The Fastest Animal In The World Shuts Down Climbing Trails

August 9, 2018

Attention all climbers! The wait is finally over; after five months of being shut down, Zion National Park finally reopens their climbing routes to the public. It was a successful breeding season for the Peregrine Falcons up in the cliffs, thanks to you.

The massive cliffs at Zion National Park are home to nesting Peregrine Falcons. This unique bird was once on the brink of extinction in 1970. The Peregrine Falcon is now one of the most highly distributed birds in the world because of the conservation efforts. In 1999, the Peregrine Falcon was removed from the endangered species list. The population of the Peregrine Falcon continues to rise every year at Zion, especially with the ideal habitat on the cliffs. Even though these birds can live in any habitat, Zion makes the living easy for the birds, and the park maintains their habitat for their safety.

During the fall and spring, the park does everything they can to protect the Falcons throughout their breeding season. Starting March 1st and continuing to the beginning of August, biologists monitor the Falcons by keeping track of the nests and then processing the progression that the birds are making. The park closes down the climbing routes and does not allow people to access the points where the nests could potentially be. The Peregrine Falcon is one of the most protective birds in the world and will vigorously defend their nests. There are five different territories throughout the cliffs that are occupied by adults, and the biologists are waiting for the newborns to fledge, before allowing the park to reopen them.

Photo Via. National Audubon Society

After the five short months, the breeding season is officially over. August 1st finally saw reopening of the climbing routes that were shut down. The following cliffs are now re-open to climbing: The East Temple, Mount Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), Tunnel Wall, Mount Kinesava, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.

The Zion National Park is so appreciative of the cooperation from all of the climbers during these months and for the protection of all of the nests and newborn chicks of this spectacular bird. But the climbers better watch out for these birds on their climbs, considering that they are the fastest animal in the world, you better hold on tight. The Peregrine Falcon ranges in nonstop flight at only 25-34 miles per hour, but once the bird begins to dive, it can reach 100 to 200 miles per hour in just eight seconds. They can fly this fast due to their one-way airway to their lungs and the air sacs that stay inflated even when exhaling. The Peregrine Falcon also has such a strong heartbeat that it beats 600 to 900 times per minute, allowing oxygen to travel quickly and the bird to flap its wings at an incredible rate.

Zion National Park has provided a crucial role in keeping these falcons alive and safe. The park has been monitoring the Falcons for over 25 years and will continue to protect them in their sanctuary, Zion.