Monday, April 14, 2014

Nesting season update

By Greg Septon, peregrine falcon manager

Pleasant Prairie Power Plant
Pleasant Prairie peregrines in 
courtship display on March 16.

Adult female: Thilmany (b/g) 44/N, here for her sixth year, was produced in 2007 at Thilmany Mill, Kaukauna, Wis.
Adult male: PBR (b/r) 07/B was produced at Milwaukee’s Miller Brewery nest site in 2009. This is PBR’s third year at this site.

Eggs: 3 laid by April 14
Projected hatch dates: May 13– 15

Note: An unbanded, adult, tawny-colored female peregrine was present at this site all winter but was last observed March 17.

Oak Creek Power Plant
Eclipse perched in front of her nest
box on March 13. 

Adult female: Eclipse (b/r) 67/H was produced in 2009 at the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus, Ohio. This is her fourth year at this site.
Adult male: Scott (b/g) M/Y, here for his ninth year, was produced in 2000 at the Malteurop complex (formerly Froedtert Malt complex) in West Milwaukee, Wis.

Eggs: 4 laid between April 2 – 9
Projected hatch dates: May 9 – 11

Note: Matt (b/r) 38/N, a male produced in 2012 at the Midwest Generation site in Waukegan, Ill., was at the nest box on March 8 but driven off. On March 10, April (b/r) 66/X, a female produced in 2012 in Chicago, was found grounded, photographed by Eric Adsen and eventually left the site.

Port Washington Generating Station
Brinn's color band.

Adult female: Brinn (b/r) 84/X was produced in 2012 at Gold Hoist cliff at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, which is located over 300 miles from the Port Washington site.
Adult male: Ives (b/g) 78/N was produced in 2004 at the Edgewater Generating Station site in Sheboygan, Wis., likely present since 2007 when he was first identified at this site.

Eggs: 2 as of April 14
Projected hatch dates: To be determined

Note: Brinn replaces Indy Froona (b/g) *V/*Y, produced in 2009 at the Market Tower nest site in Indianapolis, Ind., and nested at Port Washington since 2010.

Valley Power Plant

Adult female: Not yet identified
Adult male: Not yet identified

Eggs: 4 laid between March 30 – April 9
Projected hatch dates: May 7 – 9

Note: The new adult male here replaces Swede (b/g) P/Z, which was produced in 1999 at the Pulliam site in Green Bay, Wis., and had nested at VAPP since at least 2005. Swede was found dead of unknown causes in West Milwaukee, Wis., on Jan. 31, 2014.

Milwaukee County Power Plant

Lightning on nest box deck
Concern is sometimes expressed 
about construction near nest 
boxes during nesting. As long as 
construction is below and comes 
on gradually, with no direct work 
on the roof near nest box, falcons 
adapt well.
Adult female: (b/r) 33/U was produced in 2012 at the Eastlake Power Plant in Eastlake, Ohio. This is her first year at Milwaukee County.
Adult male: Lightning (b/r) 84/R was produced in 2012 at Oak Creek Power Plant. This is his first year at Milwaukee County.

Eggs: 3 by April 14
Projected hatch dates: May 16 – 18

Note: (b/r) 33/U had been identified a number of times at the UW-Milwaukee nest site over the winter. She disappeared from the UWM site on Feb. 22 after a battle ensued in the nest box – likely between 33/U and the unbanded adult female that returned as she has each spring and is believed to have nested there since 2009.

Presque Isle Power Plant
Plant Manager Mike Boyer captured
this image on April 14 after first egg
was laid. Weather forecast today:
4 to 8 inches of snow!

Adult female: (b/g) *P/*S was produced in 2008 at Grand Haven L. and P., Sims Plant, Grand Haven, Mich., and is back for her fourth year.
Adult male: Unbanded – likely the same male present since 2011.

Eggs: First egg laid April 14


News about We Energies produced peregrines elsewhere

Wisconsin

On March 1, I read the color band of an adult male peregrine via the webcam at the Racine County Courthouse nest box. The male here is once again Beaster (b/g) 67/M. Beaster was produced in 2005 at Pleasant Prairie Power Plant and is back at Racine for his seventh year. Beaster is paired with (b/g) R/13 from Indiana, back for her sixth year. Their four eggs should hatch between May 5 – 7.

On March 31, I identified adult male Herbert (b/g) 80/N at the St. Joe’s Hospital nest site in Milwaukee. Herbert was produced at Valley Power Plant in 2004. This is his fourth year at St. Joe’s where he is once again paired with DJ (b/r) 54/E, which was produced in 2010 at the Sheboygan Edgewater site. The pair is incubating four eggs due to hatch between May 2 – 4.

Illinois

Squawker (b/g) 48/M is a male produced in 2003 at Pleasant Prairie Power Plant, nesting for his eighth year at the Evanston Public Library site in Evanston, Ill. He is paired with Nona (b/g) 64/D, which was produced in 2004 at the Firstar Bank site in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The pair is incubating three eggs.

It’s still early. As the nesting season progresses and more adults are identified, there likely will be additional news about We Energies produced peregrines.

