Peregrine falcon nest

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

Some cliff tops and overlooks have been closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons in Vermont.

“Peregrine falcons are very sensitive to human presence during their breeding season, so we ask climbers and hikers to please maintain a respectful distance from all nests,” said state wildlife biologist Doug Morin. “The areas closed include the portions of the cliffs where the birds are nesting and the trails leading to cliff tops or overlooks.” 

These sites will remain closed until at least Aug. 1 or until the Vermont Fish and 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 vtfishand wildlife.com.

The closed list:

  • Barnet Roadcut (Barnet) – Route 5 pullout closed
  • Bolton Notch (Bolton) – UUW cliff – cliff access and climbing closed
  • Bone Mt (Bolton) – portions closed to climbing
  • Deer Leap (Bristol) – cliff-top and climbing closed
  • Eagle Ledge (Vershire) – closed to hiking and climbing
  • Fairlee Palisades (Fairlee) – cliff-top closed
  • Hazens Notch (Lowell) – closed to climbing
  • Marshfield Mountain (Marshfield) - portions closed to climbing
  • Mount Horrid (Rochester) – Great Cliff overlook closed
  • Nichols Ledge (Woodbury) – cliff-top closed
  • Prospect Rock (Johnson) – cliff-top (trail has been re-routed) and climbing closed
  • Red Rocks Park (South Burlington) – southern cliff access closed
  • Rattlesnake Point (Salisbury) – southern overlook closed
  • Snake Mountain (Addison) – overlook south of pond closed

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 margaret.fowle@audubon.org.

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