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Madrone Wall (OR) Peregrine Falcon Update

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Posted (edited)

Hello Climbers,

More info has been posted to our Facebook page, but I thought I would put some of the updates here.

Peregrine falcons have been spotted out at the park on 5 of the 6 weekends we've been observing since Feb 28th. We have observed between 1 and 2 Peregrines at a time either flying above in any direction, in a tree, or on the cliff at the center of the wall (from standing in the parking lot - the former meadow). Most of the observations have been early in the morning when we would expect them to be hunting for food and eventually be bringing food to the nest/scrape if one is present. Myself and another volunteer, Nate, have done all of the observations so far. Keith D will eventually out there, but has had a lot of international work and out of town family commitments. If you have any interest in helping us to monitor, please message me here.

Some helpful facts and tidbits of info:

1) Keith and I have consulted with two US Fish and Wildlife experts on this - one retired and one presently employed out of the main Portland office. The current one, an Eagle Coordinator with the PNW, has been out to the site and responds to all of our emails and phone calls.

2) Keith and I monitored last year from late Feb through May 31st. We suspect that based on our data and in consultation with USF&W that the falcons may have relocated to another area last year. I will also add that Clackamas County Parks have told us that there is monitoring information from when they first showed up in 2009 or 2010, but they have never shown us that data.

3) Current consultation with USF&W supports an earlier opening (June 1st) if we can determine that there is no nesting present at the Madrone. Also, if the same scenario happens next year (2019), and we can determine that they again are not nesting at the Madrone Wall Park for the 3rd year in a row, then they would support another June 1st opening and ending the seasonal February 1st closure completely. If the  peregrines showed back up in future years and began nesting, then the County would implement another closure as long as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is still in place.


4) At the March 20th Parks Advisory Board meeting (mostly all volunteer with key Park staff), Keith and I presented them some basic information and history about peregrine falcons. We also shared our monitoring efforts from last year, our observations so far, and even input from US F&W experts. This presentation was a first step in educating them around Peregrines in general, as well as what we're doing and what we are looking when we monitor out there. We will be meeting with the County this week (April 4th) to talk about a variety of topics, but we will talk about Peregrines. Keith and I want to start the conversation around: 1) A June 1st opening if no nesting (instead of July 15), 2) A "Two weeks after fledging" opening date instead of a blanket July 15 date if they are nesting, and 3) Ending the Feb 1st blanket seasonal closure if there is no nesting again this year and in 2019. This would mean that the Madrone would be open year-round in 2020.

Again, we want to start that above conversation.

5) Given the timeline of typical peregrine falcon nesting, it takes between 7 and 14 days for the female to lay her entire clutch of eggs - the eggs don't all come out at once, every other day seems to be the case. There is an approximate 32 days of incubation where one of the adults are sitting on the eggs, followed by  42 days before the chicks take their first flight. We are getting at the point in spring of where the female should be laying her clutch of eggs. When this happens only one adult will be out hunting for food.


Remember from my previous post that the Park is completely closed to all access at this time. The Madrone is too small compared to many other areas ( Smith Rock and Beacon Rock) to have partial closures. Please stay tuned here, and I will certainly let you know if there will be an earlier opening or not.



Kellie Rice

President, MWPC


Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 7.00.09 AM.png

Edited by elaine
added more info about da birds...

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Update from April 14th:

Only one peregrine was observed at the park yesterday. I arrived at 6:45 am and stayed until 8:10am. One falcon flew to the center of the cliff at 7:10 am, made it's usual kacking sound on and off for about 15 minutes, then flew to its favorite Douglas Fir tree to the left of the parking lot. It stayed there until 7:32 am where it flew south and east (basically flying parallel to HWY 224) towards Barton Park. Sometimes I can hear them kacking in the distance, but this time I could not. No falcon returned to the park during my final 40 minutes there.

Based on consultation with US Fish and Wildlife, I plan to walk to the wall next weekend to see if I can possibly hear of another falcon that might be sitting on the eggs. Or, maybe I might see evidence of recent feedings on the ground. Given the late scenario in the photo in this thread, there is a slim chance that the female might have just finished laying the rest of her clutch of eggs. US F&W say that things tend to get quiet when the female is laying her eggs.

The last time I saw two peregrines at the same time in the park was March 25th.

Also, please know that the County Parks Staff and Parks Advisory Board do support US F&W recommendations to open the park early if we can document that the peregrines are not nesting. US F&W is comfortable with a June 1st opening, but the County and our group did not confirm a date yet. Keith and I are certain that the falcons did not nest there last year (2017), but that is the first year we've gathered data since they showed up in 2010. The County has told us that there is monitoring data, but we have never seen it. Peregrine falcons can relocate where they nest from time to time, but what we don't know is where that could be if it's not Madrone Wall Park.

Thanks for reading!


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April 22nd Observation:

Below is information that I had already sent to the County this morning. I will add it to our FB page later on today.

I was out at the Madrone today from 6:35 until 8:10. I never once saw or hear a Peregrine kack/cack?, fly above, or sit on the cliff or usual tree.
I walked both access trails as well as the entire base of the wall. I did not hear anything, such as a Peregrine on the scrape, nor did I see any evidence on the ground (feathers or carcass) of recent feedings.

Today was the first day since late February that a Peregrine was not observed by me this year. It was around this time last year that we also started observe Peregrines were no longer in the park.

While we didn't see or hear any Peregrine's today that does not mean that the closure has been lifted. Please continue to respect the closure until further notice here or on the County's website. The County is in favor of an earlier opening (supporting current USF&W recommendations) that could likely mean early to mid June.

If you have any interest in helping to monitor, please contact me here.



President, MWPC



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