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Peregrine Falcon Nesting Cliffs Reopened for Hikers

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Peregrine Falcon Nesting Cliffs Reopened for Hikers

WATERBURY, VT – Hiking trails near peregrine falcon nesting cliffs are open to public access starting August 1, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The areas were closed to protect the birds from human disturbance during the nesting period.

“The young peregrines have fledged, and nesting data suggest this year’s productivity is among the lowest in recent years. The success rate of the monitored occupied sites was 64 percent, which was the lowest since 2003 and the fledgling rate was the lowest since 1990,” reports Fish and Wildlife’s migratory bird biologist John Buck. “The extreme wind and rain storms of April and May made it very difficult to rear young falcons. Predation and human disturbance may be additional factors in the lower nesting success,” said Buck.

According to Audubon biologist Margaret Fowle, who coordinates the monitoring effort, at least 38 pairs of peregrines occupied Vermont cliffs during the early spring and summer. Preliminary results indicate at least 28 pairs nested, and 18 pairs successfully produced at least 36 young.

“Given how successful Vermont peregrines have been in the past decade or so, it is my hope that this year will just be a blip on what has been an extremely positive trend since I first started on the project in 1997,” said Fowle.

“We greatly appreciate the time and effort our 40 volunteers put into monitoring the population this year, and we thank landowners and recreationists for their cooperation in protecting nesting peregrines from human disturbance,” added Fowle.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife and Audubon Vermont partner to monitor and protect peregrine nesting sites in Vermont. Peregrine falcons were removed from the state’s Threatened and Endangered Species List in 2005. Ongoing cooperation from recreationists and continued monitoring efforts by Audubon and Vermont Fish and Wildlife will help ensure the peregrine’s remarkable recovery is sustained.

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