Great River Energy Falcons
The Great River Energy peregrine falcons are nesting on the roof of a building at GRE’s Elk River plant in Elk River, MN. The falcons can also be watched here: http://greatriverenergy.com/we-use-energy-wisely/environmental-impact/peregrine-falcon-birdcam/. This nest was first productive in 2007 and has produced 32 falcons to date (2017).
The site is located next to the Mississippi river and is rich in food resources. The peregrines may or may not be present year-round, but the camera is usually off in the winter. In general, the falcons begin courtship between early and Mid-March and lay eggs between late March and mid-April. Hatch should begin in early to mid-May, fledge generally occurs 38-40 days after that, and young disperse in late August or mid-September. If one or both of the adults migrate, they leave in the late fall. Adult falcon pairs are not believed to migrate together.
Peregrine falcons do not make stick nests. Instead, they make scrape nests on ledges and debris, and feed primarily on birds that they catch in the air. To learn more about peregrine falcons in general, please follow this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Peregrine_Falcon/id. To catch up on videos of Great River Energy, please visit our YouTube channel or scroll farther down this page.
| Year||Mom|| Dad||# of young produced|
|2016||MaryEllen 11/X||Brooklyn 65/M||0|
|2015||MaryEllen 11/X||Brooklyn 65/M||4|
|2014||MaryEllen 11/X||Sawatzke H/23||4|
|2013||MaryEllen 11/X||Sawatzke H/23||2|
- In 2015, male Brooklyn arrived and courted MaryEllen, who accepted him as her new mate. When her previous Sawatzke arrived, she drove him away. It is not true that peregrine falcons mate for life. While many peregrine falcons stay mated, others change mates as happened here.
- In 2011, female falcon Dot replaced the unknown female who had previously nested here. The unknown falcon had already laid a clutch of four eggs. Dot did not incubate them and they were lost.
Female MaryEllen 11/X and male Brooklyn 65/M are currently nesting here. MaryEllen is a 2012 hatch from Queen’s Bluff in Great River Bluffs SP, MN. Queen’s Bluff was one of the first cliffs to host peregrine falcons that were returning to river cliffs back in 2000. Bob played a very large part in cliff recovery [see this paper: Bringing the Duckhawk Home]. Brooklyn is a 2012 hatch from Colonnade Building in Golden Valley, MN,
Peregrine falcons do not build nests out of sticks. They nest on ledges, potholes, and crevices on cliffs and buildings. This nest box is filled with pea gravel to provide a substrate that cushions and drains the eggs. Brenda Geisler of GRE contacted us about a nest box in 2006. She worked with the Raptor Resource Project and Boy Scout Daniel Sunberg to get the box built and installed. It became active in 2007 and has been productive ever since.