MARCH 23, 2012 -- All you need is web access to get a bird's-eye view of peregrine falcons raising chicks in a nest box at Ameren's Sioux Energy Center in St. Louis. A new bird-nesting webcam is up and running in a unique partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ameren Missouri and the World Bird Sanctuary.
The nest can be viewed on three websites, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ameren Missouri and World Bird Sanctuary. Experts from the conservation department and the bird sanctuary are providing commentary on what is happening. The camera is live for viewing from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week.
"This peregrine project 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."
Ameren staff installed the webcam at the nest site in early January. Peregrine falcons have been seen at Sioux Energy Center since early 2011, and this year's nesting activities were first spotted in the beginning of February.
According to World Bird Sanctuary Director Jeff Meshach, the female peregrine falcon laid her first egg on Monday, March 12. She is expected to lay a total clutch of four to five eggs, with an additional egg laid every two to three days. The eggs are expected to hatch around April 12. The male falcon will bring food to the female and take his turns incubating the eggs so the female can feed and preen her feathers.
Meshach added that the peregrine falcon has made an incredible comeback from the brink of extinction.
"What we will see at Ameren's Sioux Energy Center nest box is the fruit of tens of thousands of hours of labor to make the peregrine falcon a common sight again," Meshach said. "There is always something to learn about any of our world's birds and animals. Our camera will provide a window into the nesting life of the world's fastest creature, and I personally will find it hard to get any desk work done as I watch my favorite of the world's bird species."
Considered the world's fastest animal, peregrine falcons have been clocked diving at 261 mph. For more information on peregrine falcons, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov.