UPDATE 8/6/15: The Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove Trails opened today, according to the official park news release.
While we wait for the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park to reopen any day now, and as a follow-up to our blog post on the 7 peregrine falcon chicks that fledged this year, here are some never-before publicized photos of peregrine falcons, taken by Erickson Smith, biological science technician with the park.
The Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove Trails have been closed since April but should be reopening early this month, as the 7 peregrine falcon chicks born at those 3 sites have fledged, or learned to fly. The Precipice saw 3 female chicks born this year.
Park officials want to be sure the young peregrine falcons are able to hunt on their own before they reopen the trails. More than 120 peregrine falcon chicks have been born in Acadia since the reintroduction program began, an environmental success story of the first order.
The peregrine falcon was listed as a federal endangered species in the early 1970s, but was removed from that list in 1999. The first successful nest in 35 years in Acadia occurred in 1991, although the resident breeding population of peregrine falcons remains “endangered” under Maine’s Endangered Species Act.
As Acadia biologist Bruce Connery said in an interview with Acadia on My Mind about this year’s crop of successful fledglings, “It is a feel good story. It is positive, positive, positive.”