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Peregrine nesting closes some trails

ADDISON COUNTY — It is time again for Peregrine falcon nesting season and a number of cliffside trails have been closed until further notice in order to protect nesting falcons and offspring. Some hiking trails have seen as increase in traffic as Vermonters get outside as a tonic for stay-at-home orders. In addition to trails closed by the state as part of coronavirus strictures, be sure to check if your chosen route has a nesting closure.
“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 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 vtfishandwildlife.com.
In Addison County and surrounding areas closed trails include:
• Deer Leap (Bristol) — cliff- top and climbing closed
• Mt Horrid (Rochester) — Great Cliff overlook 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,” said Fowle. “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 can you 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, and report any sightings to Margaret Fowle at margaret. [email protected]

 

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