Rare Peregrine Falcon Nest Found At Ga.’s Tallulah Gorge

Peregrine falcons are raising two chicks at Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia. It’s the first time anyone has found a peregrine falcon nest in the wild in Georgia in more than 80 years.

Peregrine falcons nest in downtown Atlanta, too. But rangers at Tallulah Gorge State Park are excited because this nest is in a natural setting – on a cliff.

“I would say it’s in the top five of the best moments in my career,” said Tallulah Gorge assistant park manager Jessica Weems.

Peregrine falcons can fly more than 200 miles an hour as they’re hunting other birds. They were almost wiped out by the pesticide DDT in the 20th century. They started to come back after DDT was banned, and falcons were released in Georgia in the 1990s. But no one had found a nest in nature in Georgia until now.

“We first got a report from a local rock climber who said that he was getting dive-bombed by these birds of prey when he was rock-climbing,” said Weems. Climbing near the falcon family is now banned.

The falcons raise their babies, called eyasses, on a cliff. Weems says park visitors can see them with binoculars, after hiking about a mile and a half. Weems said there’s no nest with leaves and twigs; the falcons just found a crevice in the rocks.

Weems said, if you can’t make it this year that may be OK.

“Peregrine falcons do like to return to where they’ve had successful nests, so that’s good news,” she said. “Hopefully this same pair will be here again next year.”