© Greg Septon 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Falcon that was shot continues to recover

The peregrine falcon that nested at our Milwaukee County Power Plant continues to recover at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Madame X was found badly injured on Feb. 27. X-rays revealed she had been shot and also suffered a broken coracoid (collar bone).

Experts at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center have been giving Madame X around-the-clock care and her prognosis continues to improve. They tell us she’s “eating like a horse.” They also say follow-up X-rays reveal good bone growth at the fracture site. She is by no means fully healed, but she may soon be ready for a test flight.

Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for leads in this case. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. Peregrine falcons are listed as an endangered species in Wisconsin. Shooting one is a serious crime, punishable by jail time and fines.

Madame X was found at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 outside the Cocktails and Dreams tavern at 55th and Grant in West Allis. If you have any information, you’re asked to call West Allis Crime Stoppers at: 414-476-CASH (2274). Callers may request confidentiality.

For more information on our peregrine falcon recovery effort, visit our website. Nesting currently is underway at six of our power plant sites.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Owlet rescued by Asplundh crews

It wasn’t your average day on the job, but Asplundh crews proved once again they’re up for a challenge. When the Wildlife in Need animal rehabilitation center called for help, Asplundh crews responded.

The center had been caring for an owlet that had fallen from a nest in Muskego and wanted to reunite the young bird with its family but needed help.

Asplundh crews made a quick stop during their daily routine and had the youngster back in its nest in no time. They also outfitted the nest with some reinforcements, placing it inside a more secure basket in hopes of helping prevent another treetop tumble.

It’s not the first time Asplundh crews have come to the rescue. In January 2012, they went above and beyond when they saved a woman who had been in a car accident. The woman had driven off the road into a pond. With her car filling with water, the Asplundh workers pulled her to safety.

We thank our Asplundh crews for rising to the challenge, no matter what it is.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

More falcon eggs laid at our power plants

Two eggs have been laid at Valley Power Plant.
The peregrine falcons nesting at our power plants are laying more eggs as the nesting season gets underway. A second egg has been laid at our Valley Power Plant, and a first egg has appeared at Oak Creek Power Plant. 

We expect to have eggs soon at our other four sites. As soon as nesting activity is in full swing, we will launch a live video stream. Until then, hourly snapshots are available on our website.

The first egg has appeared at our Oak Creek nest box. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

First falcon egg of season laid at Valley Power Plant

Brewers opening day isn’t the only sign of spring; we have our first peregrine falcon egg of the season. The web camera inside the nest box at our Valley Power Plant captured the image at right. 

This is especially good news after the resident adult male from this site, Swede, was found dead over the winter. Swede was 15 years old and had been a mainstay at Valley Power Plant for several nesting seasons. With his loss, there was concern this nest site would be in jeopardy. But it appears the resident female, Maya, may have found a new mate. Or, this could be a new pair altogether. Peregrine Manager Greg Septon will be keeping a close eye on this site to get both adults’ band numbers.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting for eggs to appear at our five other nest box sites -- Oak Creek, Pleasant Prairie, Wauwatosa, Port Washington and Marquette, Mich. As soon as nesting activity is in full swing, we’ll again be launching our live video stream at www.we-energies.com/falcons. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tips still being sought in shooting of endangered peregrine falcon

Authorities are searching for more leads in the shooting of Madame X, a peregrine falcon that nested at our Milwaukee County Power Plant. Madame X was found badly injured on Feb. 27 and taken to the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (WRC). X-rays revealed she had several shotgun pellets lodged in her body and also suffered a broken coracoid (collar bone).

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. The Humane Society of the United States and the Global Conservation Group each offered $5,000. 

Since the reward was announced, authorities have received tips but not enough to make an arrest. If you have any information, you’re asked to call West Allis Crime Stoppers at: 414-476-CASH (2274). Callers may request confidentiality.

Madame X was found at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 in a yard outside the Cocktails and Dreams tavern at 55th and Grant in West Allis. Madame X has been receiving around the clock care at the WRC. The We Energies Foundation contributed $2,500 to her recovery. Caregivers at the WRC remain impressed with Madame X’s progress. Her injuries may prevent her from flying again, but if she cannot be released in the wild, we’re optimistic she can still live a long and healthy live educating others about the importance of protecting peregrine falcons.

Peregrine falcons are listed as an endangered species in Wisconsin. They also are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act. Shooting a peregrine falcon is a serious crime, punishable by jail time and fines.

We Energies has been involved in Wisconsin’s peregrine falcon recovery effort since the early 1990s. We sponsored the release of captive-produced peregrines and then installed nest boxes at six power plant sites. To date, nearly 200 peregrines have been produced at our facilities. Soon, you’ll be able to watch this season’s nesting activity via live webcams on our peregrine falcon page.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Milwaukee County Power Plant update

This pair appeared for just a short time yesterday. Both may be new. The male that nested here last year was Polyo (b/g) E/65, with a black/green band. This new male's band is black/red, so we appear to have an entirely new pair -- at least for now.