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Author Topic: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons  (Read 33251 times)

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #90 on: March 16, 2024, 03:32:08 AM »

Was Mae the mother of our Breezy at Elk River?
I LOVED that King pair - so devoted it was precious.

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STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #91 on: March 16, 2024, 04:07:46 PM »

New camera views and barge traffic has resumed with a really long barge this morning heading upriver.
Both Newman and Lisa in and out of the nest box and perches.

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #92 on: March 17, 2024, 04:15:24 AM »

YAY a 15 car BARGE!
I wonder what its carrying - or how many are empties to be filled with stuff
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Nora in IA

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #93 on: March 17, 2024, 06:17:10 PM »

This is the April 17, 2004 article from the St. Paul paper.  Belinda took over after Mae, so without looking back I'd say Belinda was Breezy's mom.

Birders around the world are mourning a Minnesota matriarch.

Mae, the first peregrine falcon in the world to nest at a power plant, was killed earlier this spring in a territorial battle with another falcon at Xcel Energy Co.’s Allen S. King smokestack in Oak Park Heights.

Since claiming the nest as a young bird 15 years ago, Mae raised a record 37 falcons in the small wood box overlooking the St. Croix River, and her movements were followed daily during the nesting seasons by thousands via the Internet.

Xcel Energy installed a “bird cam” on the smokestack in 1997, and Mae soon became a media darling. Xcel’s Web site, www.xcelenergy.com, is updated with a new photograph every two minutes, and during Mae’s first nesting season, it generated more than 800,000 hits.

Some Mae fans were logged on the day she was killed, believed to be March 25. Diane Gulbrandson of Bloomington said she realized immediately that Mae had received a fatal wound from another falcon named Belinda.

“I have a sense of sadness because she’s gone,” she said. “I loved watching her raise her young. She was obviously a very powerful bird, but at the same time, she was very gentle. You could just see it in the photographs. Here was this huge bird with these tiny chicks, and she was feeding them one at a time and making sure each bird was fed.”

The battle over the King nest box was not unusual, according to Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project and overseer of Xcel’s “bird-cam” and nest-box programs.

Mae typically wintered in the King plant area rather than migrating south, but a lack of pigeons last winter caused her to leave the nest box in late October.

“When Mae returned to Minnesota to reclaim it, Belinda was already there, owning it,” Anderson said. “We’ve seen some terrific fighting over nest boxes. We don’t see that intense fighting between birds on the cliffs probably because there are alternative cliffs to go over to and occupy.”

NESTING AT POWER PLANTS
In 1989, the King power plant became the first in the world to put up a nest box for peregrine falcons, which had been devastated by the pesticide DDT and were on the endangered species list.

Power plants are excellent nesting sites because they are near rivers and offer protection from predators. Anderson said power plants around the world now install nest boxes, and the peregrine was taken off the endangered species list in 1999 due in part to those efforts.

The addition of the Web camera at the King plant allowed schoolchildren across the country to track Mae’s movements each spring, said Paul Adelmann, a spokesman for Xcel.

In Seattle, third-graders at Arbor Heights Elementary School learn about falcons each year by watching the “falcon cam” and reading a book about Mae. Teacher Mark Ahlness began tracking Mae during her first year on camera, and his class named Mae’s first two fledglings, Smoke and Prescott. Smoke has been at Xcel’s High Bridge power plant “for the last three years in a row and has ended up being a ‘bird-cam’ star of his own,” he said.

Ahlness said he was shocked by the news of Mae’s death.

“I had just told my class her story,” he said. “They were charmed and very excited, as 8- and 9-year-olds always are. A week later, I had to tell them she had been killed. I had a hard time telling them, to be honest. But we are watching the nest in my classroom, and the kids are ready to watch the new eggs hatch and learn more about falcons. I’ll remember Mae fondly for what she offered us — a model of strength and consistency.”

