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Ameren, Dept. of Conservation and World Bird Sanctuary team up to save Peregrine Falcons

WEST ALTON, MO - It`s a trio of organizations working together to save a species in West Alton, Missouri.

“Power plants are actually a great place for peregrines to live,” says Jeff Meshach, Deputy Director World Bird Sanctuary.  “They like to hunt and eat almost strictly other birds.  They like to hunt over vast open areas.”

In years past, warm waters near the Sioux energy center and acres of corn nearby meant pigeons were plentiful and both a nuisance and health risk.

Since 2011 Peregrine Falcons have called this stack home, reproducing and keeping away pigeons.

At the coal-fired power plant Monday morning the World Bird Sanctuary, Missouri Department of Conservation and Ameren were on a mission to place tracking bands on new falcons in the nesting box.

“I think the idea is to minimize the stress on the birds and of course, mother and father are swarming around trying to be protective of their nest”' says Dan Zarlenga, Missouri Department of Conservation.

“A great mom,” says Meshach.  “She struck me half a dozen times while I was up there at the box.”

Great heights and hurdles to overcome, all to try and band and track a bird on the edge of a girder and extinction.

“Four eggs and two babies,” says Meshach.  “Both of them hatched on April 23rd so they`re 21 days old today.”

But sometime Saturday strong winds knocked both birds out of their box.

Only one survived with a few broken toes.

“Its 167 feet off the ground and somehow that wind blew it,” says Meshach.  “They are completely helpless, they can`t fly at all as babies.  Got blown out of that box, wind sucked it out and somehow it made it to the grating about eight below the box and survived.”

The three-week-old male Peregrine Falcon will spend time at the World Bird Sanctuary healing before being released into the wild.