After being on the brink of extinction in the middle of the 1900s, the Peregrine Falcon has returned to the eastern US and its recovery in Vermont has reached its final stages. This iconic species is known for its speed, agility, and awe-inspiring beauty. With more than 55 pairs in 2020, Vermont peregrines are thriving thanks to the efforts of community scientists, state, federal, and private agencies, and landowners. Peregrines are considered a recovered species in Vermont, but their continued success is dependent on monitoring, nest site protection, and public education.
Lone Rock Point’s cliffs overlooking Lake Champlain have recently become home to nesting Peregrine Falcons. First discovered at Rock Point in 2014, the peregrines have nested successfully four out of six years of occupying the cliffs. The falcons return in late March each year to establish their territory and usually begin nesting in early April. During this period and throughout the nesting process, peregrines are sensitive to human disturbance and presence in areas either above their nesting ledge or on the cliff near their nest site. If disturbed, the falcons will swoop and fly, making a “cack, cack, cack” call. The Rock Point falcons have been tolerant of a certain amount of human presence on the trails above the cliffs in the past, but it is important to retreat from the cliff if people observe them acting agitated.
Submitted by Margaret Fowle, Conservation Biologist, Audubon VT
For more information on peregrines in Vermont, visit: Peregrine Falcon Monitoring and Management Project | Audubon Vermont