Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

June 23, 2014

Orange barrels on a highway

Peregrine falcon chicks on Mississippi River bridge in Wabasha to be banded, tested

Media: If you plan to be at the site for coverage, please contact Mike Dougherty by 4 p.m., Monday, June 23, so we can make accommodations to ensure safety on the bridge. (507-251-2749)

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be aiding the Midwest Peregrine Society on Wednesday, June 25 in its efforts to retrieve, band and take a blood sample from the newly hatched peregrine falcon chicks from a nesting box on the Michael Duane Clickner Memorial Bridge in Wabasha.

This is the first time the falcons have had chicks since the Midwest Peregrine Society and MnDOT established this nesting box in 2009 on the bridge over the Mississippi River.

The work will begin at 8 a.m. and will require a brief lane closure on the bridge so that the work can be safely completed. Motorists may experience a brief delay until the work is completed. The public can safely view the brief work from the Minnesota side below the bridge downstream.

MnDOT will assist Midwest Peregrine Society workers to access the site on a bridge pier, where workers will place the nestlings in a special transport box.  Then, one at a time, one person will remove a chick from the box while another worker takes a small blood sample for research and places two bands on the bird’s legs. Workers process all the chicks, take photos and return the chicks quickly, before returning to the bridge deck.

The eggs hatch after about 35 days and the chicks fledge about 6 weeks after hatching. During this time, the adults are very defensive around the site and for another month or so while the chicks gain their independence.

Both adults are banded, although the Midwest Peregrine Society is still trying to get the complete band number on the female. The male is named Hedweg, a 2011 fledge from WPS Weston Power Plant Rothschild, Wisconsin, and was observed at this site in 2012.

MnDOT and its partners worked together on this project to gain the most value possible for the public. MnDOT also partners with the Midwest Peregrine Society elsewhere in Minnesota where falcons have nesting boxes on MnDOT structures.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work and emergency zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org, call 5-1-1 or visit www.mndot.gov.