You can watch the daily activities of a pelican nesting colony on the live streaming Internet video webcam at the Stewards of Upper Mississippi River Refuge website: www. stewardsumrr.org. It is a busy time on the island and the antics of the pelicans are entertaining. The pelicans are expanding their nesting territories to other sandy beaches, which puts them in conflict with people who also want to enjoy the beach. Please avoid the beaches where pelican nesting colonies are present because minimal disturbance may result in colony abandonment.
The Stewards live streaming Internet webcam also features a peregrine falcon nest box that is located atop the Consolidated Grain and Barge Company’s grain elevator in Savanna Ill. A clutch of five eggs is being incubated that will make for a busy time for the parents.
Sandhill cranes are also nesting but still haven’t figured out the spring pulse of the river. They nest in shallow water areas with minimal nest materials to keep the eggs dry. The spring high water has once again flooded several nests. The Midwest Crane Count was conducted on April 12 in association with the International Crane Foundation and 10-12 pairs of sandhills are in the area.
Bald eagle nesting is also in full swing. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is an important bald eagle concentration area with thousands of eagles in winter and hundreds of nests in spring. In 2013, there were 311 active bald eagle nests on the Refuge. With the increase in number of nests, bald eagles are moving farther away from the Mississippi River and in close proximity to people.
Ed Britton is a wildlife refuge manager on Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and volunteer at Bickelhaupt Arboretum.