It's a new year and a new Bird Cam season! Over the next several months, viewers across the world will follow the lives of bald eagles, peregrine falcons as well as new additions to the Xcel Energy Bird Cams.
After months of nest-prepping, the egg watch is underway for the bald eagles at the Fort St. Vrain Station in Platteville, Colo. Last year, they laid their first egg on February 13 with two more following within a week. From the time the eggs hatch in March (the incubation period is typically 35 days) to fledging in June/July, viewers will have plenty of opportunities to watch the eaglets grow. Last year, two of the three eggs hatched and the two eaglets both fledged from the nest.
Eagles mate for life, and this pair has returned to the Fort St. Vrain nest for at least 17 years. The nest, which is 6-foot-wide by 5-foot-deep and estimated to weigh more than a ton, went online in 2003. More than 40 eaglets have hatched at this nest. However, the actual production rate – the number of eagles that make it to fledge – is lower.
Peregrine falcons are beginning to make appearances at the Minnesota Sherco, King and High Bridge plant nest boxes.
Last year's female at High Bridge, a 2016 hatch from Xcel Prairie Island, and the male, a 2016 hatch from Multifoods/City Center in Minneapolis laid two eggs, the first on April 13. Both falcons hatched and were banded.
The female at King, which is the oldest and most productive site, was a 2011 hatch from the MN Power Clay Boswell station in Cohasset, MN; the male was a 2012 hatch from the Colonnade Building in Golden Valley, MN. All three of their eggs, the first of which was laid on April 25, hatched.
A new female falcon nested at the Sherco box last year. While the first clutch failed as a result of a snowstorm, a second clutch in late April produced two healthy hatches.
Nesting activities will pick up in early March.
Last year during the Bomb Cyclone, the American kestrel box and cam were irreparably damaged. We are excited to report it has been repaired and will be in operation at Pawnee Generating Station in Brush, Colo.
The kestrels are expected to arrive in late February and stay through late July.
Follow Xcel Energy-Colorado on Facebook for the latest updates on the kestrels
Great Horned Owls
The owl nest box at the Fort St. Vrain Station remains unoccupied. With owl nesting behavior underway, the box will likely not be occupied this year.
Xcel Energy appreciates everyone who watches the Bird Cam. Learn more about the program by clicking the link below.
Figures provided by Raptor Resource Project