Peregrines thrive at GRE

One died due to trichomoniasis, which comes from eating infected pigeons


by Joni Astrup
Associate editor

Three of the peregrine  falcons that hatched atop Great River Energy (GRE) in Elk River this spring are alive and thriving.

They remain in the area around Elk River Station and will until sometime in late August, according to Jennifer Howell, external communications specialist for GRE.

The young peregrines, called eyasses, are currently learning to hunt for their own food; the adults still supplement their diet, she said. {snippet instory}

The birds hatched May 19 in a nest box more than 100 feet up a tower at Elk River Station, which is located along Highway 10 just east of downtown Elk River.

The falcons were named Bella (female) and Roger, Royal and Edward (males). The Rogers Middle School’s After-School Environmental Explorers named the birds.

GRE, the Raptor Resource Project and the Environmental Explorers participated in the banding of the four falcons on  June 9.

Unfortunately, Bella died suddenly on June 17. Howell said it was determined that her death was caused by a micro-organism called trichomoniasis, which comes from eating infected pigeons. Roger, Royal and Edward were treated in late June with an antibiotic as a proactive measure.

A “bird cam” continues to keep tabs on the nest box, although Howell said there isn’t much to see at this point. The bird cam can be viewed at ronment/birdcam.html.

Howell said employees around the GRE plant see the falcons frequently. The birds often roost in the nest box at night.

The nest box was built by a Boy Scout as part of his Eagle Scout project and installed in 2006.

Peregrine falcons first nested in the box in 2007.

A total of nine falcons have fledged from the nesting box, Howell said.

Meanwhile, she said they don’t really know for certain where the falcons migrate to. Some peregrine falcons will stay year round if they have access to food and water, but this has not been the case at Elk River Station, she said.

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