Xcel: Nesting boxes set up at power plants helping falcons flourish

File photo of falcons at Sherco Power Plant (Credit: Xcel Energy/Facebook)

Boxes set up at Minnesota power plants are helping boost peregrine falcon populations as part of a larger effort to protect the formerly endangered species, Xcel officials say.

More than 200 peregrine falcons have hatched at Xcel power plants since 1989, officials said Thursday as the company showcased the wildlife effort while banding a new set of hatchlings at Allen S. King Power Plant.

Xcel started the project in partnership with wildlife advocacy group The Raptor Resource Project in 1989 after a then-rare falcon was spotted by a worker at Allen S. King Plant. Since then, the plant has been home to many falcons.

Peregrine falcon populations were threatened during the mid-20th century as the use of chemicals like DDT increased. But, a nationwide program to protect the birds, paired with the banning of DDT, has helped falcon populations rebound in a big way.

As part of the advocacy effort, Xcel has set up falcon cams so members of the public can get a look at the new eyass. You can check that out here.