Stories tagged peregrine falcon


“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...


UPDATE - Wednesday, June 14th

One of the falcon chicks spent part of the day learning to fly. The others are doing a lot of looking and wing-flapping, and will be joining their nestmate soon.

Peregrine chicks: Photo taken by the High Bridge web cam between 8 and 9 am, Friday, June 9.
Peregrine chicks: Photo taken by the High Bridge web cam between 8 and 9 am, Friday, June 9.

UPDATE - Friday., June 9th

The little fluffballs are gaining feathers fast and looking more like adult peregrines every day. They've been flapping their wings and looking over the edge a lot. We expect them to fledge--leave the nest--sometime before June 16. See today's comment for more information.

All four chicks have hatched!: Yeah! Four hungry mouths to feed.

UPDATE - Friday., May 5th

All four of Athena's chicks have hatched now! Congratulations to Athena and her new Peregrine Falcon family. As far as we can tell from the pictures the fourth egg must have hatched around 5pm yesterday, Thur. May 4th.

One more to go: Athena seems to look straight at the camera and we have only one more egg to hatch.Courtesy Excel energy

UPDATE - Thu., May 4th

Three of Athena's chicks have hatched and you can see them crowding around the one brown egg that hasn't hatched yet.

Three mouths to feed: One of Athena's chicks raises its mouth for food, Thur. morning.

Wed., May 3rd

Athena can be seen feeding two of her chicks on Xcel's Falcon Cam. You can keep updated by watching the new pictures appear every couple minutes in the daily photos section.

Athena feeding her chicks: Check out Athena droping food into her little chicks' mouths. So cute!

Update from atop the giant smokestack at the High Bridge power plant here in Saint Paul and down the street from the Science Museum:

"Athena's" eggs have started to hatch.


Peregrine Falcon: Peregrine Falcon.  Courtesy Craig Koppie, US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Peregrine Falcon: Peregrine Falcon. Courtesy Craig Koppie, US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The peregrine falcons at the High Bridge power plant usually lay eggs in mid- to late March. The female lays one egg every 2 to 3 days, with an average total clutch of 3 to 4 eggs. It's 33 to 35 days until the eggs hatch; during that time, the female spends most of the time on the nest incubating the eggs and the male does most of the hunting and brings her food.

Once the young hatch, the female cares for them continuously for the first few days and then her attention slowly wanes as the chicks get stronger. The chicks will remain in the nest for 35 to 42 days after hatching. At some point during this time the chicks will be banded with their identification number and name them so they can be tracked in the future.

And this is where you come in. Submit your ideas for names for the potential falcon chicks at the High Bridge power plant in the comment section below. (Names can't be reused, so we've provided a list of those already taken.) If the falcons produce a clutch of eggs, we'll select the best names from your submissions and post them in a poll for everyone to vote on in a few weeks. The top vote getters in the poll will be the names given to any chicks that survive and are banded.

So — what do you think? What's a good name for a falcon? Don't forget to check the polls page in a few weeks to see what names have been selected and vote for the best one!

Here are the names that are already taken:

Abby, Alice, Allie, Alpha, Amanda, Amilia, Amy, Andrea, Andy, Angel, Anton, Apryl, Barbara, Belinda, Ben, 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, Joe, Judy, Julie, Kali, Karlsen, Katraka, Kester, Kitty, Kody, Kramer, Krista, Laura, Leo, Leon, Leona, Leonardo, Liberty, Lightning, Lily, Linton, Lolo, Lon, Lora, Loree, Loretta, Lori, Louise, Lucky, Mac, Maggie, Malin, Manthey, Mapper, Marie, Marshall, Marty, Mary, Maude, Mew, Mica, Michael, Michelle, Minnie, Miranda, Miss, Miss Pam, Mulder, Murphy, Neil, Nero, Nicole, Nora, Oar, Orville, Oscar, Pam, Pamella, PF Flyer, Pathfinder, Penelope, Penny, Phyllis, Polly, Porky, Prescott, Princess, Putnam, Quark, Queen, Rachael, Ralph, Razor, Red Ed, Rick, Rochelle, Rocket, Rocky, Romeo, Ryan, Ryu, Sarah, Scarlet, Screech, Scully, Seminoe, Shakespeare, Sharky, Sheri, Sheridan, Sherlie, Smoke, Smokey, Sonic, Sophia, Speedy, Spider, Spirit, Spivvy, Static, Stephanie, Sue, Survivor, Swoop, Terri, Thelma, Thunder, Travis, Tundra, Vector, VernaMae, Veronica, Waldo, Wanda, Warren, Wayne, Webster, Wilbur, Willie, Wood, Younger, Zack, Zippidy


The peregrine falcon "Athena" was spotted at the High Bridge power plant next box on January 25th.

Athena nested at the High Bridge plant last year with the former resident male, "Smoke." An unidentified rival male killed Smoke early last May, and last year's nest didn't produce any young.

We have not seen a male with Athena yet this year.

Read more about Saint Paul's falcons and last year's drama.

Check back often for updates.