Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Falcon shot, injured; authorities search for suspects

2nd peregrine falcon found dead

We are sad to report that a peregrine falcon that has nested at one of our power plant nest boxes has been shot. The adult female falcon from our Milwaukee County Power Plant was found injured recently in West Allis. The bird was unable to fly and in obvious distress. The falcon, named Madame X, was taken to the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (WRC) where she is receiving around the clock care.

Madame X gets care at the Wisconsin Humane Society's 
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Madame X has suffered extensive injuries. She has several shotgun pellets lodged in her body. She also has a broken coracoid (collar bone) and likely will not fly again. But she is showing signs of improvement, and the staff at the rehabilitation center is impressed by her feistiness and hearty appetite.

Authorities believe Madame X was purposely shot and are asking for the public’s help in making an arrest. The falcon was found at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 in a yard outside the Cocktails and Dreams tavern at 55th and Grant in West Allis. Anyone who heard or saw anything unusual in this timeframe is asked to call the West Allis Crime Stoppers at 414-476-CASH (2274). Callers may request confidentiality.

A $5,000 reward is being offered by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the responsible party. The Waterford-based Global Conservation group also pledged $5,000. In addition, the We Energies Foundation is contributing $2,500 to the WRC for Madame X’s continued care and recovery.

Peregrine falcons are listed as an endangered species in Wisconsin. They also are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act. Shooting a peregrine falcon is a serious crime, punishable by jail time and fines. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the lead investigative agency in this case.

We have been involved in Wisconsin’s peregrine falcon recovery effort since the early 1990s. We sponsored the release of captive-produced peregrines and then installed nest boxes at six power plant sites. To date, nearly 200 peregrines have been produced at our facilities. Last year, peregrines nesting at our power plants accounted for 20 percent of Wisconsin’s total state production.

Nearly 200 peregrine falcons have 
been produced at our facilities since 
the early 1990s. 
The loss of Madame X from our Milwaukee County site is especially sad because she was the first falcon to successfully nest at that site. Last spring, she produced three young – Abigail, Vita and Stella. This was the first successful nest at Milwaukee County Power Plant since the plant’s nest box was installed in 2007. A successful nest for the 2014 nesting season at the site now is in jeopardy.

We also are sad to report that Swede, the adult male from our Valley Power Plant, was found dead recently. The bird suffered severe head trauma, although it’s unclear exactly what happened. Swede was 15 years old and had been a mainstay at Valley Power Plant for several nesting seasons. With Swede gone, a successful nest also is in jeopardy at this site.

We remain optimistic that new falcons will move into our Milwaukee County and Valley Power Plant sites as the nesting season is just getting underway. Once again, the public will be able to follow the activity via our live webcams, which will be available soon at we-energies.com/falcons.

We also remain optimistic that Madame X will continue to recover. We’re hoping she’ll eventually move to a new home at a nature center, where she can help in educational efforts. She can still live a long and healthy life, helping educate others about the importance of saving this endangered species.

CBS-58 News report

We Energies peregrine falcon website

No comments: