The 2020 raptor nesting season is winding down, and it has been a successful year for Jeffco Open Space’s feathered friends. There have been five successful golden eagle nests that are fledging 1-2 chicks each. We are also especially pleased to have two successful nests in Clear Creek Canyon Park this year. These youngsters are exploring the world beyond their nest but remain close-by and are still very reliant on their parents to feed them and teach them how to hunt. The month of July is critical for the fledglings’ future success, which is why our closures extend to the end of month. Staff and volunteers have also been monitoring prairie and peregrine falcons, great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and Swainson’s hawks and have seen many chicks hatch and fledge throughout the county.
We want to extend a special thank you to all our volunteer raptor monitors for diligently and safely monitoring this year and to our visitors for respecting the wildlife closures while out enjoying the parks. The closures are critical for the protection of animals during sensitive life stages, especially as our parks experience record levels of visitation. These closures offer the birds the opportunity to return to high quality nests that have been used for hundreds of years by the species, as well as the ability to focus on raising their offspring without the distraction of humans, which can be perceived as threats. Removing our park visitors from the equation allows the raptors to put all their energy towards surviving and raising their chicks. If you are lucky enough to spot a golden eagle or other raptor in the parks, enjoy the view, and be sure to always give wildlife space.