The Minnesota Zoo is well known for its 485 acre facility in Apple Valley, Minnesota – just minutes away from the Mall of America. However people may be less familiar with the amazing work the Zoo does outside of Minnesota. The Zoo’s Conservation Advisory Team and the Minnesota Zoo Foundation have been sending Zoo staff around the world for years with the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant. This grant allows staff to help support conservation projects they are personally passionate about and even participate hands-on in the research, if possible. Since 2005, this grant program has supported six separate grants to the Midwest Peregrine Society.
Queens Bluff SNA, Great River Bluffs State Park May 20, 2014
My name is Jenny Prom and I am a Certified Veterinary Technician here at the Minnesota Zoo. I volunteer for the Midwest Peregrine Society’s monitoring and restoration project. This spring, the Minnesota Zoo’s Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program funded supplies and travel money to the project.
We had a beautiful morning to start the 2014 banding season. After about a half mile hike to the edge of Queens Bluff, we ended up 500-600 feet above the Mississippi River. Equipment was set up and climbers started down the cliff’s edge. The adult male and female peregrines flew over head watching.
Soon the box holding four peregrine chicks was retrieved and at the top of the cliff. The banding team determined sex, did a health check, collected a blood sample and placed a state and federal band- one on each leg to identify each chick.
The four female chicks, determined to be 20-21 days old, were vocal and healthy with full crops today.
This historic site continues to be one of the most productive natural cliff sites on the Mississippi River, and is usually the first site we band to start the season.
The banding team today included Jackie Fallon (Midwest Peregrine Society State Coordinator), Jenny Prom (Minnesota Zoo), Sandy Thompson (Minnesota Falconer’s Association), Jennifer Drayna (National Eagle Center/MPS) and Jim and Mark Mussell (climbers).
Guests: Crystal Gehring, Sara Fanning and Ray Faber (St. Mary’s University), Chris and Hailey Samples (DNR family)
You can read Part Two of my field research here.