Falcon Update 2015
During the nesting season, MGE regularly posts video of the falcons inside a nesting box atop the Blount power plant. See the 2015 archives for the previous video clip from this season.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015: Melvin gave mom a break by taking over incubating duties shortly before nine o'clock in the morning. Female peregrine falcons generally handle most of the incubating, which lasts anywhere from 29 to 35 days. Watch as Melvin appears to inspect the four eggs after he arrives at the nesting box atop Blount.
- Peregrine falcons are on Wisconsin’s endangered species list. Falcons were nearly extinct in the 1960s.
- In 2014, a known total of 97 falcon chicks hatched at 31 nest sites in Wisconsin.
- 47% of those chicks were hatched at power plants, which have dedicated nesting boxes for these magnificent birds.
MGE's Falcon History
MGE's peregrine falcon stewardship began in 1999 when an employee and his son built a nesting box for the son's school project. MGE installed the nesting box atop its Blount Generating Station just east of downtown Madison in 1999 where it remained unoccupied for 10 years. Falcons finally began using the box in 2009.
Since 2009, 23 falcon chicks have hatched at Blount.
From 2009 to 2011, a nesting pair of falcons (Frightful, the mother, and Vern, the father) successfully hatched 11 chicks. In 2012, a female fought Frightful for the territory and displaced her for the nesting season. The new mother falcon was dubbed In-Trudy. She along with father falcon Vern hatched four chicks. The mother, now referred to as Trudy, has hatched four eggs each year through 2014.
In 2015, Vern and Trudy returned. At some point, a new male named Melvin replaced Vern. Melvin's ID bands show that he was hatched at an Oak Creek site.
Learn more about falcons:
- A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources expert explains how the falcon parents teach the young to fly.
- A National Geographic video shows the amazing speed and skill of adult falcons in the air.
- Learn more about local falcons with "Wisconsin Falconwatch 2014" [4.0 MB PDF] published by falcon expert Greg Septon.