2019 Peregrine Watch Updates

2019 Peregrine Climbing Closure

Due to nesting Peregrine Falcons, the following areas are temporarily closed to rock climbing. The closure is in effect as of March 16, 2019.

  • Trapps Cliff: All rock climbs between and including Wisecrack (5.6) and Scary Area (5.12)
  • Trapps Bouldering: Problems between and including Atlas (V10) and Yikes (V9)
  • Millbrook Cliff: All rock climbs to the south of Westward Ha!
  • Bonticou Crag: The section known as The Sunbowl

To help protect the nesting Peregrine Falcons:

  • DO NOT use ascent trails or rappel routes that access these areas.
  • DO NOT use the trails at the top of the cliff in the closure area.
  • DO NOT use the section of the cliff base climbers trail between these routes.
  • PLEASE refrain from excessive noise making while in the vicinity of these closures.

Peregrine Falcons are listed by the State of New York as an Endangered Species and we are legally obligated to protect their nesting areas at Mohonk Preserve. The Peregrine breeding season may possibly run through late summer.

The Preserve has worked collaboratively with the climbing community for decades to help protect the Peregrine Falcons and appreciates their support of our conservation mission as they continue to enjoy the over 1,000 unrestricted climbing routes available at Mohonk Preserve.

This page will be updated throughout the season.

3.19.19 — Courtship Behavior

Temperatures are quickly warming up and our days are getting longer, and the Peregrines have noticed. We’re seeing a sharp uptake in breeding activity, as the birds have demonstrated courtship rituals and are zeroing in on the preferred nest locations for the year. Consequently, the Preserve has announced temporary climbing route and boulder problem closures at Trapps, Bonticou and Millbrook cliffs to protect the Peregrines during the crucial breeding season. It may still be days before any of the females lays her first egg for the year, but with all three pairs returning to the Ridge, odds are good that at least one of them will start very soon.  

The video below, from a nest cam in Pittsburgh, shows some of the behavior similar to what our Peregrine Watch volunteers are observing. Like many other birds, Peregrine Falcons show a very ritualized courtship behavior. Note the vocalizations and bowing behavior as the birds interact. There are eggs visible in the nest, but the courtship behavior indicates that the female has probably not finished laying.  

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