Sep 05 2010

Where the Peregrines Nest

Published by at 7:45 am under Peregrines,Travel

September 5, 2010:

When we watch peregrine falcons nesting on camera in cities or visit them at bridges we often forget that they nest in wild places.

Here's a wild place where peregrines nest every year:  Champlain Mountain at Acadia National Park.

Champlain is a 1,058-foot granite mountain with a sheer cliff overlooking Frenchman's Bay.  The side shown here is the "easy" slope but I can tell you from climbing it that even this side is steep.  It's a staircase to heaven.

The other side, where the peregrines nest, has a trail too steep for anyone afraid of heights.  (I am!) That trail is called The Precipice and it's closed during nesting season.

Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Cliff nests, though in beautiful settings, are generally not as successful as those on tall buildings.  In the past decade there have been as many as four peregrine nests at Acadia but all four failed one year due to bad weather.

This year, 2010, there were only two nests, one at the Precipice, the other at Beech Cliffs.  Beech fledged four young in June but for weeks it looked like the Precipice nest would fail. The pair picked a likely nest site but abandoned it when they should have been incubating.

The Precipice peregrines remained on territory but continued to puzzle everyone until late June when observers heard a nestling begging.  In July this pair fledged one young female.  And now the trail is open again for climbing.

For photos of Acadia's peregrines (including two pictures of Ranger Lora Haller, formerly of Pittsburgh), click here.


(photo of Champlain Mountain by Moses Martin. photo of Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Where the Peregrines Nest”

  1. Marianneon 05 Sep 2010 at 8:46 am

    Thanks Kate, for the info and pics about peregrines’ wild nesting places. It is interesting to see what type of cliff they use. Seeing more peregrine pics is always fun too!

    I wouldn’t hike on a steep trail with heights either!

  2. Anne Marieon 05 Sep 2010 at 11:39 am

    Sounds like you’re having a wonderful vacation Kate! Thanks for the peregrine post… you know just when we need a ‘fix’!

  3. Donnaon 05 Sep 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Kate, Are you participating in HawkWatch? I found tons of information on the National Park Service website, including a wonderful raptor silhouette guide on this page:

  4. Kate St. Johnon 06 Sep 2010 at 6:45 am

    I go to the Acadia Hawk Watch at least once a year, depending on the weather. The wind & weather have not been good for migration up to now. Yesterday we had really strong wind from the west. I saw few birds flying anywhere yesterday even though it was sunny.

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