Peregrine Falcon Eggs Hatch at Duke Energy's Miami Fort Station - Duke Energy

News Release
May 9, 2006

Peregrine Falcon Eggs Hatch at Duke Energy's Miami Fort Station

CINCINNATI -- Once again, Peregrine Falcons have returned to Duke Energy, formerly Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., Miami Fort Station in North Bend, Ohio. This is the seventh consecutive year that Mary Ellen, the resident female, has returned to nest 400 feet above the ground.

Accompanied again this year by an unbanded male partner, Mary Ellen has successfully hatched five eggs. Initially, Mary Ellen laid five eggs in early March. Since 1997, 38 eggs have been laid and 27 have successfully hatched by three different sets of falcons.

“We are all quite excited that all five eggs hatched this year,” said David Holstein, Miami Fort technical manager.  “We will continue to safely monitor their growth and the nest activities through a camera mounted to the nesting box and our internal webcam system.”

This year two birds, previously hatched at Miami Fort Station, have been located in Ohio. Powerhouse, hatched in 2002, has mated with Princess and nested atop the Fourth and Vine Tower in downtown Cincinnati. Female Striker, hatched in 2001, has taken up residence with her mate in the Toledo area.

As the young grow, they will nearly double their size from day to day. On May 11, representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife will be at the station to band the young and to take blood samples. The falcons will be fitted with a band on each leg. One band contains a national serial number used for tracking purposes. The second band, normally used to identify the falcon, is a two-colored band with a single large alphanumeric code on each color that can be easily seen from a distance. 

The blood samples will be used for genetic identification and research, with the data stored in a central databank with information about Peregrine Falcons from all over the nation.

Around early June, the young will have the appearance of an adult Peregrine Falcon and will learn how to fly and hunt.

To learn more about the falcons, visit the Peregrine Falcon page of ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Web site http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/falcons/default.htm

Background
Peregrine Falcons are one of the fastest creatures on earth, having been clocked at over 200 miles per hour as they dive for their prey. The female falcon is the larger of the sexes measuring 18 to 20 inches in length from beak to tail, having a 37- to 40-inch wingspan and weighing 1.6 to 2.4 pounds. Males, on the other hand, are 16 to 18 inches in length, have a 31- to 35-inch wingspan and weigh 1 to 1.5 pounds.

Peregrines prefer a habitat with tall cliffs that provide a clear view of the surroundings for hunting. A nearby source of water also helps to attract small prey for the birds to feed. The tall unit stacks at Miami Fort Station and location on the Ohio River provide an ideal nesting site for the birds. 

The Miami Fort Station project to attract Peregrine Falcons began in 1993 when employees built and installed a nesting box on the east side of Unit 8 stack, about 400 feet above ground level. Peregrine Falcons were still on the Endangered Species List at that time. Designs for the nesting box came from the Raptor Resource Project out of Minnesota.

The nesting box remained empty until 1997, when several employees spotted the birds in high-speed dives around the stack. A male and female did nest, but no eggs were laid that year.

In February 1998, two falcons again appeared. Toward the end of the month, the female was observed in the nest incubating two eggs. Unfortunately the eggs never developed and the peregrines eventually left for the summer. The male was identified as River Ace, who was born and banded in Evansville, Ind.

In February 1999, the pair returned to nest and four eggs were laid. But once again, the eggs failed to hatch. The female at that time was identified as Echo, who had also been banded and released from Evansville, Ind.

In February 2000, River Ace and a new mate, dubbed Mary Ellen, returned to lay and incubate eggs. Sadly, in 2002 River Ace was found dead on a road near the station, but Mary Ellen and her new mate continue to return and successfully lay and hatch young at Miami Fort Station.  

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in the Americas. Duke Energy’s Ohio operations deliver safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 680,000 electric customers and natural gas service to 420,000 customers. A diverse fuel mix of nuclear, coal-fired, hydroelectric and combustion-turbine generation provides approximately 28,000 megawatts of regulated generating capacity. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com

Contact: Kathy J. Meinke
Phone: 513/287-2121
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: Kathy.Meinke@duke-energy.com