Effective August 1st, all climbing routes and summit areas temporarily closed to protect prairie falcons (Falco mexicanus) on Devils Tower reopened. The nesting prairie falcons pair on the west face of the tower has successfully fledged their young and will soon concluded their nesting season.
The park thanks climbers for observing the closure, implemented on March 15th, which allowed the falcons an undisturbed nesting season. The falcon closure is an annual event established under the national monument's 1995 climbing management plan under the authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The initial closure this season included only the northeast face, but was later moved to the west face due to the location of falcon activity. Prairie falcons previously nested on the tower during the years 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2005.
Prairie falcons are extremely defensive of their nests and are easily driven from the area. The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests is distressing to parent birds. Too much disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks. The closure was implemented not only for the protection of the species, but also for the protection of climbers, as falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests.