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  • Raptor Closures Update - July, 2021

    The breeding raptor season is finally wrapping up at Pinnacles National Park and I wanted to provide a final update for 2021. All Raprot closures have been lifted.

Raptor Closures Update - April, 2021

Hey Everyone -

The breeding raptor season is in full swing again at Pinnacles National Park; here is an update on raptor activity through April 2021.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) and peregrine falcons (PEFA) have returned to nesting territories and are actively nesting and incubating eggs in cliff cavity sites. Raptor advisories are in effect, and advisory signs are posted at Balconies, Hawkins Peak, and near Little Pinnacles / Yaks Wall. For current advisories in effect, refer to the PINN raptor advisories page.

For the 2021 season, nine pairs of PRFA and four pairs of PEFA have been confirmed occupying territories. Of these, seven PRFA pairs and two PEFA pairs have been confirmed nesting so far. For information on territory locations and rock formations, refer to Brad Young's climber's guidebook to Pinnacles.

PRFA and PEFA breeding efforts for 2021 are listed below:

  • Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair nesting
  • South Balconies: PRFA pair nesting
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair nesting
  • Citadel: PRFA pair nesting
  • Willow Spring Slide: PRFA pair confirmed, nesting likely
  • South Chalone Peak: PRFA pair confirmed, nesting likely
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair nesting
  • Drywall Slide: PRFA pair nesting
  • Gargoyle / Piedras Bonitas Cliffs: PRFA pair nesting
  • Little Pinnacles / Yaks Wall: PEFA pair nesting
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair nesting
  • General / North Balconies: PEFA pair confirmed, nesting likely
  • South Chalone Peak: PEFA pair confirmed, nesting likely

As noted above, climbing and hiking advisories are in effect for the 2021 season. The official park website reflects current advisories in effect, as do the Friends of Pinnacles and Mud 'n Crud websites. Let me know if you have further questions.

PRFA pairs at Drywall Slide and Piedras Bonitas Cliffs have reoccupied and nested at these respective territories for the first time in a number of years. Check out the photo gallery below for a few photos of these impressive birds defending their territories.

In addition to PRFA and PEFA, other raptor species active in the park this year have included American kestrels, red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, great horned and barn owls, and Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks. So far we have confirmed 7 red-tailed hawk and 5 red-shouldered hawk nests for the 2021 season.

A golden eagle pair has also been confirmed nesting in the park this year and is currently raising two young nestlings. Like cliff-cavity nesting falcons, golden eagles are quite sensitive to human disturbance, so it is exciting to see a golden eagle pair breeding at the park this year (see photo gallery below).

This year several people are assisting with raptor monitoring at Pinnacles - Megan Gnekow, Mike Baird, Joseph Belli, and Danae Mouton. All of them have been working with the condor and / or raptor monitoring programs for years, and their assistance in confirming raptor status at the park is greatly appreciated!

Thank you to all the staff who have continued to provide me with raptor observations; every detail on raptor behavior helps to provide a more complete picture of raptor breeding at the park. If anyone on staff wishes to report raptor or other observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please email details of observations including species, date, location, and times. Your reports help us comprehensively track raptor activity at the park over the years.

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me via email or extension 4279. Thanks!

GAVIN EMMONS
Wildlife Specialist
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043
831-389-4486 x4279


Pinnacles News

  • Raptor Closures Update - July, 2021

    The breeding raptor season is finally wrapping up at Pinnacles National Park and I wanted to provide a final update for 2021. All Raprot closures have been lifted.

    <read more>

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