During a visit to our Briess Barley Operation in Ralston, WY, this past summer, I learned that Ralston is the second Briess operation that is home to a pair of nesting wild birds of prey.
For the past four years, a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks have nested and produced young from the top of a 750,000-bushel grain storage bin at Ralston. The nest is located on the landing of a 95′ escape ladder along the edge of the Bin #10 (which is the second large bin on the left). She generally stays from mid-March until early June and will lay between 2-4 eggs each year. These birds are excellent hunters and good for pest control, so we do everything we can to encourage their return, and make sure not to interfere with them when we are doing monthly bin measurements. She is also extremely protective, so we have to be careful when we are up top to watch for her. Check out this short video that Ross Erickson of our Wyoming staff took from the top of the elevator.
While the Red-Tailed Hawks are busy raising their young in Wyoming, a pair of Peregrine Falcons are busy raising their young from the top of our 244′ tall elevator in Manitowoc. The Peregrine Falcon nesting site is part of a program developed decades ago to restore the diminishing population of Peregrine Falcons. Stay tuned for next summer, when the Peregrine Falcons will return to Manitowoc. You can watch their activity on our Falcon Cam. There’s not much to watch now, as the falcons migrate south during the winter.
The Red-Tailed Hawks took up summer residence at our Ralston barley operation on their own. Susan Ahalt operates the non-profit Ironside Bird Rescue out of nearby Cody, WY, working solely from grants and donations. A year ago, our Wyoming staff called her when a baby red-tailed fell 90′ to the pavement from the top of one of the big silos. She promptly responded and took him home to nurse him back to health.
“I was amazed he wasn’t more damaged, but ‘Quad’ came through with only the broken wing. He was the most amazing baby, never looked back and when he got in his tail feathers they were a design I’d never seen before. I even sent a photo of the amazing tail to a red-tailed expert, he was in awe.” she provided these pictures taken when she first got him and later of his extraordinary tail design. She released him on a 1,000-acre ranch in the area of Meeteetse, WY.