Young falcons get their ‘jewelry’

Falcons born at Great River Energy's Elk River Energy Recovery Station were banded by the Raptor Resource Project on May 29.

Falcons born at Great River Energy’s Elk River Energy Recovery Station were banded by the Raptor Resource Project on May 29.

It was a successful year for Breezy and Brooklyn, the two adult peregrine falcons that reside in the nesting box atop Great River Energy’s Elk River Energy Recovery Station (ERERS) in Elk River, Minn. Brooklyn, the male, has returned to this site for a fourth consecutive year. The female, Breezy, is new to the site. She fledged from a nest box at Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King Plant in Oak Park Heights, Minn., in 2015.

ERERS is the perfect location for a falcon nest. The site is beside the Mississippi River which is appealing to falcons because they prefer to nest in high locations near water. It is also located in a peregrine falcon migratory flyway.

The incubation period for a peregrine falcon is 33-34 days. Brooklyn and Breezy shared the incubation duties for the four eggs they produced. Despite the extended winter, all four of the eyasses hatched.

Four healthy peregrine falcons were officially banded by the Raptor Resource Project on May 29, 2018.  The three females were named: Norah (band No. 67/P), Elsie Rose (68/P) and Grace Marie (69/P). The male was named Joey (07/B). Their names and band numbers will be recorded and tracked for future use in the Midwest Peregrine Society Database.

In the next few weeks the eyasses will replace their white down with flight feathers. At about 40 days of age they will fledge from their nest box. The eyasses can remain in the area of the power plant until fall migration. This is their time to test the flying and hunting skills that they will need in order to survive away from their parents.