Peregrine falcons return to Elk River

Peregrine Falcon at Great River Energy power plan in Elk River Minnesota

Brooklyn, a male peregrine falcon, has returned to a nesting box atop Great River Energy’s Elk River Energy Recovery Station for a fourth consecutive year.

Despite the cold and snow in Minnesota, it is springtime. And, springtime means it’s time to welcome a pair of peregrine falcons to the nesting box atop Great River Energy’s Elk River Energy Recovery Station.

In late February, two adult falcons took up residence in the Elk River nesting box. Brooklyn, the male, has returned to the site for a fourth consecutive year. The female, Breezy, is new to the neighborhood. She fledged from a nest box at Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King Plant in Oak Park Heights, Minn., in 2015.

As of last Wednesday, the pair had produced four eggs. The incubation period for peregrine falcons is 33-34 days and the male and female share the incubation duties.

The site is perfect for a nesting box because it is located in a peregrine falcon migratory flyway. The site, beside the Mississippi River, is also a draw because the birds prefer to nest in high locations near water.

Since 2007, 30 falcons have fledged from the Elk River nesting box. A few of those falcons have been spotted around Minnesota:
* Elizabeth, a 2011 fledge, nested at a Delta Airlines hangar at Minneapolis International Airport last spring and produced two females.
* Bullet, a 2014 fledge, has nested at the Colonnade Building in Golden Valley, Minn., for the last two years, producing six young.
* River, a 2015 fledge, was spotted at Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County Plant, in Becker, Minn., in February.