Xcel bird cams capture signs of springXcel Energy’s bird cams are now offering a busy, birds-eye view of activities from power plant nesting boxes. New last week, a female peregrine falcon at the Allen S. King plant in Oak Park Heights, Minn., could be seen incubating her newly laid clutch of eggs.
Xcel Energy’s bird cams are now offering a busy, birds-eye view of activities from power plant nesting boxes.
New last week, a female peregrine falcon at the Allen S. King plant in Oak Park Heights, Minn., could be seen incubating her newly laid clutch of eggs. The bird cam Web page can be accessed at http://birdcam.xcelenergy.com or by clicking on “bird cam” under the Quick Tools menu at www.xcelenergy.com.
In 1997, Xcel Energy installed the first camera in a falcon nesting box at the King plant to increase awareness for conservation efforts and provide the public with opportunities to watch the birds and their growing families on the company’s Web site.
Last year, streaming video from several nesting boxes was made available on the Web site. From spring to mid-summer, continuous video shows peregrine falcon nests at the King plant and, new this year, the Sherburne County (Sherco) plant near Becker, Minn. Video is also available from eagle and owl nests at Xcel Energy facilities in Colorado, and still photography is posted from a falcon nesting box at the Black Dog plant in Burnsville, Minn., an osprey nest at the King plant and a kestrel nest in Colorado.
Twenty-three years ago, an employee at the King plant spotted a peregrine falcon frequenting the plant stack, and Xcel Energy joined with the Raptor Resource Project (www.raptorresource.org) to save the endangered birds. Peregrine falcons began disappearing from their natural habitats during the 1950s, and by 1965 they had virtually disappeared from the eastern United States, with only a handful remaining in the Rocky Mountains. Xcel Energy became the first utility company in the world to place falcon nest boxes on its power plants. The idea spread to power plants nationally and as far away as Italy and Vietnam. To date, more than 1,000 young falcons have fledged from Midwest power plant nesting boxes.
The open space, vegetation and water surrounding Xcel Energy generating stations make them ideal wildlife habitats.