SNP Peregrine Falcon Population Restoration Program

CE Opportunity for HMNs!

Rolf holds a peregrine falcon chick for banding.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, at 10am, Shenandoah National Park biologist Rolf Gubler will host a field visit to the park’s peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) restoration site at Franklin Cliffs Overlook (milepost 49). It will last about an hour. There will be an extra spotting scope set up, but if anyone has one, please bring it, as well as binoculars and cameras. The observation area is in full sun.

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Participants limited to 16.

This event will be postponed to Thursday, June 9 at 10am in case of bad weather: steady rain, thunderstorms, or even heavy cloud cover (no visibility).

Shenandoah National Park’s peregrine restoration project is a longstanding partnership with the Center for Conservation Biology at William and Mary, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

For this cooperative project, partners bring peregrine falcon chicks from eastern Virginia bridge nest sites to a suitable cliff site (or “hacksite”) that mimics a mountain nesting area. These “foster” chicks are removed from specific bridge nests where fledgling survival has been low due the lack of updrafts at these nests. Biologists hope the young peregrines will imprint on the park’s cliffs and return as breeding adults in three to four years.

The goal of this project is to boost peregrine populations in the park and the Central Appalachians where peregrine recovery has been slow. In addition, using at-risk Virginia coastal peregrines as hacking stock serves the dual purpose of improving the survival of these young raptors while restoring peregrines to the mountains of Virginia. This restoration work directly supports the conservation and long-term recovery efforts of state-threatened peregrines in Virginia.

About Rolf Gubler – Biologist 
Bachelor of Science – Wildlife Science – Pennsylvania State University
                                    Forest Science – Pennsylvania State University

Mr. Gubler has worked with the National Park Service for over 33 years. Previous assignments at Shenandoah National Park have included Biological Technician, Environmental Protection Specialist, and Resource Management Specialist. Most of his professional experience has been focused on natural resource management. For the past 15 years, he has managed the terrestrial wildlife program, human-wildlife interactions program, and forest insect and disease program at Shenandoah.

Big thanks to Ann Murray for facilitating this. It’s gonna be awesome!

– Elaine Smith, CE Committee Chair, March 2022

HMN contact for this event is Elaine Smith – smithes [at]

More about this project here:

More about peregrine falcons here: