As hikers stay clear, falcons end successful nesting season

Cliffs clear to hike and climb again Saturday

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MONTPELIER — Hikers and rock climbers can return to Vermont cliffs starting Saturday now that peregrine falcon nesting season has ended. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has confirmed that all the young falcons have learned to fly and should not be disturbed by human presence on the cliffs.

"The young peregrines have fledged, and nesting data suggest Vermont falcons had a very successful year. A final report will be issued later this year," said Vermont Fish & Wildlife's migratory bird biologist Doug Morin.

"The falcon's nesting success is due to a combination of good weather and the cooperation from hikers and rock climbers who observe a respectful distance from nesting falcons during this critical period. Peregrine nesting success would not be possible without more than 50 volunteers who monitor the nest sites statewide from March to the end of July," Morin said.

According to Audubon biologist Margaret Fowle, who coordinates the monitoring effort on behalf of the Fish & Wildlife Department, biologists and volunteers monitored peregrine pairs that occupied at least 56 Vermont cliffs in early spring and summer.

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

Vermont Fish & 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 Vermont Fish & Wildlife and Audubon Vermont will help ensure the peregrine's remarkable recovery in future years.

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