Students at Andersen Elementary School in Bayport were impressed with Mae’s mothering skills, said third-grade teacher Carolyn Hild. “They knew what a good mom she was and how nurturing she was.

“Every time I go by the smokestack, I look up and think of Mae and her babies,” she said.

PAYING THEIR RESPECTS
Sympathy cards have arrived from as far away as Germany since Mae’s death, said Anderson, who buried her on his Iowa farm.

Juanita Woods, from Columbus, Ohio, said: “All the falcon fans worldwide know about Mae’s death. … They realize that this is nature’s way, but they still mourn her passing.

“The queen is dead. Long live the queen.”

The loss has been particularly hard for Xcel employees.

Employees tracked Mae through the years, said Mark Fritsch, King plant director. Some would bring their children to the plant each spring to watch the banding and naming of Mae’s fledglings. Internet pictures of Mae were broadcast live in the plant’s control room.

“They would record in a book when each new egg was laid, how many there were and when the young were born,” he said.

The “falcon cam” will continue to track Belinda and her five babies, which should hatch in mid-May.

But Mae will be difficult to replace, said Adelmann, the Xcel spokesman. She was arguably the world’s most famous falcon, having been featured in the New York Times and “CBS Evening News.”

“She was the matriarch,” Adelmann said. “Mae absolutely loved living at that plant. When you see the same bird year after year for a decade, you get attached.”

Linda M

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #94 on: March 17, 2024, 07:00:12 PM »

I look Mae up and found the same article, Nora.  Thanks for posting it.

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #95 on: March 18, 2024, 02:36:26 AM »

Thanks Nora.
I'm glad I didnt see that fight.
I've seen 2 or 3 falcon fights - thats plenty.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2024, 03:10:59 AM by shep »
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STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2024, 10:37:40 AM »

Newman brought a RWBB as a food gift for Lisa about 8:00 this morning, and they were in and around the box until a mating at 10:30. 

STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #97 on: March 20, 2024, 11:50:46 AM »

Windy in the area this morning. Cam ops found Newman on the large feeding ledge about 8:00 with a bird for breakfast.  Then one of the peregrines near the top of the bluffs at about 10:30, not able to see which one.

STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #98 on: March 21, 2024, 11:56:10 AM »

Another visiting female at GSB this morning, I believe.  It's unbanded, larger than Newman (who has been in the nest box most of the time) and has some peachy-rusty feathers on face and breast.  They are talking, not challenging.  Haven't seen Lisa 53-W today.  Just before noon, Newman left the box, she followed, he caught a bird for her. Together on the large feeding ledge, then she returned with a piece to the box camera housing.

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #99 on: March 22, 2024, 06:24:10 AM »

Thanks STL.
I dont like the idea of another falcon fight - or fight w/owl.

A few years ago the James River falcon male had 2 females - 2 nests.
It'd be - um - interesting if one has nest inside box and one nests on RLD under ledge.

I wish GSB a good year.  This is such a great cam!

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STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #100 on: March 22, 2024, 04:58:47 PM »

It's an unusual season for GSB, that's for sure.  Snow overnight as in the general region.  And it looks like Lisa 53-W has returned today, with Newman in and on the nest box, with food gift and mating this afternoon.  Pic of Lisa is not real clear, but band is the right colors, etc.

STLbf

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #101 on: March 23, 2024, 02:49:46 PM »

Oh my, the unbanded female is back at the nest box today.  Newman brought a food gift to the box and she followed to claim it.  He's a popular fellow this year! 

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #102 on: March 23, 2024, 03:12:25 PM »

March 23, 2024
Its very possible both females have his seed.
Which will lay her egg in that box?
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Nora in IA

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #103 on: March 23, 2024, 04:26:58 PM »

This is going to be an interesting spring!

shep

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Re: 2024 Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2024, 12:30:04 PM »

March 24, 2024
Unbanded juvie - with a white eyebrow.

The mate at Racine has a white eyebrow.
I've never seen this before.




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