No Babies for the Prairie Falcons This Year—First Kiss Climbing Restrictions Lifted

June 26, 2019

Yesterday former Smith Rock Park Naturalist David Vick was able to check on the Prairie Falcon nest at First Kiss. He spent a couple of hours in the morning at the observation point again and never saw or heard any falcons. Vick was surprised, because even if they nested late this year one would still expect to hear a lot noise as the young are extremely vocal. In the end he concluded that the seasonal climbing closure can be lifted, much to the delight of summer climbers. What this translates to is only some Bald Eagle Camping Closures along the Bivy Rim, and Canyon Trail hiking advisories remain in place.

David Vick, former Smith Rock State Park Naturalist

David Vick, former Smith Rock State Park Naturalist

“Apparently they have abandoned this site for whatever reason. Perhaps one of the pair died or they could be nesting elsewhere in the park or nearby as there are thousands of potential nest sites and I continue to see them flying through the park. “

—David Vick, former Smith Rock State Park Naturalist

Vick went on to say, “It is actually a bit unusual that they have nested in the same location for so many seasons. In the past the Prairie Falcon have nested nearby at Pleasure Palace for a few years in a row. During one of those years there were two additional pairs nesting, one pair on Picnic Lunch Wall and another over in the Marsupials. I am not alarmed at the current downward trend for raptors in the park as it is normal for all populations to fluctuate up and down when the habitat is at carrying capacity. Currently their populations in Oregon are stable and the Peregrine population is continuing to expand.”

Maybe the Prairie Falcons decided to let the climbers have the area? Who knows? We hope they found a new home and are happily breeding away from human interference.