The Raptor Resource Project has partnered with Dairyland Power since 1993, when RRP founder Bob Anderson contacted Dairyland to see if the cooperative would volunteer to help recovery efforts for the Peregrine Falcon. Dairyland Power’s Alma and Genoa stacks, located between high bluffs and the Mississippi River, were the perfect spot for a falcon family and might give the species a toehold back in the river valley. Dairyland Power welcomed the plan and a raptor neighborhood was hatched!
In March of 1994, the Raptor Resource Project and Dairyland Power installed the first falcon nest box 450 feet up the stack at Dairyland’s Alma Station. It took some time for the falcons to set up house, but on Earth Day 1997, a pair of Peregrine falcons were sighted in the nest box on the Alma Station stack. Alma and Nelson produced three healthy offspring in 1997. In total, 87 peregrine falcon nestlings have fledged from the Alma stack, which makes it our most productive site to date.
Brad Foss with falcons, Dairyland Power Genoa
Following the success at Alma, RRP and Dairyland Power installed a second nest box 375 feet up the Dairyland Genoa stack south of La Crosse, WI in 1997. Between 1998 and the plant’s closure in 2021, 70 falcons fledged from the Genoa stack. This was a very important site for us since it was our first productive site on the lower portion of the Mississippi River. Peregrine falcons would go on to nest at US Bank and several grain mills, and our 1998 and 1999 Effigy Mounds releases would eventually put falcons back on the cliffs, but peregrine nesting activity in the southern portion of the Driftless Area began here.
Dairyland Power is a steward of wildlife at their utilities and on utility land – some of the last places people might expect to find wildlife. But as Dairyland falcon and osprey cams have shown, power plants are home to a wide variety of animals. Staff put up and maintain nest boxes, track nesting activities, help us band falcons, get us to the top of cliffs and remote reservoir islands, and share their birds with their families and the wider community. We remain impressed with Dairyland Power’s commitment to coexisting responsibly with wildlife and the natural habitats that surround their facilities.
Dairyland Power’s Osprey Cam on a reservoir near Ladysmith, WI
Dairyland Power’s Peregrine Falcons and Ospreys can be watched from early spring through late summer. To watch, go to https://www.dairylandpower.com/falcon-cam. The birds can also be watched on our website at https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/dairyland-power-falcon-cams/.