During breeding season, peregrine falcons get their first dibs on climbing cliffs

Published: 08/04/2022 17:23:19

Modified: 08/04/2022 17:22:18

The continued return of peregrine falcons to New England has led New Hampshire and Vermont to close some climbing and hiking areas where the birds like to nest.

The US Forest Service has closed the main bluff at Rumney Rocks in Rumney, one of the area’s most popular rock climbing spots, until birds have raised chicks in several nests. Main Cliff is Rumney’s highest and most popular climbing route.

Peregrine falcons frequently build nests on cliff edges, giving them good visibility of threats and allowing them to leave and return easily. They transferred this habit to human structures, placing nests on top of buildings, transmission towers and church steeples. An example is the nest that has been occupied for years atop an office tower at 1750 Elm St. in Manchester, hence New Hampshire Audubon footage stream as eggs are laid and chicks are raised.

In Vermont, the presence of nesting hawks has led the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor or close half a dozen hiking trails and rock climbing routes by August 1.

“Peregrine Falcons are very sensitive to human presence during their breeding season, so we ask that climbers and hikers please maintain a respectful distance from all nests,” the state wildlife biologist said. Vermont, Doug Morin, in a press release. “Closed areas include parts of the cliffs where birds nest and trails leading to cliff tops or lookouts.”

Additional sites can be added to the closed list at www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Likewise, several trails were closed in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Peregrine falcons are one of many bird species, including the bald eagle, that have been pushed to the brink of extinction by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT.

In 1975, the North American population of peregrine falcons reached a low of 324 breeding pairs. Since then, thanks to the DDT ban and breeding programs, the population has rebounded strongly. The species was removed from the national endangered species list in 1999.