Peregrine falcons

Hikers and climbers can help nesting peregrine falcons by avoiding several Vermont cliff areas this spring and early summer.

Several cliff areas are currently closed for hiking to protect nesting peregrine falcons, and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Audubon Vermont recommend people check to see if the area they’re planning to hike or climb is open.

“Peregrine falcons are very sensitive to human presence, so we ask climbers and hikers to please maintain a respectful distance from all nests,” said Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s lead game warden. “The areas closed include the portions of the cliffs where the birds are nesting and the trails leading to the cliff tops or overlooks. These closures help people to choose an alternative route in advance.”

These sites will remain closed until August 1 or until the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department determines the risk to nesting falcons has passed. If nesting falcons choose new sites, additional sites may be added to the closed list at vtfishandwildlife.com.

Local areas include (but are not limited to):

• Bolton: Bolton Notch, UUW cliff; Bone Mt.

• Lowell: Hazens Notch

• Johnson: Prospect Rock trail rerouted around cliff top

Audubon Vermont conservation biologist Margaret Fowle works with volunteers and other conservation professionals to monitor the sites throughout the nesting season.

“Peregrine falcons were removed from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005 and the population continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of our many volunteers and partners,” Fowle said. “In many cases the lower portions of the trails remain open and we encourage people to enjoy watching peregrine falcons from a distance with binoculars or a scope.”

What you can do to help Vermont peregrines:

• Respect cliff closures, and retreat from any cliff where you see peregrines

• Report any disturbance of nesting peregrines to your local State Game Warden.

• Report any sightings to Margaret Fowle at mfowle@audubon.org.

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