September 14, 2009

Peregrine Falcon Webcam Provides Window in to Nest


A pair of Peregrine Falcons named Sheila and Havoc has again returned to Alcoa Anglesea for a new breeding season, and have wasted no time in getting down to business, laying four eggs in late August.


Anyone can watch the action unfold on the live falcon webcam (www.alcoa.com/falcons) that provides a fascinating window in to daily life in a Peregrine Falcon nest. It continues to attract viewers and emails from around the world.

On 28 August, Sheila laid her first egg, and three more followed soon after.

The incubation period will now begin and Sheila will sit on her eggs for the next 33 - 35 days, rarely leaving them uncovered during this time. The hatching date is expected to be around 30 September.

Sheila and Havoc have returned to a new nest box this year, installed on the northeast side of the water tower facing away from the power station. Last year Sheila increased the ferocity in which she defended her territory, including a number of swooping strikes directed at our employees.

One possible contributor to Sheila’s bad mood was that the nest box faced northwest, directly toward the power station. This may have been a source of aggravation for Sheila, as she could see people moving back and forth and may have felt her nest was threatened. With the help of a 55m travel tower, a new, unpainted nest box was installed in the new location in July.

Time will tell if the nest relocation is a success. Currently, there have been no reports of swooping. However, the greatest amount of swooping activity occurs from late September - early December when the chicks have hatched and the female is no longer tied to the nest.


Media contact: Anthea Doran, Community Relations Officer, Anglesea Power Station – 0404 800 148


Background

Alcoa Anglesea has been home to a pair of Peregrine Falcons since 1991.The first nest box was built by environmental staff at the site and installed in 2004 on the site’s water tower. The height and aspect of this structure mimics the preferred natural nesting environment of this species. Normally peregrines can be found nesting on sheer cliff faces.

The most serious threats facing peregrines in Victoria are illegal persecution and the continuing loss and disturbance of suitable nest sites. Only 3 per cent of peregrine nests found in Victoria are on manmade structures, so Alcoa Anglesea is pleased to be able to provide a safe and secure site for this pair of falcons.

Alcoa has an ongoing interest and involvement with Peregrine Falcons in Victoria, with both the Anglesea and Point Henry sites working alongside the Victorian Peregrine Project (VPP) to assist with research and conservation of the species. This work is part of the environmental management work underway at each Alcoa site to promote conservation.