Thanks to human activity in Blue Ridge Parkway, these endangered birds haven't successfully nested since 2007.

By Meghan Overdeep
March 14, 2019

Like their cousin the bald eagle, peregrine falcons form lifetime bonds. They also return to the same cliff faces to nest year after year. Devil's Courthouse, a 5,720-feet-tall cliff in North Carolina's Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, used to be one of those nesting spots.

"At Devil's Courthouse at milepost 422, peregrines were able to nest from 2000 through 2007 producing 14 young birds that fledged," the Blue Ridge Parkway posted on Facebook Sunday. "Since then no young have been produced and falcons have not been able to nest there successfully.

And experts believe that humans are responsible.

From the overlook at the top of Devil's Courthouse, visitors get "a 360-degree panorama" of multiple states, making it a popular spot for picture taking. Unfortunately, many people ignore signs warning them to stay on the trail and behind the protective wall.

"Biologists monitoring the site have noticed increased human activity in the closed area at the top of the cliff and that this intrusion has likely caused the birds to abandon their nests," the Facebook post continues.

Peregrine falcons are known for their impressive wingspan and ability to dive at 200 mph. According to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, these magnificent birds are listed as a threatened species in North Carolina, meaning it "is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future."

If, like us, you believe the survival of the peregrine falcon is more important than a selfie, please respect their habitat and stay on the trail.