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      Peregrine falcon recovery effort seeing success

      Peregrine falcons have nested at the WE Energies Presque Isle Power Plant once again this year. The birds were banded this weekend, and plant officials invited the community to watch.

      The birds are banded. It's a way for researchers to monitor where these endangered birds go and if they survive when they fly the coop. Families from the Marquette area came to see these rare babies.

      "I was just kind of blown away, the whole science behind it and how adorable they are," said Jean Crunkleton, watching with her son.

      The mother falcon wasn't too happy when her four chicks were taken away. Neither were the babies, and they let you know it.

      "Something you wouldn't really want to mess around with," said Ry Swaty, laughing.

      But the banding is a short, harmless, and important process. The peregrine falcon population took a heavy hit when DDT was being used in pesticides in the 1960s. The banding is part of the recovery effort. WE Energies has six power plants in Wisconsin and the U.P., each with a successful nest.

      "Power plants, by their very nature, are secure. No one is going to bother these birds up on top of chimneys where they nest or on the sides of these chimneys...If the power plants had not been involved in this program early on, we would have nowhere near the recovery of this species in the Midwest that we have today," said Greg Septon, peregrine falcon researcher.

      This marks the third year that falcons have nested at the Presque Isle Power Plant, and it's the same mother each time.

      "They were really cute. I really liked seeing the different sizes, and I thought it was really cool," said Logan Vear.

      "I thought they were very unique in their different personalities, and I think that was really interesting to see," Swaty said.

      After the banding, the chicks are returned home to their nest box 200 feet up the plant's south stack. The four falcons are expected to take their first flight in under three weeks.

      The guests named the three female and one male (in no particular order) Blaze, Blossom, Perry, and Haukka.