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Xcel Energy Bird Cam

 

Fresh from the Nest

Thank you all for your patience during our technical difficulties this season. The birds have returned, and all but three cameras are now working. We hope to have them operating shortly. Please join us again for the 2014 season.

Location and Nesting Times

American bald eagles at Fort St. Vrain, Platteville, Colo., and near a fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa, in late January through July.

Great horned owl cams at Valmont Station, Boulder, Colo., and at the Fort St. Vrain Station, Platteville, Colo., in late January through May.

Peregrine falcon cams at Allen S. King Plant, Oak Park Heights, Minn., Black Dog Plant, Burnsville, Minn., and Sherburne County (Sherco) Plant, Becker, Minn., in late February through early July.

Great Blue Herons at Riverside, Minneapolis, Minn., in late March through late July.

Kestrel cams at Pawnee, Brush, Colo., in late February through late July.

Osprey cams at Allen S. King Plant, Oak Park Heights, Minn., in late April through June.

History

In 1989, a plant employee spotted a peregrine falcon at our Allen S. King Plant in Oak Park Heights, Minn. Peregrine falcons began disappearing from their natural habitats during the 1950s, and by 1965, they had virtually disappeared from the eastern United States, with only a handful remaining in the Rocky Mountains. In an effort to save the peregrine falcon we became active partners with the Raptor Resource Project.

We designed and installed a nest box for peregrines at the King Plant. The nest box became the home to Mae, a peregrine, famed for her longevity and parenting skills.

As the peregrine population grew, so did our power plant nest project; which included active nest boxes at nearly all of our Minnesota power plants.

In 1997, we wanted to increase conservation awareness efforts and provide the public with opportunities to watch the birds and their families grow each spring. Our very first Bird Cam cameras were installed in the King Plant falcon nest.

Twenty years after the first peregrine falcon was spotted flying around our power plant site, the company has produced 1,000 young falcons. Today the peregrine, whose name means "wanderer," soars Midwestern skies once more and is no longer listed as an endangered species.

Our partnership with the Raptor Resource Project and the countless support from RRP Director Bob Anderson allows us to continuously raise conservation awareness and strive to create the best nesting homes for these riveting raptors. Bob Anderson and the RRP help us at Xcel Energy maintain and improve the bird cams to create optimal viewing capabilities. We believe in our environmental responsibility to respect the creatures surrounding our power plants and the help and support we receive from both the Raptor Resource Project and you as viewers are greatly appreciated.

Interested in corresponding with other Bird Cam viewers? Join the BirdCam Forum available through the Raptor Resource Project.

Educational Opportunities

Bird Cam offers great educational opportunities for the general public, birding enthusiasts and students.

  1. Energy Classroom, our interactive online site designed to teach 3rd - 5th grade students about energy and conservation, features a unit on Power & Wildlife that provides more information about eagles, owls, osprey, and peregrine falcons.
  2. Through the Xcel Energy Foundation, we have partnered with HawkQuest, an environmental raptor education group, to develop classroom curriculum that incorporates Bird Cam. Teachers interested in using Bird Cam in the classroom can find this curriculum on the HawkQuest website.

As open space and natural habitat gradually disappear with development, the property surrounding our plants and other facilities can continue to provide valuable habitat. We participate in a number of activities to help protect wildlife, including hosting conservation projects on our properties and working to protect birds around electrical facilities.