PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two people scaled the stacks of an Ottawa County power plant Friday, in hopes of helping an endangered species rebound in Michigan.
Representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Consumers Energy climbed the JH Campbell Generating Complex in West Olive to band three peregrine falcon chicks.
Each chick received two sets of bands to identify them and track their flight and migration patterns.
“I think this is really important. I mean, we’re making a lot of progress, and maybe one day will come when we no longer feel we have the need to track these birds,” said DNR wildlife biologist Nick Kalejs. “But… this is an endangered species in Michigan and still considered a threatened species federally, so it’s a very rare bird and the banding provides a lot of useful information.”
The pesticide DDT played a role in the decline of peregrines. The U.S. banned the use of DDT in the early 1970s.
Consumers Energy says West Michigan has become one of the most successful breeding regions for peregrine falcons. The utility company estimates at least 42 peregrine chicks have hatched at the Campbell Complex since 2004, and more than 45 peregrine falcons hatched between 2003 and 2015 at the former B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon.