Hikers seeking higher ground should be aware that some clifftops and overlooks have been closed to human visitors temporarily to protect spots where peregrine falcons are nesting.
State wildlife officials have posted a dozen locations from Bolton to Fairlee where the majestic birds are raising their young.
“Peregrine nesting is well underway this spring,” said John Buck, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist. “The falcons are very sensitive to human presence so we ask climbers and hikers to please avoid the nest sites with a respectful distance. The closures help people to choose an alternative route in advance.”
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department partners with Audubon Vermont to monitor the sites throughout the nesting season. These sites will remain closed until August 1, but should a falcon pair not nest in a spot or if the nest is unsuccessful, the sites will be reopened sooner.
Nesting sites in nearby locations include:
• Bolton Notch in Bolton – upper west cliff closed to climbing.
• Bone Mountain in Bolton – portions of cliff closed to climbing.
• Deer Leap in Bristol – closed.
• Snake Mountain in Addison – overlook south of pond closed.
“The areas closed include the portions of the cliffs where the birds are nesting and the trails leading to the cliff tops or overlooks,” said Buck. “We will update the closure list as more nesting data are reported.”
Updates will be posted online at anr.vermont.gov.
Last year was a respectable nesting season for Vermont’s peregrine falcons, with more than 51 pairs successfully producing at least 63 young birds, according to wildlife officials.
“The peregrine’s recovery is a great success story,” said Margaret Fowle, Audubon Vermont conservation biologist. “The population continues to do well thanks to the efforts of our many community scientists and partners.”