Stories tagged peregrine

Hatch today?

by Liza on May. 19th, 2011

Well, it's May 19, the estimated hatch date for the peregrine falcon chicks in the nest box at the King power plant in Bayport. Haven't seen any chicks yet, but Belinda's made a little moat of pebbles around the eggs -- the folks on the Raptor Resource forum say that's something she always does right before hatching. Stay tuned...

The fourth, and last, of the peregrine falcon eggs in the nest box at the Sherco power plant hatched sometime on Saturday. The hatchlings may be helpless, clumsy, and funny looking now, but in a few months they'll be sleek, fearsome avian predators. Keep watching the falcon cam, or the daily stills, until they fledge in a few months.

Laugh it up now...: ...but watch out later. These guys are going to be FIERCE.
Laugh it up now...: ...but watch out later. These guys are going to be FIERCE.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy

We have a chick!

by Liza on May. 14th, 2010

Yummy: The first-hatched Sherco chick of 2010 enjoys a little breakfast.
Yummy: The first-hatched Sherco chick of 2010 enjoys a little breakfast.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy
Almost out: We should see two more chicks make their debut appearance any time now.
Almost out: We should see two more chicks make their debut appearance any time now.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy
The first of the eggs out at the Sherco nest box has hatched, and it looks like two others are well on their way.

I just downloaded the Raptor Resource 2008 Project Banding Report (how's that for a little light reading?), and I found the following:

"We removed the High Bridge stack nest box after the 2007 nesting season. Xcel Energy was converting from a coal facility to natural gas turbine operation, and planned to raze the stack some time in early 2008. We installed a replacement nest box on the nearby ADM stackhouse, but it appears that the falcons chose to nest under the nearby High Bridge instead."

All spring we watched and waited, and the birds were there all along! I'll get in touch with the folks at Xcel and Raptor Resource and see what we can do about watching the peregrines during the 2009 nesting season.

Where's Athena?

by Liza on Mar. 12th, 2008

Falcons have been spotted regularly at the Black Dog nest box in Burnsville, MN, since December, and were observed mating on February 23. (You can follow what's going on with those falcons at the Raptor Resource/Black Dog Forum.)

But the former High Bridge nest box was moved, and so far, there's no sign of Athena. (There's also a Raptor Resource/High Bridge Forum.) Cross your fingers and hope she finds and approves of her new digs before it's too late for chicks this year...

Folks from Excel Energy and the Raptor Resource Project provided a new nest box to the staff at the ADM terminal at 575 Drake Street (at the intersection of Shepard Road and Randolph Avenue). ADM is going to mount and prepare the box by February 1. With a little luck, the falcons we've been lucky to watch for the last few breeding seasons at the High Bridge stack will find the new box and set up housekeeping as usual. (The High Bridge stack is going to be demolished; right now, the nest cam shows the construction site of the new, adjacent power plant.) Keep your eyes open and your fingers crossed...

Visitors to the Science Museum will name some of the falcon chicks. (Haven't seen them? Stop by the Mississippi River Gallery: you can use a scope to see the nest box on the stack of the High Bridge power plant, and you can see a live video feed from inside the box.) Vote for your favorite name!


Big surprise! Sometime between Tuesday and yesterday, the fourth egg hatched. (This youngest bird hatched out of the first egg laid, and we didn't have high hopes for it.)

The whole brood: This shot, captured yesterday, shows Athena and all her chicks.
The whole brood: This shot, captured yesterday, shows Athena and all her chicks.

Dinner time...: Keeping these guys fed is a full-time job.
Dinner time...: Keeping these guys fed is a full-time job.

The young birds will grow fast, and will fledge--leave their nest--sometime in mid July. They'll stay with their parents for about two months afterward, learning to hunt. First the parents catch prey and the young birds learn to snatch it from them in mid-air. When they get good at that, the chicks start learning to hunt on their own.

Here's the sobering truth, though: On average, only two juveniles successfully fledge per nest. And the first year is dangerous. But a peregrine that survives the first year has a good shot at a long life. Some birds have even lived to be 18-20, but that's not typical. An average lifespan is more likely somewhere between 2 and 8 years.

New pictures appear every few minutes on the High Bridge Falcon Cam daily photos site.

