Falcons return to Acadia, trails closed

A peregrine falcon FILE PHOTO

A peregrine falcon

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Peregrine falcons are again defending nesting territories at the Precipice, Jordan, and Valley Cove cliffs in Acadia National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) has closed the cliffs and associated trails to public entry to protect the peregrine falcons from inadvertent disturbance or harassment during the nesting period.

Research has shown that nesting peregrine falcons are particularly vulnerable to human activities, which can disturb the adults and make them less attentive to the eggs or chicks. Human activities near a nesting area can lead to temporary or permanent abandonment of the nest by the adults leaving chicks susceptible to hypothermia, starvation, and predation. Human disturbance that leads to chick mortality slows the recovery of this once-endangered species. Peregrine falcons have fledged more than 125 chicks in Acadia since the early 1990s. In 2015, the protection of these nesting territories resulted in the fledging of seven chicks.

“The success of peregrine falcon nesting in Acadia National Park is one of our great conservation stories,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “It shows how we can protect important resources while allowing visitors reasonable access to the park. We appreciate the help of visitors in protecting peregrine falcons by complying with the temporary closures.”

The Jordan Cliffs Trail, Valley Cove Trail, Precipice Trail, and a portion of the Orange & Black Path are closed to public entry until further notice. The trails and carriage roads on the perimeter of the closed areas remain open to public use. Signs at trailheads and trail junctions around the closed areas indicate where public entry is prohibited. The reopening of the closed areas is expected by mid-August if nesting attempts succeed or possibly sooner if nesting attempts fail. Public entry into a closed area is a violation of federal regulations, which is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Also in Acadia, the carriage roads remain closed to all users to allow time for the surfaces to thaw and prevent damage while they remain muddy.

Peregrine falcons generally reach breeding maturity at two years of age.

To learn more about peregrine falcons, and watch their nesting and fledging activities from a safe distance, please visit www.nps.gov/acad or call 207-288-3338 for information on Acadia’s peregrine watch program, which begins in May at the Precipice Trail parking lot off Park Loop Road.

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