Three Peregrine Falcons Banded in Wabasha

Posted at: 06/25/2014 11:32 PM
By: Meghan Reistad

(ABC 6 News) -- Minnesota is home to more peregrine falcons than any other Midwest state. Birds that were once an endangered species are now thriving because of conservation efforts.

May to July is peregrine falcon banding season in Minnesota. Wednesday, the Midwest Peregrine Society and MnDOT teamed up to check on peregrine chicks on the Wabasha-Nelson Bridge over the Mississippi River.

In 2009, MnDOT placed a nesting box under the bridge. For five years it sat empty. Now three chicks live in the nest, two females and one male.

The Peregrine Society took blood samples and banded the birds. This was the 24th nest visited and 75th bird banded this season.

The pesticide DDT almost took out the peregrine population in Minnesota in the 1970s. Since then, conservation groups have worked to fix the problem.

MnDOT joined the team because peregrine falcons help control pest populations on bridges. Peregrine falcons typically eat other birds and help control the number of pigeons on bridges.

The Midwest Peregrine Society is a non-profit organization that operates off of volunteer support and donations. The typical cost to band a chick is $8, and the overall cost every year is around $5000.