Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Power plant falcons fly the coop

Artemis, Busby and Murdock at Milwaukee County 
Power Plant nest box.
Most of the peregrine falcon chicks born at our power plant nest boxes
this spring have fledged.

There are empty nest boxes in Pleasant Prairie, Oak Creek, Port Washington and Milwaukee at our Valley Power Plant.

But you still have a little time to watch the remaining chicks at two other sites. Our live falcon cam is focused on the Milwaukee County Power Plant in Wauwatosa where Artemis, Busby
and Murdock are getting ready to fledge. They’re expected to take flight around July 2.

Chicks remain at our power plant in Marquette, Michigan, as well. Seppie, Wompus and Spencer also are expected to leave their nest box at our Presque Isle Power Plant around July 2. Hourly photos are available from their nest box at the link below.

Live falcon cam

Hourly photos

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Artemis: Goddess of the hunt and We Energies falcon

Nina Marks meets Artemis, held by Greg Septon
Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, is a perfect name for a bird of prey like the peregrine falcon. That name was chosen by 11-year-old Nina Marks, a special guest at a falcon banding at Milwaukee County Power Plant in Wauwatosa. 

Busby, Artemis and Murdock
Artemis has two brothers -- Busby and Murdock. The three were our final falcons to be named and banded this season. Murdock was named by employees at the power plant.

Busby was named by Peregrine Manager Greg Septon, in honor of his close friend, John Busby, who recently passed away. Busby was a wildlife artist whose work included peregrine falcon paintings and drawings.

A total of 16 peregrine falcon chicks were born at six of our power plants this year. In addition, two chicks were transferred from another Milwaukee-area site to our Oak Creek Power Plant after their father was found injured.

We have been involved in peregrine falcon recovery since the early 1990s. More than 200 falcons have been born at our power plants.

Learn more about our peregrine falcon program

Monday, June 15, 2015

Presque Isle Power Plant falcon named after peregrine manager

Seppie, Wompus and Spencer
Seppie, Wompus and Spencer are the latest We Energies power plant falcons to be named and banded. Our peregrine manager, Greg Septon, retrieved the chicks from their nest box atop our Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan on Saturday. Power plant employees and their families were invited to watch Septon band the peregrine chicks and suggest names for the birds. Seppie was chosen in honor of Septon, who’s been managing our peregrine falcon recovery program since the early 1990s. Septon monitors our six nesting sites and nearly two dozen others throughout Wisconsin.

Peregrine falcon webcams

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Adopted falcon chicks named and banded at Oak Creek Power Plant

Foster and Wheeler 
Two peregrine falcon chicks that were transplanted to our Oak Creek Power Plant from a separate site were named and banded. The chicks were moved to the We Energies nest from St. Joseph’s Hospital after their father, Herbert, was injured and unable to help his mate DJ with the care of his four chicks. In Herbert’s absence, DJ was left alone to do the job of both parents. Peregrine falcons take turns incubating eggs, hunting and feeding the young.

For the best survival of the chicks, Peregrine Falcon Manager Greg Septon transported two of Herbert’s chicks to our Oak Creek Power Plant to be cared for by female Eclipse and male Scott. This spring, Eclipse and Scott incubated four eggs at the site, but they never hatched. Another falcon tried taking over the nest box, and the territorial battle left the eggs unattended too often. Now, Eclipse and Scott have adopted two of Herbert and DJ’s chicks as their own.

Jon Anderson and Brian Hunt, workers at Oak Creek Power Plant, assisted in last week’s banding. They were aware of the chick’s story and were happy to hear the adult falcons took the hatchlings “under their wing.” They thought the adults made excellent foster parents; hence the name Foster was given to one of the female chicks. The workers named Foster’s sister Wheeler. The steam generators at Oak Creek Power Plant were manufactured by a company called Foster Wheeler Corporation and “Wheeler” just seemed like a good fit.

Wheeler and Foster’s brothers at the St. Joseph’s Hospital site recently were banded and received the names of Jack and Harrison.

All chicks are thriving and should be ready to fly out of the nest in a few weeks.

Peregrine falcon webcams

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WWII veterans watch falcons get wildlife bands

WWII veteran Chuck Franzke and his wife, Bev.
Chuck Franzke of Waukesha used to fly torpedo bombers during WWII. The former Navy pilot can relate to the peregrine falcons that nest at our power plants. Franzke shared memories Wednesday 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.

WWII veteran Norman Jagow.
Franzke and fellow veteran Norman Jagow were special guests at our Port Washington power plant. They watched as falcon chicks from the plant’s nest box received their wildlife bands. Peregrine Manager Greg Septon banded four young – two
males and two females.

Jagow now has a bond with one of
the chicks, which was named
Norman in his honor. The other
chicks were named Spikey, LoriAnn and Suzie.

Veterans with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight organization have a special tie to our Port Washington power plant. Wisconsin’s WWII         Pillar of Honor stands outside the plant at Coal Dock Park as a tribute to all Wisconsin veterans.

We Energies is a longtime partner and sponsor of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Norman, Spikey, Suzie and LoriAnn.
WWII Pillar of Honor at Coal Dock Park 
in Port Washington.

Monday, June 1, 2015

What do noble gases from periodic table have in common with peregrine falcons?

At a falcon banding at We Energies Valley Power Plant, a very clever fifth-grade class from Carollton Elementary School in Oak Creek named four peregrine falcon chicks after the gases from the far right column of the periodic table.

Krypton, Argon, Radon and Xenon
Three sisters gained the honor of being named Argon, Radon and Xenon, while their little brother and only boy, Krypton, was the last to be named. Although he was the last, his name was chosen first by the students, after the fictional home planet of Superman. This isn’t the first time the students named a hatchling using Superman terminology. They named a duckling, that hatched in their classroom, Steel, after the man of steel.

Carollton Elementary fifth graders
The students learned that here on Earth, Krypton is a noble gas from the periodic table. They studied the table and found the other suitable names for the chicks. The children were instructed to choose gender neutral names since the sex of the falcons isn’t determined until banding.

The chicks’ parents are Hercules, born in 2011 at St. Joe’s Hospital in Milwaukee, and an unbanded female whose origins are unknown. Hercules is the son of another Valley Power Plant falcon, Herbert, who was found injured earlier this spring and is being treated at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Herbert was born at the Valley Power Plant 11 years ago.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meet falcon chicks, Sharkie and Thunder Claw

Stocker mascot
Two peregrine falcon chicks at our Pleasant Prairie Power Plant now have names. Thunder Claw and Sharkie were named by third graders from Stocker Elementary School in Kenosha. 

Sharkie is named after their school’s mascot, the Stocker Shark.

The students visited the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant Thursday to see the chicks get their wildlife bands. The bands allow researchers to track the endangered species as the peregrine population continues to grow. 

Our peregrine manager, Greg Septon, visited Stocker Elementary School earlier this month to talk about the peregrine falcon recovery effort. More than 200 peregrines have been born at We Energies power plants since 1997.

Here are a video and some pictures from Thursday’s banding in Pleasant Prairie. The Kenosha News covered the event.