at the Eastlake Power Plant nest site in Eastlake, Ohio, returned to the MCPP site after spending time between there and the UW-Milwaukee EMS (UWM) site over the winter. 33/U, who nested at MCPP last year, was likely driven back to MCPP after the unbanded female at UWM returned from migration and drove her away.

On March 20, Herbert (b/g) 80/N, who was produced at our Valley Power Plant in 2004, turned up at the MCPP site and began courting (b/r) 33/U.

During the week of April 1, Herbert defended the MCPP site against another adult male identified as Asa (b/r) 17/M, who was produced in 2013 at Milwaukee’s UWM site. Herbert courted 33/U and defended the MCPP site for over two weeks. But by April 4, it began to look as if Asa had taken control of the MCPP site and Herbert had moved on.

Herbert nested at Milwaukee's Miller Brewery nest site between 2006-2010 and at Milwaukee’s St. Joe's Hospital nest site from 2011-2014. Over the past month, Herbert was identified at the Miller Brewery, MCPP and St. Joe's nest sites, so he’s been making the rounds.

Herbert may now be back at St. Joe’s with his mate DJ (b/r) 54/E, who was produced in 2010 at the Edgewater Generating Station nest site in Sheboygan and currently is incubating four eggs.

As noted in the March 5 blog entry, male Suzuki (b/g) E/06, produced in 2006 at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant nest site, was identified at the MCPP site on Feb. 8, and he subsequently spent a few weeks there courting 33/U.

Interestingly, Suzuki, who has been nesting at the Jefferson nest site since at least 2009, was identified there again on April 1 with female Smokey (b/g) 82/A, who was produced in 2003 at the Edgewater Generating Station nest site in Sheboygan. This is the same female Suzuki nested with at the Jefferson site since 2009. The distance between the MCPP and Jefferson sites is approximately 40 miles.

Based on similar observation over the past few winters, it’s beginning to appear that peregrines overwintering in Wisconsin move around a fair bit. Peregrines appear to come into cities from near-urban sites maybe for better prey availability but also to hang out with other peregrines. And some of these peregrines also may come into the cities or visit other sites because they have mates that migrate and who are not present during the winter. This winter, two females appear to have traveled to other sites where males were present who courted them and provided prey. At sites where females joined resident males during the winter, their stays always ended abruptly when resident females returned from wherever it is they overwintered and ran them off. 

Recent news about peregrines produced at our nest boxes
 At MG&E’s nest site in Madison, a new male displaced Verne (b/g) E/42. Verne was produced in 2007 at Oak Creek Power Plant and nested at the MG&E site from 2010-2014. The new male at the MG&E site this year is Melvin (b/r) 80/P, who was produced at the Oak Creek site in 2013. Melvin and his unbanded mate are incubating four eggs, due to hatch between May 5 – 7.

Visit our webcams

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Falcon eggs present at 4 sites

Peregrine falcon eggs at Pleasant
Prairie Power Plant's nest box.
Peregrine falcon nesting season is in full swing with eggs now present at four of our nest boxes. This picture was taken this morning at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant.

Three eggs have been laid at the Pleasant Prairie nest box over the past few days with a fourth still expected, which would achieve a full clutch.

Eggs also are present at our Oak Creek, Valley (Milwaukee) and Port Washington power plants. The incubation period lasts approximately 30 days. Once the eggs start hatching, you’ll again be able to follow the action via our live webcam at we-energies.com/falcons.

An adult falcon protecting an egg at Valley Power Plant.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

First peregrine egg of season

A sure sign of spring is the first peregrine falcon egg of the season, which has appeared at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant.

Peregrine Manager Greg Septon captured this shot through the site’s nest box camera. He’s hoping for three more eggs at Pleasant Prairie over the next couple days. Septon has spotted eggs at four other nesting sites in the state, but this is the first at a We Energies facility. We’re anticipating eggs at five other power plants as well.

The resident adults at Pleasant Prairie are believed to be Olivia, who is new to the site, and PBR, who has been at the site for four years. Four chicks hatched at the site last year – Buddy, Shadow, Rio and Skittles. They were named by a class of fourth-grader students from Whittier Elementary School in Pleasant Prairie, who visited the power plant on a field trip to see the birds get their wildlife bands.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Falcon arrives at Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette

An adult female peregrine was perched in front of her nest box yesterday at Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan, and was identified as (b/g) *P/*S, produced in 2008 at the Grand Haven L. and P. Sims Plant in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is back for her fifth year.

Last year, she was first sighted at the plant on March 6. In prior years, an adult male was on site around the third week of February but thus far, no male has been seen here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Early spring nesting report

Over the past five weeks or so, Peregrine Manager Greg Septon has been watching the nest box webcams nearly every day and is getting an idea of where we’re headed for the 2015 nesting season.

“As expected, a number of peregrines overwintered again, and several are at the same sites where they have nested for many years,” says Septon. “But it also appears that we’ll also see some new falcons this year as they replace peregrines that have been lost.”

