Photo by USFWS

Peregrine Falcons: Biologists extend closure of climbing wall

The eggs have hatched, but the chicks won’t be leaving home at the Deception Crag Wall until July 9th, keeping the wall off limits to climbers about a week longer than first announced.

Biologists discovered the nesting peregrine falcons in April, and have been monitoring them ever since.  “We first noticed the wee ones May 27th,” said Chris Anderson, Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. He said the birds are a bit late developing.

Egg incubation takes about 30-plus days. After hatching, it takes about six weeks before they abandon the nest or fledge. In the meantime, state and federal agencies will keep the climbing rock closed.

Washington State Parks report up to 200 people attempt to climb the wall on weekends. The area is a combination of Washington State Parks and U.S Forest Service managed lands and both agencies are working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the peregrine falcon nest.

The birds are on U.S. Forest Service land accessed through the John Wayne Pioneer Trail near Olallie State Park. The peregrine is designated a sensitive species and requires the Forest Service to protect its breeding habitat.

Peregrines have dark gray or black plumage on back and wings, and a black mark on the face resembling a mustache. The name “peregrine” means wanderer. The birds that nest in Alaska and northern Canada and winter in South America may migrate as much as 15,500 miles in a year.

For more information about the closure contact Sonny Paz at 425-888-8757 or Andrew Fielding at 509-665-4312.