Here are earlier 2007 falcon updates, as well as the story of the 2006 season. Or learn more about peregrines, and get to know Athena.

Visitors to the museum get to name falcon chicks. Right now, we're taking name suggestions. Later on, we'll turn those into a visitor poll, and the names with the most votes will go to the chicks.


Visitors to the Science Museum will get to pick a name for at least one of the peregrine falcon chicks in the High Bridge power plant nest box. (Last year, we got to name one. Your pick? Starshadow.)

The challenge? Each chick in the nest box program gets a unique name. No repeats. So here's a list of all the names that are "taken" already:

Abby, Alice, Allie, Alpha, Amanda, Amilia, Amy, Andrea, Andy, Angel, Anton, Apryl, Athena, Barbara, Belinda, Bend, Berger, Bern, Bert, Bertha, Beta, Bolt, Bomber, Bor, Brice, Britta, Burt, Buzz, Candy, Cassie, Charlee, Charlie, Cherokee, Chicklet, Chris, Cleo, CoCo, Cole, Colleen, Coz, Craig, Crystal, Cyndi, Dale, Dana, Danberg, Davey, Dawn, Delene, Delta, Diamond, Diana, Diane, Dick, Dixie Chick, Donna, Doolittle, Dot, Ed, Eileen, Elaine, Electra, Esperanza, Faith, Fast Track, Fluffy, Fran, Frank, Gamma, George, Gib, Gloria, Gold, Gretta, Grunwald, Harmony, Hickey, Hippie, Hope, Horus, Hotshot, Howard, Hunter, Huske, Irvine, Isabel, Jackie, Jacob, Jan, Janice, Jasmine, Jay, JB, Jenny, Jessy, Jim, Joe, Judy, Julie, Kali, Karlsen, Katraka, Kester, Kitty, Kidy, Kramer, Krista, Laura, Leo, Leon, Leona, Leonard, Liberty, Lightning, Lily, Linton, Lolo, Lon, Lora, Loree, Loretta, Lori, Louise, Lucky, Mac, Mae, Maggie, Malin, Manthey, Mapper, Marie, Marshall, Marty, Mary, Laude, Mew, Mica, Michael, Michelle, Minnie, Miranda, Miss, Miss Pam, Mulder, Murphy, Neil, Nero, Nicole, Nora, Oar, Orville, Oscar, Pam, Pamella, PF Flyer, PaTao, Pathfinder, Penelope, Penny, Phyllis, Polly, Porky, Prescott, Princess, Putnam, Quark, Queen, Rachael, Ralph, Razor, Red Ed, Rick, Rochelle, Rocket, Rocky, Romeo, Ryan, Ryu, Sarah, Scarlett, Screech, Scully, Seminole, Shakespeare, Sharky, Sheri, Sheridan, Sherlie, Smoke, Smokey, Sonic, Sophia, Speedy, Spider, Spirit, Spivvy, Starshadow, Static, Stephanie, Sue, Survivor, Swoop, Terri, Thelma, Thunder, Travis, Tundra, Vector, VernaMae, Veronica, Waldo, Wanda, Warren, Wayne, Webster, Wilbur, Willie, Wood, Younger, Yugi, Zack, Zippidy

Have a name you think would suit a falcon? Tell us. We'll turn the list of submitted names into a visitor poll, and the names with the highest number of votes will go to the chicks.

One other thing: last year, the number one name was "Santa's Little Helper," but it was too long. Keep the names short, if you want yours to be the one!


“Athena”—the female peregrine falcon at the High Bridge power plant nest box—laid her first egg of 2007 on Sunday, April 15. Peregrines usually lay three or four eggs each year, so we'll be watching for more in the next few days.

Athena's first egg, 2007: Hard to see, but it's there. (It's the orange blob by her foot.) Congratulations, Athena.

The male and female falcons share the 33-day incubation duties, which include turning the eggs regularly. (The birds don't incubate the eggs in earnest, though, until they've laid all the eggs they're going to lay.) If all goes well, the baby peregrines will hatch sometime in the second half of May.

You can get daily updates here on Science Buzz, or get hourly updates by visiting Xcel Energy's High Bridge daily photos page.

Falcon chicks: Baby peregrines are helpless when they hatch, but they grow at an astonishing rate. (Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service)

More on peregrines from Science Buzz...