The first two weeks of March always bring an increase of activity at nest sites as peregrines return from migration, vie for territory and begin egg laying, according to Septon. With temperatures expected to rise to the mid- to upper 40s next week, falcon nesting activity should increase as well.

Following are condensed notes from webcam observations at our power plant nest sites since late January:

Olivia (b/r) 00/Y at PPPP nest box.
Pleasant Prairie Power Plant
Adult male PBR (b/r) 07/B, who has nested here since 2012, has likely been present all winter again. His bands were read Jan. 26. Also identified was adult female Olivia (b/r) 00/Y on that same date, and both have been observed regularly since then. Olivia nests at the Kenosha Hospital but spends parts of her winters at the PPPP site. She usually leaves and returns to the hospital site as soon as the resident female Thilmany (b/g) 44/N returns and chases her off. Last year, Thilmany returned on March 8, but there has been no sign of her yet, so it is not known if she survived the winter. Not known which falcon may end up nesting at PPPP this year. The first egg was laid at this site last year was on April 4.

Oak Creek Power Plant
Adult male Scott (b/g) M/Y was first observed Feb. 2 and seems to come and go. If he nests here this year, this will be Scott’s tenth year at OCPP. He'll also be 15 this year, making him the oldest known nesting male in Wisconsin. No female has been seen at this site yet, so it is unknown whether or not female Eclipse (b/r) 67/H, who nested at OCPP from 2011-2014, is still alive or whether she will be returning from wherever it is she may have overwintered. On March 4, a juvenile female peregrine, Rosalee (b/r) C/94, produced in 2014 at the MG&E nest site in Madison, was identified. Last year, the first egg here was laid on April 2.

Unbanded adult female at VAPP.
Valley Power Plant
An unbanded adult female peregrine was seen on Jan. 26, and she has been present on and off ever since. An unbanded adult female also has been seen at the nearby Veolia Water Milwaukee site and may be the same falcon seen at VAPP because the two sites are close to each other. An adult male that appears to have a b/r band also has been seen but not yet identified. The male here last year was Hercules (b/r) 60/H, and he might be back. This site failed last year as there was a turnover of adult females just before the eggs were due to hatch.

Suzuki (b/g) E/06 -- no federal band.
Milwaukee County Power Plant
Adult female (b/r) 33/U, who nested at MCPP last year, was identified Jan. 31. She also has been regularly observed at the UW-Milwaukee nest site throughout the winter, so she has been traveling between these two sites. On Feb. 8, Suzuki (b/g) E/06 was identified. Interestingly, Suzuki was identified at the MG&E nest site in Madison in 2010 and was missing his federal band (see image). Suzuki did not nest at MG&E that year.

(b/r) 33/U at MCPP nest box.
Between 2009-2011, the adult male at the Jefferson nest site (about 30 miles E/SE from the MG&E site) could not be identified. However, the adult male was banded b/g and clearly was missing a federal band in 2011. The Jefferson nest site failed (raccoon predation) in 2012 and 2013, and no band information was obtained. In 2014, one young produced at the Jefferson site was lost, and the adult male was not identified.

Although there is no way of knowing for sure, the adult male at the Jefferson site between 2009 - 2014 may have been Suzuki. If a site fails, the adult(s) sometimes moves on in search of greener pastures. Though uncertain, Suzuki may be trying a new site this year after three consecutive lost nests at Jefferson. Whatever the case, Suzuki has been present at MCPP regularly and bringing in prey for (b/r) 33/U, so it’s beginning to look like this pair may nest this year. The first egg was laid at this site last year on April 9.

Wildcat (b/r) 71/P at new PWGS nest box.
Port Washington Generation Station
This year, things have been very slow. So far, only one peregrine was seen perched in front of the new nest box. Wildcat, a male produced at Valley Power Plant in 2013, was identified Feb. 9. Last year, Ives (b/g) 78/N nested at the site and has nested at PWGS since 2007. Ives was first identified last year on March 20, so its anyone’s guess as to how things will proceed here this season as far as males go. The other unknown is whether or not female Brinn (b/r) 84/X, who nested here last year, will return. If she migrated this winter, she may be on her way back north, and if this is the case, she may be seen soon. The first egg was laid here on April 11 last year.

Presque Isle Power Plant, Marquette, Michigan
No peregrines have been seen so far this year. Last year, a male was first observed on Feb. 22, and an adult pair was present on March 6. If the unbanded adult male that nested here in previous years is gone, it may take some time for a new male to claim this territory. And if (b/g) P/Z, the female that has nested here since 2011 returns, she may have to attract a new male, which means that if a successful nest is made here this year, it will likely occur later in the nesting season. The first egg was laid here on April 14 last year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Falcon activity picking up

We are in the dead of winter, but falcons at our power plant nest boxes already are thinking spring. 

Activity is picking up at several of our sites as adult peregrines unite with their mates for the nesting season. Peregrine Manager Greg Septon is keeping tabs on all the activity through our nest box webcams. 

This picture was captured at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant. Last spring, falcons began laying eggs at our power plants in early April. As soon as nesting activity is in full swing, we’ll once again launch a live video stream so you can follow the activity online. Until then, hourly snapshots are available on our website.