MANAGING CLIMBING ACCESS TO AVOID DISTURBANCE TO NESTING PEREGRINE FALCONS IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
Crystal L. Barnes; Yosemite National Park; 9039 Village Drive, Yosemite, CA, 95389; (740) 279-9785; turtalleo@hotmail.com; Sarah L. Stock, Crystal L. Barnes
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) populations are increasing as the threat of DDT diminishes across their breeding range. They occur often in popular climbing areas, and land managers are faced with the dilemma of providing access for climbers while protecting an increasing number of active nests. In Yosemite National Park, over a ten-year period (2009-18), we confirmed an increase in the number of nest locations from five to thirty. Concurrently, we increased the initial number of climbing closures to protect the birds from disturbance from five to fifteen. To build and maintain climber access and trust, we implemented an adaptive approach by systematically closing certain routes adjacent to and within view of active nests, promptly lifting closures when nests were not active, shrinking closure areas based on tolerance levels of individual pairs, reducing the overall closure period, and communicating and messaging the closures directly with climbers. We used these strategies in relation to nesting activity and behavior of each nesting pair. Since initiating this adaptive approach and increasing communication with climbers, climbers have shown higher levels of compliance and tolerance with the closures and an increasing appreciation for the success of the peregrines.
Yosemite Restoration II