Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Line crew assists in osprey banding

Whenever ospreys use our distribution structures for their nests, our field crews often construct taller (and presumably better) alternative nesting structures for the birds nearby. This helps prevent the sticks that fall from osprey nests from causing electrical service interruption and reduces the risk of a bird being electrocuted. Ospreys currently use more than 25 platforms that we erected in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Recently, one of our line crews assisted an osprey banding on the Wolf River near Weyauwega, Wisconsin, as reported by the Appleton Post Crescent in this video:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Final falcon banding of season

Noel and Juneau are the last two falcons to be named and banded this season at our power plants. The chicks received names and wildlife bands Monday at the Port Washington Generating Station in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Noel is named after longtime employee Noel Cutright who died in November. Cutright was a senior terrestrial ecologist with our company for 29 years and led our efforts in reintroducing peregrines. He served as past president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and was the founder of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. Cutright never missed a banding at the Port Washington plant, which was not far from his home in Saukville.

Juneau was named by Parker Septon, daughter of Peregrine Manager Greg Septon. She recently learned about Alaska in school and named the falcon after the state’s capital city.

Other guests at Monday’s banding included Gene Schulz and Chuck Franzke, World War II veterans from the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight program. Schulz was drafted into the Army in 1943 and was awarded the Bronze Star medal for his service. He later wrote a book, “The Ghost in General Patton’s Third Army.” Franzke was a Navy pilot who flew a torpedo bomber during WWII. He shared memories about the difficulty of landing on an air carrier, relating it to the flight of a peregrine falcon swooping 200-miles an hour for prey.

Ozaukee Press story

Monday, June 16, 2014

Injured falcon takes flight

June 28, 2014 update: Madame X released to wild in Horicon.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story and video

June 16, 2014

When she was found shot in February, peregrine falcon Madame X was thought to be unlikely to ever fly again. She had several shotgun pellets lodged in her body and had a broken coracoid (collar bone), a devastating injury for a bird.

But Madame X is beating the odds. Her broken bone has healed, and she can fly. That is the latest update from the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which captured a video of the bird practicing on a flight tether (see below).

The We Energies Foundation donated $2,500 toward Madame X’s recovery because she has a special tie to We Energies. Before she was shot, she called the Milwaukee County Power Plant (MCPP) home. Last spring, she produced three young at the site – Abigail, Vita and Stella – in MCPP’s first successful peregrine nest.

Throughout her recovery, Madame X has continued to surprise the staff at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. First, they were impressed by her hearty appetite and feistiness. Now, they are fascinated by her flying ability. Her prognosis for release has been upgraded from “fair” to “good.”

Unfortunately, the news is not as good regarding the investigation of this case. No arrests have been made. Shooting a peregrine falcon is a serious crime, punishable by jail time and fines. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Madame X was found at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 in a yard outside the Cocktails and Dreams tavern at 55th and Grant streets in West Allis, Wisconsin. Anyone with information is asked to call West Allis Crime Stoppers at: 414-476-CASH (2274).

WTMJ-TV4 story

WRC video of Madame X flying practice:


Herman, Aurora and Bullet join We Energies falcon family

Herman, Aurora and Bullet are the latest falcons to be named and banded at one of our power plants.

Employees from the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan, brought their families to Saturday’s banding event and submitted names for the birds. They even named the chicks’ mom -- Maya Angelou. She had previously been referred to as *P/*S, her banding identification tag from her birth site in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Banding visitors also had the opportunity to see an adult peregrine up close. Phoenix, one of the first falcons produced at the Presque Isle Power Plant in 2012, came back for a cameo. Phoenix now lives at the Chocolay Raptor Center because she would not be able to survive in the wild; she lost an eye and was found near death before being saved by the center.

Our power plant falcon bandings are drawing to a close with the chicks at our Port Washington Power Plant the final hatchlings yet to be named and banded.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Three more peregrine falcons banded, named

Beasley, Kozmo and Mimi are the names of the peregrine falcon chicks recently hatched and banded at our Milwaukee County Power Plant.

Peregrine Manager Greg Septon banded the chicks this morning. Guests from the Schlitz Audubon and Riveredge nature centers were on hand to witness the banding and name the birds. We auctioned off VIP banding visits for both nature centers at fundraising events. Winning bidders donated money to the nature centers for the unique chance to witness a falcon banding in person. 

Justin Machata won his banding visit through Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. He helped Septon band a male falcon, which he named Beasley after the family’s dog. Todd Firer won his visit through Riveredge Nature Center and also named a falcon after a pet, Kozmo, the family’s deceased golden retriever. Employees at the power plant named the last chick of the group, Mimi, the lone female.

Beasley, Kozmo and Mimi can now be seen on our live falcon cam at www.we-energies.com/falcons.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Falcons named and banded in Pleasant Prairie

The newest members of the We Energies peregrine falcon family are Buddy, Shadow, Skittles and Rio.

The four chicks were named and banded this morning at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant. Fourth graders from Whittier Elementary School in Pleasant Prairie attended the banding and named the birds. The Kenosha News was on hand to cover the event.

Peregrine Manager Greg Septon is a busy guy this time of the year. He’s banding peregrines at more than 20 sites, including our falcons at six power plants. On some days, he’s doing two bandings a day. Earlier this week, he banded four chicks at our Oak Creek Power Plant. He’ll also band chicks at our Milwaukee County Power Plant this week.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Oak Creek falcons banded, named

Four peregrine falcons were named and banded today at our Oak Creek power plant site.

These are the first falcons to be banded this season. Their names are Franklin, Cliff, Hunter and Flash. The names were chosen by students from Country Dale Elementary School in Franklin who were on hand to see the banding.

We also will band chicks at our power plants in Pleasant Prairie, Wauwatosa, Port Washington and Marquette, Michigan.

You can view the falcons on our live streaming webcam.

Local media covered Monday’s banding in Oak Creek. Here are some links:

Oak Creek Now