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Contact: Bruce Connery, 207-288-8726
Peregrine falcons are once again being observed defending the Valley Cove cliff area, (i.e., historic nesting territory) engaging in courtship behavior in Acadia National Park, Superintendent Sheridan Steele announced today. The species is listed as an Endangered Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act.
In order to protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, areas in and around these cliffs are closed to all visitor and operational activities. The closure at Valley Cove includes the North Section of the Flying Mountain Trail and the entire cliff area directly west of Valley Cove and below St. Sauveur and Valley Peak. The trail is clearly marked with signs that identify the reason for the closure, the dates, and a map that delineates the area of the closure. Trails will remain closed until approximately five weeks after chicks take their first flights, or fledge, from their nests. Rescinding the closure and opening the area is expected in early August. Closure signs will be posted at all appropriate parking areas, trail heads and junctions with more detailed information available at park visitor contact stations or park headquarters. If the park biologist determines that the nesting attempt has failed at any site later this spring or early in the summer, the park will rescind the closures for the trail(s) and cliff associated with the failed nesting attempt.
Park staff and volunteers have been observing the cliff areas below Penobscot and Beech Mountains in hopes of documenting other falcon nesting related activity. If adult peregrine falcons are observed and documented engaged in territorial defense or courtship behavior, the park will announce closures for these areas as well. The peregrine falcon population of Mount Desert Island remains a key reason for the success of the recovery of peregrine falcons in Maine and throughout New England. To date nearly ninety chicks have fledged from territories on Mount Desert Island in the past 18 years.