Peregrine falcons return to the gorge
Tallulah Gorge State Park (TGSP) is once again home to a natural Peregrine Falcon nest.
For the third year in a row, a breeding pair is nesting on an exposed cliff face below the north rim of the gorge.
Tallulah Falls School (TFS) is situated across U.S. Highway 441 south of Tallulah Gorge; TFS representatives will document the progress of the expectant couple over the next month or two. According to TGSP officials, eggs were first documented in the nest on March 13, 2017. It is estimated the eggs take 33 days to incubate.
The school plans to follow the progress by visiting regularly until the chicks leave the nest.
On March 20, TFS made an initial visit to the park’s Overlook No. 9 to collect still and video footage. On that date, a falcon was observed resting on the nest at approximately 10 a.m.
The school first documented the nesting pair in 2015, which was the first time in nearly 80 years that a wild Peregrine Falcon nested in a natural setting in Georgia.
“We are excited about the return of the falcons to the gorge,” said TFS President and Head of School Larry A. Peevy. “This gives us a chance to educate our students and community about these magnificent birds of prey.”
In 2016, the pair nested out of plain sight, inaccessible to photographers.
Park officials are keenly aware of the need to protect the nest and the integrity of the area for the birds. Rock climbing has been suspended temporarily and is expected to resume in June once the chicks fledge. According to the TGSP website, park visitors are encouraged to observe the raptors using binoculars. Information about the birds, including a locator map, is stored in a weatherproof box near Overlook No. 9 at the park.
Look for periodic updates on the school website and on social media.