Rock climbers may be disappointed, but bird watchers certainly won’t — Zion National Park has closed several climbing routes on cliffs where peregrine falcons often nest.
The birds are sensitive to disturbances during mating season — from early March to early May — according to a news release from the park, and may even abandon their nests if they sense danger.
These climbing routes closed on Monday to allow falcons to nest:
The Great White Throne.
Isaac in the Court of Patriarchs.
Mountain of the Sun.
North Twin Brother.
The East Temple.
The Streaked Wall.
According to the news release, biologists and volunteers monitor where the falcons set up nests, and the cliffs without any nesting activity will reopen to climbing likely by late April or early May.
The cliffs where birds set up nests will stay closed for the rest of the breeding season, until the chicks fledge sometime around late July.
For up-to-date information on which climbing routes are closed, visit Zion National Park’s website.
According to the park’s website, Zion’s open landscape and high cliffs are a popular spot for peregrine falcons to nest every year. The bird was listed as an endangered species in 1970 after poisoning from the insecticide DDT caused a decline in population. The U.S. banned DDT in 1972, and captive breeding programs helped the peregrine falcon population recover; the species was delisted in 1999.