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Latest 2009 Raptor Monitoring Report

Prairie falcons (PRFA) and the Hawkins peregrine falcon (PEFA) pair are actively incubating eggs and have started hatching nestlings. At present the following have been documented: 11 PRFA pairs with confirmed nests, and the PEFA nesting pair. These are listed below:

  • Discovery Wall: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Goat Rock: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Egg / Teapot: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair, nest and nestlings confirmed
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks): PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • South / North Balconies: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Machete: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Drywall: PRFA pair, nest and nestlings confirmed
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Pig Canyon: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • D. Soto Canyon: PRFA pair, nest confirmed

PRFA nesting efforts appear to be proceeding successfully this year, with 11 nests confirmed for 2009, on par with the 23-year averages for the monitoring program. Young PRFA nestlings have been confirmed at Drywall and Crowley, with other nest sites likely hatching falcon young as well.

Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, Little Pinnacles, and at the south end of Discovery Wall to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of hiking and climbing during the nesting season. If you arenít sure what areas are covered by the advisories, please refer to the advisory handouts or contact me for clarification. Any assistance park staff can provide in diverting visitors from advisory areas, and reporting incidents of climbers and hikers in advisory areas to law enforcement staff, is highly appreciated!

Other raptor species are also raising and feeding nestlings now as well, including golden eagles (GOEA), red-tailed hawks (RTHA), and red-shouldered hawks (RSHA). Currently there are documented nest sites for 2 GOEA pairs, 7 RTHA pairs, and a RSHA pair. These are listed below:

  • North Chalone Peak: GOEA pair, nest confirmed
  • Eucalyptus Grove (near west side PINN entrance): GOEA pair, nest confirmed
  • Cemetery Gates: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • Hand: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • Eagle Rock: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • North Balconies: RTHA pair, nest and nestlings confirmed
  • McCabe Canyon: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • West Side Entrance: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • Butterfield Canyon: RTHA pair, nest confirmed
  • McCabe Canyon: RSHA pair, nest confirmed

Although nests have not been confirmed, territorial RTHA pairs have also been documented at Grassy Canyon and Western Front. RSHA pairs have also been confirmed at Pinnacles Campground, near the Bacon homestead, and in South Wilderness. American kestrel pairs have been documented throughout the park, but nest sites have not been confirmed yet. White-tailed kites have been absent throughout the park this year, and nest sites have not been confirmed for any owl species yet.

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, contact Gavin at extension, 276. Thanks!

Gavin Emmons, Raptor Biologist
Pinnacles National Monument
5000 Highway 146
Paicines, CA 95043
(831) 389-4486 x276

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