ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — The Jordan Cliffs and Jordan Cliffs Trail on Penobscot Mountain were shut down Thursday after adult peregrine falcons were observed defending the cliffs and engaging in courtship behavior in the area.
The behavior suggests that the falcon pair have claimed the cliffs as their nesting territory for 2015. Adult peregrine falcons will often exhibit aggressive behavior toward people who venture near their nesting territory. Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele approved the closing of the cliffs and trail Thursday.
The peregrine falcon is a listed species under Maine’s Natural Resource Protection Act.
The closure protects the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment. Continued disturbances of a nesting area can lead to chick mortality or complete nest failure, which further slows the recovery of the species in Maine.
Trails will remain closed until approximately five weeks after the chicks take their first flights, or fledge, from their nesting site. Park staff anticipates the opening of these closed areas in early August if the nesting attempt is successful. If the park biologist determines that the nesting attempt has failed later this spring or during early summer, the park will cancel the closure and the trails will be reopened when they have been determined to be in good condition and safe for hiking.
Park staff and volunteers will be conducting observations of Jordan Cliffs along with other park nesting areas such as the Precipice and Valley Cove to document the status of the nesting activities and inform any management actions.