Three of Acadia’s trails, and part of one trail, are temporarily closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest and rear chicks.
The Jordan Cliffs Trail, Precipice Trail and Valley Cove Trail will be closed until further notice, while part of the Orange and Black Path will be closed, according to the park’s website.
Peregrine falcons start finding mates and settling into nests in March and early April, and throughout April and May, incubate their eggs. The parents take turns nesting and keeping the eggs warm, and while one is sitting on the nest, the other will go and hunt.
Peregrine chicks hatch in June, and by July the chicks become fledglings and start stretching their wings.
By the fall, the chicks have matured. Some will choose to migrate further south, but peregrine falcons can be found along Maine’s coast in the winter months, depending on resources and how severe winter weather gets.
Any hiker who sees a peregrine falcon that may be nesting is encouraged to give the bird a wide berth, and refrain from trying to observe the nesting site. The falcons do not like others — whether human, avian or animal — around their nesting sites, and may dive at hikers that get too close.
Trails closed during the nesting season typically open after the chicks have matured in August.
Last year, two pairs of peregrine falcons in Acadia were able to successfully rear two chicks each, and the four offspring have been observed in the skies above the park.
This year marks the 31st anniversary of a peregrine falcon pair successfully raising a chick at Acadia National Park, after the species was reintroduced there in the mid-1980’s. The species had been declared locally extinct prior to 1970, but since 1991, more than 160 chicks have grown to maturity, according to the park’s website.