Adult Peregrine in flight

Like bald eagles, peregrine falcons faced extinction not so long ago due to the pesticide DDT. Also like bald eagles, they’ve staged a remarkable comeback in recent years; these recoveries from DDT are my favorite conservation story. However, both species remain vulnerable and are generally treated with a lot of regulations (which I am very much in favor of). Many parks close off areas near known nesting areas of vulnerable species during nesting seasons, Castle Rocks included. One of the eagle-eyed people on my guided hike spotted a group of people illegally climbing the castle rocks (we were so far away, you needed binoculars to even see them) and the hike leader immediately called both East Bay Regional Parks security and Mount Diablo State Park security to alert them of the trespassers. Baby raptors have a tough enough time surviving to adulthood as it is, the last thing threatened species needs are people disturbing their nests.

All of that is to say that we didn’t get ANYWHERE near the nest or the peregrines. I don’t have any closeups for you. These are the closest photos I got of any peregrines that day, although later in our hike, an adult peregrine surprised all of us by flowing low over us and buzzing our heads when we were in the state park. Unfortunately I wasn’t expecting it and didn’t get a photo. These are terrible photos, but I’ve only ever seen a couple of other peregrines in the wild before so I was pretty excited to see this adult, who was likely out collecting a snack for the babies.

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