Even though it hasn't really felt like spring yet this year, some birds have been braving the elements to start the breeding process. Peregrine Falcons have been back at their Vermont cliff nest sites since late winter, and many started incubating eggs in early/mid-April. Species like the peregrine need to start the nesting process early enough to raise their young and teach them how to hunt well enough to survive the winter on their own.
Vermont biologists and community scientists have been braving the elements to monitor these nesting cliffs, and there are more than 50 cliffs that appear to be occupied by these majestic falcons. We have documented at least one new territory this year. If successful, most peregrine pairs will hatch young mid/late May.
Several cliffs have been closed either to rock climbing or hiking so as to minimize disturbance to the birds during this critical time of the breeding season. These areas will remain closed until August 1, unless biologists determine the risk to nesting peregrines has passed. A list of closures is below, and for more information, visit http://vt.audubon.org/conservation/peregrine-falcon-recovery-project
- Barnet Roadcut (Barnet) – Rte 5 pullout closed
- Bolton Notch (Bolton) – UUW cliff – portions closed to climbing
- 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 Mt (Marshfield) - portions closed to climbing
- Mt 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 (S. Burlington) – southern cliff access closed
- Rattlesnake Point (Salisbury) – southern overlook closed
- Snake Mt (Addison) – overlook south of pond closed
For more specifics on closed climbing routes, visit https://cragvt.org/where-to-climb/closures/
To see the Press Release about cliff closures click here.