• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Closure

    The Moose-Wilson Road between Death Canyon Junction north to the intersection with the Murie Center Road is temporarily closed to motor vehicles, bicycles, skating, skateboards and similar devices. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

  • Multi-use Pathway Closures

    Intermittent closures of the park Multi-use Pathway System will occur through mid-October during asphalt sealing and safety improvement work. Pathway sections will reopen as work is completed. Follow the link for a map and more information. More »

Closure Lifted After Peregrine Falcon Chicks Fledge from Baxter’s Pinnacle Nest

Peregrine falcon_USFWS photo
Peregrine falcon pair fledged a record number of chicks from the Baxter's Pinnacle nest site in Grand Teton National Park.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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News Release Date: August 19, 2014
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

The public closure at Baxter's Pinnacle and Descent Gully near the mouth of Cascade Canyon was lifted on Saturday, August 16. This area closure went into effect May 6 to protect an active peregrine falcon nest. Due in part to the protection provided by this wildlife closure, the adult falcons successfully reared and fledged four chicks. While peregrines can lay up to five eggs, this marks the most young ever fledged at a single nest site in Grand Teton National Park, according to park records.

After reintroduction of peregrine falcons was initiated in Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1980, the first successful falcon breeding in the park was documented in 1988. Over the years, the number of successful nesting pairs has risen from one in the late 1980s/early 1990s to as many as four pairs in recent years. This year, a fifth nest site was discovered near a cliff area on the north side of Blacktail Butte. For unknown reasons, this new nesting site did not produce any young. In addition to the Baxter's Pinnacle nest, one other Teton site fledged three peregrine chicks this year and a third nest fledged one chick, making a total of eight peregrine young fledged at Grand Teton in 2014.

The Baxter's Pinnacle peregrines experienced little to no human interruption during their incubation and chick-rearing phases thanks to active support from the park's two authorized concessioners for guided climbing services, and to the cooperation of Jackson Hole's climbing community that demonstrated responsible behavior and respected the closure.

Peregrines are cliff nesters and can be sensitive to human disturbance, especially during their nesting period. Falcons are quite territorial and will often abandon nests to defend their territory, which leads to nest failure and low reproductive success.

Decimated by the harmful effects of the pesticide DDT, it is believed that peregrine falcons were virtually eliminated from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) by the 1960s. In 1980, efforts to reintroduce peregrine falcons to Grand Teton National Park were initiated in conjunction with similar efforts elsewhere in the GYE and western United States.Between 1980 and 1986, 52 fledgling falcons were released at several sites in the Teton Range. After sufficient recovery was achieved, peregrines were delisted from the endangered species list in 1999. However, peregrine falcons remain a species of interest in Grand Teton National Park. The Baxter's nest area was first discovered in 2010. This peregrine falcon pair successfully produced one chick in 2010, 2011 and 2013, before fledging four young this year.

The public closure served a second purpose: to also protect climbers from the peregrines as they will defend their nest site by dive-bombing perceived intruders. The peregrine falcon is among the world's fastest birds, flying at 40-55 mph and diving at more than 200 mph while defending a territory or striking prey. This posed a safety risk to climbers who may have been knocked off their rock 'perch' and injured.

Seasonal and temporary closures for wildlife protection are common in Grand Teton to protect both wildlife and park users. Entering a posted wildlife closure is a violation that can result in a citation and fine under the code of federal regulations.

Did You Know?

Mt. Moran in July

Did you know that the black stripe, or dike, on the face of Mount Moran is 150 feet wide and extends six or seven miles westward? The black dike was once molten magma that squeezed into a crack when the rocks were deep underground, and has since been lifted skyward by movement on the Teton fault.