New site chosen for Elk River peregrine falcons

With decommissioning of the Elk River Energy Recovery Station underway, many are wondering what will happen with the nesting peregrine falcons who have long made the plant their home.

The four eyasses (baby falcons) that resided in the nesting box atop Great River Energy’s Elk River Energy Recovery Station power plant were banded late last spring. There were two female eyasses and two male eyasses.

What started as an Eagle Scout project with the Raptor Resource Project in 2006 grew to see 38 young peregrine falcons fledge from the Elk River location. The 24/7 bird cam was watched and enjoyed by people locally, nationally and even world-wide.

“It is a very popular and productive nest site,” said Brenda Geisler, administrative assistant, who has looked after the nesting box since 2007.

Geisler, along with a group of other Great River Energy employees, spent time these last few months weighing various options for how to best handle moving the nesting box location while the falcons are gone for their southern migration.

The group ultimately decided to install the nesting box on a pole located on Great River Energy’s Elk River campus—not far from the plant—which will offer a bit of familiarity for the falcons once they return, as well as the recommended height for the nest and required power available for the birdcam.

“I am grateful that this important project is moving into its next phase and am hopeful that it will continue to evolve beyond the Elk River Station demolition,” Geisler said.

Employees have started the process of removing the existing nesting box and preparation for installation of a new pole in anticipation of the peregrines’ typical nesting period in mid-February.