The recovery of the peregrine falcon is one of the great environmental success stories of our time. Although they once nested on the east face of Champlain Mountain above you, by 1964 peregrines had become extinct throughout the eastern United States. The pesticide DDT prevented them from successfully reproducing, and as individuals aged and died, there were none to replace them. Beginning in the 1970s, coordinated efforts across the country, including a reintroduction project at Acadia National Park, brought these majestic birds back to the east.
Although removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999, peregrines remain federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. In addition, peregrines are still considered endangered by the state of Maine. For their protection while nesting, Acadia may close the cliff face and hiking trails on the east face of Champlain Mountain March to August. Please obey signs.
Adult peregrines generally won't tolerate people on the cliff and may dive at intruders or abandon their nest. The continued success of this Maine endangered species in Acadia depends on your cooperation in respecting the area closure.
As part of the efforts to reintroduce to the east, 23 young birds were released near Jordan pond in Acadia National Park between 1984 and 1986. One of these birds, identified by his leg band number, returned to Acadia in 1988. Between 1991 and 1998, he and his mate raised 26 young falcons on this cliff face. Unbanded males subsequently bred successfully here each year through 2002, bringing the total of juveniles fledged at that time to 37. Peregrine falcons are birds of steep cliffs, arctic tundra, skyscrapers and bridges. They feed on other birds caught in midair, ranging in size from sparrows (5") to mallards (23"). While hunting, peregrines can reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Champlain Mountain is ideal habitat for peregrines because its steep, open cliffs and ledges overlook the prey-filled forests, marshes, and ocean waters below.
In April, two to four eggs are laid in a scraped-out area on a rock ledge. Peregrines do not build nests of sticks. The young hatch in May and start flying in June or early July.