MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Meet Rocket and Wildcat. They’re the newest members of the We Energies Peregrine Falcon family. They’re both males and were born three weeks ago at the Valley Power Plant in downtown Milwaukee.
“They were really fluffy and they had a little black. It was kind of black on their wings,” said 5th grader Anna Claerbaut.
On Friday, 5th graders from Cedar Grove-Belguim Elementary School got to watch as peregrine falcon researcher Greg Septon pulled the chicks from their man-made nest, then banded them with IDs.
“We band them to monitor the population to make sure that nothing bad is happening. We also find out where these birds go and how far they travel from where they're born,” said Septon.
The students chose the names.
“We picked Rocket because our school logo is the Rockets. Then we picked Wildcat because of our 5th grade Wildcats,” said 5th grader Nadia Dries.
They're the first of 30 peregrine falcon chicks that are expected to hatch at six We Energies power plants this spring. It's part of a program to restore the bird's population, which was nearly wiped out due to DDT pesticides 30 years ago.
“These are the birds that, at this point, are still entirely dependent on us for their survival,” said Septon.
Having kids participate teaches them a valuable lesson.
“I really want them to understand that people can make a difference, even kids can make a difference,” said 5th grade teacher Mary Anderson.
Because of this program, the school has even built its own nests, showing that others can help endangered birds soar to new heights as well.
“We are trying to help the American Kestrel,” said Anderson.
Real Milwaukee will be broadcasting live at the banding of four falcon chicks at the Oak Creek Power Plant on May 28. Viewers were able to submit names, which will be revealed that day.
In the meantime, you can watch the falcons live through We Energies webcams.