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Contact: Bruce Connery, 207-288-8726Peregrine falcons are once again defending nesting territories on the Precipice and Valley Cove Cliffs in Acadia National Park. Park staff has observed adults at both sites engaging in courtship and pre-nesting behavior signaling the birds' intentions to nest and raise chicks during the spring and early summer. Peregrine falcons were extirpated several decades ago and remain listed as a Maine Endangered Species to help in the recovery and conservation of the species.
In order to protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, areas in and around the Precipice and Valley Cove cliffs are closed to all visitor and operational activities.The closure at the Precipice includes the popular Precipice Trail on the east face of Champlain Mountain and the equally popular Orange and Black Path. In addition to the trails, the closure applies to the surrounding cliff face area. The closure at Valley Cove includes the Valley Cove Trail and the entire cliff area directly west of Valley Cove and below St. Sauveur and Valley Peak.These trails will remain closed until approximately five weeks after the chicks take their first flights, or fledge, from their nests.The opening of the trails and cliffs is usually in early August.
In 1991, the first pair of peregrine falcons nested successfully on the east face of Champlain Mountain.A second pair of falcons established a nest site on Beech Cliffs above Echo Lake in 1995, and a third pair of falcons established a nesting territory at Jordan Cliffs in 1996. In 2009, park staff found a new territory on Ironbound Island in Frenchman Bay, marking the fifth site in the park's legislative area that has been used by falcons for nesting.Mount Desert Island's nesting falcons have become a mainstay in the recovery of peregrine falcons in Maine with more than 120 chicks fledged since 1991 when the first nesting was documented in Maine.
The park will announce the reopening of the closed areas and trails upon determining that the fledglings from this year have become independent of their parents and human activities will not harm or disrupt their further development. For more information call (207) 288-3338.