ST. LOUIS – After weeks of anticipation, viewers watched live as three Peregrine falcon chicks emerged from their eggs over the past few days. For the 10th year, Ameren Missouri’s Falcon Cam has given viewers a unique glimpse into nature via a live feed at the Sioux Energy Center, where a pair of Peregrine falcons nest and raise their chicks each spring.
"The excitement we feel when seeing the new chicks for the first time never gets old," said Kevin Kersting, manager of technical services at Ameren Missouri. “Providing this space for the falcon family to nest is just one small way we care for our friends in our shared environment.”
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The live stream, a partnership with the World Bird Sanctuary and Missouri Department of Conservation, is intended to give viewers the chance to witness the development of baby birds each year, while also promoting Peregrine falcon conservation efforts.
“As a Peregrine enthusiast, I am always thrilled to see how many of our Falcon Cam viewers want to learn more about these majestic birds,” said Jeff Meshach, deputy director, World Bird Sanctuary. “On the Falcon Cam website, viewers can submit questions they have about the falcons, and also read blog updates chronicling the chick’s development.”
Viewers began watching the eggs on March 15. Since then, both the male and female Peregrine parents have taken turns keeping the eggs warm. Over the coming weeks, the mother will protect her chicks in the nest while the father ventures out to find prey to feed the growing babies. The chicks will begin to fly in about seven weeks, then will learn how to hunt.
“Over 200 Peregrine chicks have hatched in Missouri since 2013, which is really positive for a species that had nearly disappeared in the 1960s,” said Sarah Kendrick, state ornithologist, Missouri Department of Conservation. “All hatched Peregrine chicks will be fitted with small metal federal leg bands with a unique code. These bands do not harm the birds and help to track those hatched in Missouri.”
Over the past decade of Falcon Cam, more than 60 falcon chicks have successfully hatched and returned to the wild without any direct human interaction post tracker tagging. Since beginning Falcon Cam, the Peregrine falcon’s population status has improved from “endangered” to “stable” condition, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Watch all nest activity and interactions live from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. CDT seven days a week at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch, which also includes clips of fun falcon facts and educational materials. The camera will stay live until the chicks have left the nest.
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