There may still be snow in our forecast but one sign of spring has already arrived: Peregrine falcons have returned to a nesting box at Ameren Missouri's Sioux Energy Center. Ameren Missouri, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS), has provided an online webcam for a bird’s-eye view of peregrine falcons raising their chicks. The nest can be viewed at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch. The camera is live for viewing from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (CDT), seven days a week, until nesting activity is complete and the mother’s young have left the nest.
SiouxZee, the female falcon, has just laid her first egg this year. Last year, she and her mate, Coal, had a total of four eggs. All four chicks survived.
“Ameren Missouri is proud to once again partner with the World Bird Sanctuary and the Missouri Department of Conservation in sponsoring the falcon nesting box and camera at our Sioux Energy Center,” said Michael Moehn, senior vice president, Customer Operations. “The peregrine project is a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship. We’re proud to help successfully reintroduce this raptor to the Mississippi Valley.”
Viewers can also link to the falcon camera on the websites of WBS at worldbirdsanctuary.org and MDC at mdc.mo.gov. Officials from MDC and WBS will provide commentary and answer questions online on what’s happening in the nest.
“The falcon team has been waiting impatiently for that first egg,” said Jeff Meshach, director of World Bird Sanctuary. “We are all so happy, and if all goes as in years past, SiouxZee should have three or four more before her clutch is complete.”
Meshach said the first egg may have been laid several days later than the last two years because of the extra cold winter this season.
Both parents seen nesting at the Sioux Energy Center were first spotted this year in February. Researchers at WBS and MDC have determined Coal was hatched at Ameren Missouri's Labadie Energy Center in 2004. SiouxZee was hatched in Iowa in 2006.
“Our cooperative FalconCam will help Missourians discover nature right in the nest of these amazing raptors,” said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. “The project illustrates the power of partnerships between private and public sector organizations to help conserve native wildlife.”
The Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature Schools program for Missouri students in grades K-12 is providing related educational materials and activities to the more than 1,000 schools and 230,000 students involved. The program promotes conservation-related curriculum and hands-on learning experiences in nature to help students become life-long conservationists. Falcon-related activities and lesson plans were developed in partnership with the World Bird Sanctuary.
Ameren Missouri and WBS work together to provide a suitable habitat for songbirds. Nesting boxes have been attached to Ameren Missouri transmission towers and the company has spent more than $300,000 to install nesting boxes, monitor the boxes and band the baby song birds. More information on the peregrine falcon project as well as facts about the falcon are available at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch.
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Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than a century, and our electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. We serve 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. Our service area covers 63 counties and 500 towns, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit AmerenMissouri.com.