The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department lifted the following raptor closures effective July 25: Third Flatiron, Shadow Canyon, Fern Canyon, Bear Creek Spire, and Flagstaff. The following closures will remain in effect through July 31 to continue to protect nesting raptors: Back Porch and The Box, Mickey Mouse Wall, Lefthand Palisades, and Coal Creek. OSMP will also be lifting seasonal closures established to protect ground-nesting birds as scheduled on July 31. Finally, the property known as Superior and Associates in the southern grasslands will remain closed through Oct. 31 because of the presence of nesting Burrowing Owls.

This year marked another successful season for raptors nesting on OSMP. Four Peregrine Falcon pairs nesting in the mountain backdrop produced ten fledglings, making it the most productive year for this species since monitoring began. Unfortunately, Golden Eagle productivity on OSMP was low, as it was all around Boulder County. Of particular interest to OSMP, in terms of ground-nesting birds, was the influx of Cassin’s Sparrows to the grasslands. Staff detected approximately 30 Cassin’s Sparrows during seasonal monitoring. Cassin’s Sparrows are more common in southeast Colorado and it is possible that ongoing drought conditions in that area are forcing them north and west.

The City of Boulder has been monitoring raptor nesting and roosting areas since 1984. It has become an important part of protecting the species in the area. In 2011, OSMP volunteers logged more than 600 hours monitoring cliff-nesting raptor sites. They are an integral part of the success of this program. OSMP relies heavily on the public to respect the closures. The cooperation of visitors to these areas is greatly appreciated.