Rock climbers and hikers are being asked by the Bureau of Land Management to avoid walls where raptors are nesting.
Each spring raptors return to the Indian Creek area near Monticello for nesting. Eagles, falcons, and other migratory birds use shallow depressions on ledges, cliffs and rock walls, and often return to the same site year after year to raise their young.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says that hikers and climbers should aim to voluntarily avoid nest sites during the critical nesting periods, typically in early March through late July. Avoiding use of certain climbing routes and hikes will help ensure successful fledgling of young birds.
BLM biologists will begin surveying nesting areas in March to determine which historic nest sites are active. Typically, by late April or early May, biologists can determine which nest sites birds have chosen to use. Walls and climbing routes without active nests will be cleared for climbing at this time.
The BLM requests that climbers avoid walls with active nests until the young birds have fledged, usually by late summer. Biologists will monitor nesting activity throughout the season and keep the climbing community and public informed of potential changes. Notices will also be posted at trailhead areas.
Beginning March 1, the public is being asked to avoid climbing the following walls in the Indian Creek area where birds are known to nest: The Wall, Far Side, Second Meat Wall, Disappointment Cliff, Fin Wall, Broken Tooth, Cat Wall, Slug Wall and Reservoir Wall.
The BLM said it is coordinating these raptor protection efforts with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, the administrator of the Disappointment Cliffs and portions of the Second Meat Wall climbing areas.
BECOME A CITIZEN SCIENTIST AND MONITOR NESTS
The BLM said on March 11 that the Raptor Inventory Nest Survey needs volunteers to become involved as citizen scientists in a long-term nest-monitoring project.
Volunteers do not need prior knowledge of how to identify a raptor or discover a nest; complete training is provided.
The annual Raptor Inventory Nest Survey offers volunteers a unique opportunity to learn about Utah’s eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.
The only requirement is that volunteers enjoy Utah’s outdoors, particularly remote areas, and possess a desire to help the magnificent birds of prey.
The Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (RINS) organization collects and manages data regarding the nesting ecology of eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and owls. The survey provides valuable data to various federal and state agencies.
Training workshops for volunteers will be held noon-4:30 p.m. on two days.
The first training is offered on March 19 at the BLM-Vernal Field Office, located at 170 S. 500 East, in Vernal.
The second training is in Price on March 26, at the BLM-Price Field Office located at 124 S. 600 West.
It is recommended that volunteers own a pair of binoculars, a GPS unit, a digital camera and have an email address. The time commitment involves monitoring visits to an assigned area from March through July.
For more information, contact RINS at 801-554-0807 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://rins.org.
The BLM said that while falcons and eagles are not overly common sights in southeastern Utah, they are present throughout the area and keen eyed observers are sometimes rewarded with their aerial acrobatics.
Visitors can watch adult birds hunt or observe the antics of young raptors perfecting their flying techniques. The BLM said it would like to remind the public to respect wildlife and retain a safe viewing distance. These species in Utah continue to recover from low population levels, thanks in part to cooperation from the public, climbing communities and governmental partners, the BLM said in a press release.
BLM requests the public’s help as nesting season begins; nest survey volunteers needed