May 28, 2014
Contact: Bruce Connery
Adult peregrine falcons were recently observed defending Jordan Cliffs and are thought to be using the cliffs as their nesting territory. Their aggressive behavior toward visitors and staff on the trail or on the cliffs was justification for Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele to announce the closing of the cliffs and trail on Sunday, May 25. The Jordan Cliffs have not been used by a nesting pair of falcons since 2009.
The peregrine falcon remains a listed species under Maine state natural resource laws. In order to protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, the areas in and around Jordan Cliffs, including the Jordan Cliffs Trail on Penobscot Mountain, are now closed to all visitor and operational activities. The trail is clearly marked with signs indicating the purpose and the area of the closure. 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 opened.
Park staff and volunteers will be conducting observations of Jordan Cliffs along with the other park nesting areas, the Precipice and Valley Cove trails, to document the status of the nesting activities and inform any management actions.
Research has shown that nesting falcons are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance originating immediately above the nesting area or directed at the nest site. Continued disturbances can lead to chick mortality or complete nest failure, which further slows the recovery of the species in Maine.