With plant being decommissioned, nest box finds new home on a pole

With decommissioning of the Great River Energy power plant in Elk River underway, a new home has been found for a nest box that has long been used by peregrine falcons.

The nest box that had been located high atop the Elk River Energy Recovery Station has been relocated to a pole and platform adjacent to the original location on the plant.

“Now we are waiting for the falcons to return, which could be anytime,” said Brenda Geisler, administrative assistant at GRE who has looked after the nesting box since 2007.

Peregrines migrate in the fall but have been returning to the power plant each spring to nest.

What started as an Eagle Scout project with the Raptor Resource Project in 2006 grew to see 38 young peregrine falcons fledge from the Elk River location. A bird cam that operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week was watched and enjoyed by people locally, nationally and even worldwide.

“It is a very popular and productive nest site,” Geisler said.

Geisler, along with a group of other Great River Energy employees, spent time these last few months weighing various options for how to best handle moving the nesting box location while the falcons are gone for their southern migration.

The group ultimately decided to install the nesting box on a pole on Great River Energy’s Elk River campus — not far from the plant — which will offer a bit of familiarity for the falcons once they return, as well as the recommended height for the nest and the power for the birdcam.

“I am grateful that this important project is moving into its next phase and am hopeful that it will continue to evolve beyond the Elk River Station demolition,” Geisler said.

Last year four eyasses (baby falcons), two females and two males, resided in the nesting box.

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