Get a Bird’s-eye View of Birds of Prey at PPL
Webcam Helps Raise Awareness of Raptors in Pennsylvania
Ospreys, peregrine falcons, eagles and barn owls are soaring throughout Pennsylvania’s skies, thanks in part to PPL Corporation’s efforts to help restore the once-dwindling populations of raptors. And now PPL is offering the public a bird’s-eye view of the birds of prey that nest at the company’s power plants and other facilities.
“PPL dedicates resources to enhance habitat for threatened or endangered wildlife and works with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other conservationists to monitor their progress,” said Bob Barkanic, director of environmental management for PPL. “We are glad to be able to share these rare glimpses of ospreys, falcons and eagles with the public.”
FalconPPL is launching a Web site and webcam so the public can watch the falcons that have taken up residence on the emissions stacks at PPL’s Montour power plant in north central Pennsylvania. The peregrine falcons began nesting at Montour in 2007, and this year have four eggs that are expected to hatch around Mother’s Day.
In addition, the Web site, birdsofpreyatppl.com, will provide updates and photographs on all the birds of prey that live at PPL facilities.
Peregrine falcons are considered an endangered species in Pennsylvania. They were nearly wiped out due to pesticide use in the 1960s. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, the peregrine population is rising once again.
In the 1990s, PPL built nest boxes at its headquarters and several power plants and began releasing young falcons to the wild in the hopes that the falcons would return to nest at the sites.
With the installation of pollution control equipment known as scrubbers, the emissions stack at Montour was retired. The plant has kept the elevators on the stacks in operation to be able to maintain the falcon nest, which is located about 470 feet above the ground.
In addition to the nest at Montour, a pair of peregrine falcons have made a home atop the company’s 23-story headquarters building in Allentown, Pa. It’s the first documented peregrine falcon nest in the Lehigh Valley, and the falcons produced their first eggs this year.
“Out of 24 known nesting sites in Pennsylvania, four are located at PPL facilities,” Barkanic said. “Until now, only a few PPL employees had a chance to see these rare birds. But now everyone can follow the progress of the peregrine eggs and chicks at Montour.”
Other birds of prey featured on the Web site include the peregrine falcons nesting at the Martins Creek power plant near Easton, Pa., bald eagles nesting near the Holtwood hydroelectric plant on the Susquehanna River in York County, and ospreys nesting near the Lake Wallenpaupack hydroelectric plant in the Poconos.
The bald eagle nests at Holtwood have been very successful, fledging 22 eaglets over the last 10 years.
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