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April Raptor / Climbing Advisories Update · Pinnacles National Park Joins National Find Your Park Movement · Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update

April Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update (4/12/2015)

Hey Everyone -

Here is an update on raptor activity at Pinnacles National Park for the 5 weeks.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) have selected nest sites and are incubating eggs. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs - one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years - wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively... So far the Balconies pair has been confirmed incubating eggs, and the Hawkins pair is finishing nest site selection. A third PEFA pair has been observed sporadically at Drywall Slide and appears to be occupying the area as a feeding territory. At present the following have been documented: 8 territories with PRFA pairs, 1 more territories with at least a single prairie falcon, and the 3 PEFA territories. These are listed below:

  • Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair, nest confirmed
  • South Balconies: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Citadel: PRFA pair, likely abandoned area
  • Willow Spring Slide: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Drywall Slide: PEFA pair
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • South Chalone Peak: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair, nest confirmed

The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:

  • Pig Canyon
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
  • North Balconies
  • Machete Ridge
  • Scout Peak
  • Western Front
  • Discovery Wall
  • Pipsqueak Pinnacles
  • Frog / Hand
  • Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
  • Tugboat
  • D. Soto Canyon
  • Guard Rock
  • Rocks West of Chalone Housing
  • Mating Rocks / Tugboat
  • North Wilderness Rock
  • South Wilderness Rock

In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules, though overall numbers of PRFA pairs are a bit lower than average. PEFA activity has also been observed at Little Pinnacles and the Reservoir, likely representing falcons from the Hawkins pair that are hunting for pigeons and other potential prey.

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. 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!

Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No nesting activity has been confirmed yet.

Nests have been confirmed for other raptor species as well. These include 7 red-tailed hawk nests, 2 red-shouldered hawk nests, and an American kestrel nest. Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors, and are beginning to focus on potential nesting territories for late-season nesting efforts. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge. Long-eared owls have been observed at the north extent of the North Wilderness Trail.

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 observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Paul Johnson, Joseph Belli, Megan Gnekow, and Aly Schmidt are part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.

In addition, thanks to Mike Shelley, Mike Baird, Jack Peabody, Dan Ryan, Brent Johnson, Arianna Punzalan, Rose Fielding, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!

GAVIN EMMONS * Raptor / Condor Biologist
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043 * 831-389-4486 x276
Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park Joins National Find Your Park Movement (4/1/2015)

National Park Week 2015 Encourages Everyone To Find Your Park
               
Paicines, CA - Pinnacles National Park joins parks, programs, and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at FindYourPark.com. Launched yesterday by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, Find Your Park is a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.

Find Your Park invites the public to see that a national park can be more than a place -- it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well as the National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.

"Find Your Park" is also the theme for this year's National Park Week, April 18-26. Pinnacles will be celebrating the National Park Service centennial during National Park Week 2015. There will be special programs throughout the week. The weekend will end with an Earth Day Habitat Restoration Service Event on Saturday April 25, 2015 from 9:30 am - 1 pm meeting on the Visitor Center on the eastside of the park. Find your park and take an active part in preserving it by lending a helpful hand. Event details can be found at the volunteer.gov website.

"National Park Week provides a great opportunity for visitors of all ages to come out and explore their National Parks," said Superintendent Karen Beppler-Dorn. "We invite you to celebrate National Park Week and find your park in Pinnacles National Park."

Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more about how you can join parks, programs, and partners in celebrating National Park Week across the country.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update (3/16/2015)

Hey Everyone -

Here is an update on raptor activity at Pinnacles National Park for the 5 weeks.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) have established territories and are engaging in courtship displays and site preparations for nesting. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs – one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years – wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively, calling to each other, engaging in courtship displays, defending the territories by chasing other birds (condors, hawks, and ravens) out of the areas, and inspecting potential nest sites. A third PEFA pair was briefly observed at Drywall Slide in January has not been seen again, and a PRFA pair is now occupying the Drywall territory.

At present the following have been documented: 7 territories with PRFA pairs, 3 more territories with single prairie falcons, and the 2 PEFA territories. These are listed below:

  • Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair
  • South Balconies: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair
  • Machete / Citadel: PRFA pair
  • Willow Spring Slide: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Drywall Slide: PRFA pair
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair
  • South Chalone Peak: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair

The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:

  • Pig Canyon
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
  • North Balconies
  • Scout Peak
  • Western Front
  • Discovery Wall
  • Pipsqueak Pinnacles
  • Frog / Hand
  • Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
  • Tugboat
  • D. Soto Canyon
  • Guard Rock
  • Rocks West of Chalone Housing
  • Mating Rocks / Tugboat
  • North Wilderness Rock
  • South Wilderness Rock

In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules. Some of the unoccupied territories listed above may have active falcon pairs that arrive later in the season by late March or early April. The territorial PEFA pair at Balconies is also occupying the Machete territory, and advisories are in effect to include the upper southwest face of Machete as a partial advisory area for the season.

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. 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!

Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No nesting activity has been confirmed yet.

Other raptors observed in the park in February and early March include American kestrels, and red-shouldered hawks have been seen in the Pinnacles Campground, in McCabe Canyon, and along the fire road near the Bench Trail junction, perching in valley oaks, vocalizing, and beginning to add stick material to nest constructs. Red-tailed hawk pairs are actively courting and preparing nests in Rose Canyon, near the Butterfield Barn, in Pig Canyon, Crowley Drainage, and near Frog and Hand. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge. Long-eared owls have been observed at the north extent of the North Wilderness Trail.

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 observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Joseph Belli and Aly Schmidt will be part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.

In addition, thanks to Mike Shelley, James Bouknight, Matt McCarthy, Jack Peabody, Paul Johnson, Sierra Willoughby, Linda Regan, Dan Ryan, Jennie Jones, Brent Johnson, Arianna Punzalan, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!

_
GAVIN EMMONS * Raptor / Condor Biologist *
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043 * 831-389-4486 x276 *
Pinnacles National Park

Upcoming Events

FOP Organized Events

This is where we post the details for upcoming Friends Of Pinnacles sponsored events and activities. Please check back often to see if there is anything new in which you may want to participate.

Park Programs

The Park Service organizes activities and events throughout the year. For details see the Events Calendar for Pinnacles National Monument or call: (831) 389-4485 ext. 0, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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