Peregrine falcon feeds chicks

The peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird that reaches speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, has found a home again this year at Valero’s Jefferson, Wisconsin, plant. It is one of about 30 sites in Wisconsin creating habitat for peregrine falcons to nest and reproduce.

Parent falcons return each year to the plant, where volunteers have built a nest box and placed it high up in an old grain elevator stairway, with window access. The employees installed a webcam near the nest to watch the birds and the progress of the eggs.

This year, three chicks hatched and fledged successfully, as their parents took turns feeding and then coaxing them out of the nest box to fly.

Normally, the plant invites employees and their families to watch as a visiting peregrine falcon researcher bands the small chicks for tracking purposes, since they remain on the state endangered birds list. The pandemic canceled that, this time. But while these chicks won’t be tracked, the parents are expected to return again next spring to begin again.

Valero is identifying other endangered species and critical habitat in the vicinity of its other facilities, and looking for opportunities like in Jefferson to help protect more species and preserve natural habitats.

Headline Photo: One of the rapidly growing peregrine falcon chicks takes flight, as the parents don't seem in a hurry to clear room.

Top Right: In his fatherly role, “Boreas” feeds three baby peregrine falcon chicks hatched this spring at the Valero Renewables-Jefferson plant in Wisconsin.