Raptor nesting monitoring continues

A bald eagle perches near the Colorado River in Professor Valley in early April. Officials ask climbers to avoid raptor nesting areas, specifically in Indian Creek, as monitoring continues.
Photo by Doug McMurdo

The Bureau of Land Management appreciates the public’s help in avoiding potential raptor nesting areas in the Indian Creek climbing area. The BLM is actively conducting raptor nesting surveys with its agency partners and HawkWatch International. The first phase of surveys is complete, and the agencies will continue to monitor the area and provide further updates, as needed, according to the BLM.

The BLM asks climbers and hikers to continue avoiding walls commonly referenced in climbing guides and websites as “The Wall,” “Reservoir Wall,” “Cat Wall,” and “1st Meat Wall,” as monitoring is ongoing in these areas.

Over a thousand climbing routes are available and are anticipated to be free of active nests and can be approached without risk of endangering young birds or successful fledgings. This includes routes previously being avoided that have been cleared by biologists, based on monitoring data.

There is still a chance that birds may be locating nests, as the cool spring weather has delayed and extended the nesting season. If you observe raptors mating or nesting, please avoid them and report the locations to the BLM or Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, officials say.

The BLM will continue monitoring efforts throughout the season and will notify the public once young birds have fledged, which is expected before the fall climbing season begins. Trailhead notices and maps will be updated as well.

The desert canyons of southeastern Utah provide habitat for falcons, eagles and other birds of prey. Visitors with keen eyes are sometimes rewarded with their aerial acrobatics. The BLM would like to remind everyone 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.

For questions about raptors and migratory bird habitats or recreational climbing in the Indian Creek area, please contact Thomas Plank or Jason Byrd at the BLM Monticello Field Office at 435-587-1500.