Tracking their future: We Energies bands peregrine falcons

OAK CREEK (WITI) -- It was quite the show and tell at the Oak Creek We Energies power plant, as fourth graders from Country Dale Elementary School got to meet the company's newest additions.

"I thought it was pretty amazing because you usually don't get to see this very often," said 4th grader Stella Nastolski.

The students have been learning how peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out due to the widespread use of pesticides.

We Energies stepped in to help peregrine falcons in the 90s by placing nests on 6 of its power plants.

"They've been following the birds all along on our webcam and watching them grow and today it really brings that classroom instruction full circle as they get to go on a field trip and watch the banding," said We Energies Spokesperson Cathy Schulze.

Five of the power plant nests had eggs hatch.

Now that the babies are between 18 to 24 days old it's the perfect time to band them, because their legs are fully grown and they can determine the gender as the males are about one-third smaller than the females.

"They can travel great distances and by banding them it allows us to document that. We're learning a lot of things that we didn't know about peregrines before," said We Energies Peregrine Falcon Manager Greg Septon.

Researchers also took blood samples to track the genetic traits of the birds.

As the children watched, they announced the names they chose for their new friends.

"Franklin, Flash, Cliff, and Hunter," said Nastolski.

"All of them like mean something about them," said 4th grader Max Semancik.

Soon enough the birds will be on their own, but the kids hope they come back to their nests next year.

You can watch the baby peregrine falcons on the We Energies webcam only for about 2 more weeks before the birds take-off.

To watch the webcam, CLICK HERE.