For the first time, web cam viewers can experience first-hand what it’s like to tend to a peregrine falcon chick through the eyes of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Avian Biologist Kate Heyden.
Wearing a mobile camera, Heyden banded the three falcon chicks inside Mill Creek Station’s nest box on May 8. The chicks are expected to take their first flight in the next two to three weeks.
The banding process involves briefly removing the chicks from the nest and attaching unique leg bands that will allow biologists across North America to identify the falcons once they leave the nest.
The leg bands have different colors and number codes, which are entered into a database along with the bird's gender, date of hatching and nesting place. This database is available for all departments of fish and wildlife in North America as a way to track the falcons. Biologists can read the numbers on the bands with high-powered optics.
Heyden also checked and treated the chicks for feather mites and performed medical tests to check for a treatable avian disease that can affect their ability to swallow.
Since early March, nearly 50,000 new web cam viewers have watched the falcon chicks hatch and grow from inside Mill Creek’s nest box. Since the web cam first launched three years ago, it has drawn more than 200,000 viewers.
Watch the chicks from the live web cam as they prepare to take flight.
For more than 20 years, LG&E and KU employees have ensured the nest boxes at the company’s power plants provide a safe setting for peregrine falcons to prosper. More than 100 falcons have hatched from these nest boxes.