Peregrine falcons are making a big comeback in Kentucky, thanks in part to the dedication of employees at many of LG&E and KU's facilities for the last 20 years.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has placed nest boxes at many locations throughout Kentucky, including locations at LG&E and KU's Trimble County, Mill Creek, Ghent and E.W. Brown generating stations. Peregrine falcons nest in power plant crevices and alcoves because the facilities have similar features to natural nesting locations such as mountain cliffs and ledges and provide ample food supply.
Since the 1990s, there have been tremendous efforts to reestablish a breeding population of peregrine falcons in Kentucky. The nest boxes provide peregrine falcons safe nesting opportunities at several generating stations, allowing this population to continue to increase.
Chick banding allows for KDFWR to monitor the survival and productivity of peregrine falcons. Whenever someone reports seeing a falcon with a colored leg band to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory, the location of the bird is shared with the bander. This allows KDFWR to see where Kentucky’s falcons disperse to after fledging and where birds from out of state originated.
The bands also allow KDFWR to keep track of each individual chick’s history. Officials are able to determine the age of the bird, its parents and siblings, and any offspring it produces. The banding database is available for all departments of fish and wildlife in North America as a way to track and identify the falcons. Biologists across North America can read the numbers on the bands with high-powered optics.
Employees have ensured the nest boxes on company property provide a safe setting for the falcons to prosper. Since 1999, more than 172 chicks have been banded by KDFWR at LG&E and KU generating stations. 170 chicks have successfully fledged from LG&E and KU facilities. The first chick fledged from Trimble Co. Station in 1999.