ST. LOUIS — The Falcon Cam has revealed exciting news: Ameren Missouri's Sioux Energy Center is now home to two newly hatched Peregrine falcon chicks. The live feed is a partnership of Ameren Missouri, the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) that lets bird lovers witness the growth and development of the new arrivals.
"It's been so thrilling to watch for the chicks over the last few days," said Kevin Kersting, manager of technical services at Ameren Missouri. "Viewers from Missouri and all over the country are learning about these incredible birds and our partnership's efforts to grow their population – and they're also spreading the word on social media."
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The female and male Peregrine have been trading off incubation duty since the first egg was laid on March 14. Now that the eggs have hatched, observers will see a more traditional division of labor.
"For the next 10 days, the female will stay at the nest to protect the chicks from predators, and keep them warm," says Jeff Meshach, director of administration and external programs at WBS. "The male's full-time job is now hunting for prey to feed his new family." Mesach also writes an 'Ask Jeff' blog to provide commentary and answer viewer questions about what’s happening in the nest.
Every year, the chicks are fitted with tracking numbers on their feet before they're ready to go out on their own. The harmless procedure provides researchers with invaluable data on the birds and their migration patterns. The resulting tracking data is housed in the U.S. Geological Survey's nationwide database and can help identify problems that could lead to population loss.
Ameren Missouri, WBS and MDC are celebrating the seventh season of providing a live camera feed of the nesting box. Over the past six seasons, 24 falcon chicks have successfully hatched and left the nest.
"The peregrine nest box has been a huge boost for these birds, although they are still state-endangered" said Sarah Kendrick, state ornithologist at MDC. "Partnering with Ameren and WBS to provide nesting locations helps the Peregrine population bounce back, and gives us a fun way to connect with and educate the public."
Catch all the action live from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. CDT seven days a week at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch, which also hosts clips of parent-chick interactions, fun falcon facts, and educational materials. The camera will stay active until the chicks have left the nest in about 50 days.
About Ameren Missouri
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
About World Bird Sanctuary
In 1977 WBS was founded by the late Walt Crawford, and is currently directed by Dawn Griffard. WBS is dedicated to the preservation of all birds and their habitats, and accomplishes this through rehabilitation, education, propagation, field studies, advocacy and services. WBS has been banding Peregrine Falcons since 1985. Through captive breeding and release efforts in the mid to late 80's, WBS is responsible for bringing the Peregrine back to Missouri as a breeding species.
About Missouri Department of Conservation
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.
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