Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Birds

Atlantic Puffin

Puffin near Machias Seal Island (2011)

This sea bird with a colorful bill lives year round near the coast of Washington and eastern Hancock counties. The largest concentration of puffins is at Machias Seal Island, off shore from Cutler in Washington County. The island is claimed … Continue reading

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Barred Owl

Barred Owl in Harpswell (2007)

One of about a dozen species of owls in Maine, the Barred Owl is relatively large at 20 inches. It moves about at night to feed on small animals such a rodents, frogs and birds.  This owl has also been … Continue reading

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Bird List

Endangered, threatened, and other common birds in Maine. The same species may have variations of its sounds depending on the region in which it lives. All sounds in the Encyclopedia have been recorded in Maine. Continue reading

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Birds

Cardinal

Almost 400 different bird species have been recorded in Maine, of which approximately half are known to have bred here. With a little effort a birder should be able to see 200 species in the state during the course of a year. See Ecology>Nature Preserves for locations. Continue reading

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Bobolink

Male Bobolink at Mitchell Field in Harpswell

According to the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds, “The Bobolink was probably confined to the central grasslands originally, but with the settling of the Northeast it quickly spread into New England. Now with farms abandoned and the … Continue reading

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Brown-headed Cowbird

Female Brown-headed Cowbird in Nobleboro (2015)

This Cowbird, 6 to eight inches beak to tail,  is a spring and summer visitor to Maine.  Once a follower of bison on the great plains, these birds now inhabit the edges of woods, roadsides, and towns across the United … Continue reading

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Cardinals

Where

These birds are colorful members of the finch family.  The male is well known for its bright red coat, and the female has tinges of red on her fine brownish feathers.  At 8-9 inches, they sport a distinctive tuft atop … Continue reading

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Chickadees

Black-capped Chicadee (2007)

The Black-capped Chickadee is the State of Maine’s official bird.  Actually, the law only refers to the “chickadee,” but there are other species.  This 5 inch bird inhabits the northern half of the United States and southern Canada. In addition … Continue reading

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Cooper’s Hawk

Coopers Hawk near bird feeders in Harpswell, Maine (2014)

This raptor has traditionally summered in Maine but moved south for the winter.  However, climate change may have altered that pattern.  A bit smaller than an osprey, it is still an imposing sight perched near a house. Its habitat in … Continue reading

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Cormorants

Cormorants Congregate on an Island (2010)

These large, black birds are found in Maine primarily along the coast, on rocky shores, on ledges, and swimming in the water. “Cormorant” is derived from two latin words that mean “sea crow,” but this bird is not actually associated … Continue reading

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Crow, American

American Crow (2013)

The American crow is related to crows on other continents, such as Europe, Africa and Asia. Similar to the common raven, also black, it is smaller, up to 18 inches compared to up to 27 inches for the raven. In … Continue reading

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Ducks

Quacking Mallards, Brunswick (2011)

An article c. 1997 by Pat Corr (retired) Wildlife Biologist, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife DABBLING DUCKS Description Dabbling ducks common in Maine are the American black duck, the mallard, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, and wood duck. Northern … Continue reading

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Eagle, Bald

Bald Eagle Surveying the Kennebec River (2005)

The Bald Eagle, symbol of the United States of America and once threatened with extinction, has made a substantial comeback. It is now listed as “threatened” rather than “endangered.” The St. Croix River, bordering Canada in Washington County, has a … Continue reading

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Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe in Harpswell (2011)

This seven-inch gray bird with brown wings returns to southern Maine in early spring to build its nest, often in the usual place unless it has been destroyed. The insect eating Phoebe makes its news under overhanging structures, such as … Continue reading

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Egrets

Great Egret (2010)

The Great Egret and the Snowy Egret are both well-known birds along the Maine Coast. Egrets are part of the heron family. Great Egret This egret is all white with a yellow bill and black legs. Its length of 35-41 … Continue reading

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Geese

Large Flock of Canada Geese off Route 115 in North Yarmouth (October 2013)

by Patt Corr (retired – contact Brad Allen)) Wildlife Biologist, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Description The snow goose, white-fronted goose, Canada goose, and Atlantic brant occur in Maine. The white-fronted goose, snow goose and Atlantic brant are … Continue reading

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Glossy Ibis

This bird’s year round home is along the southeast coast of the United States and islands in the Caribbean.  But the Glossy Ibis is an occasional visitor during the summer mating season. These two, on the right, were observed at … Continue reading

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Goldfinch

Goldfinch in the Fall (2007)

male in summer is a yellow bird with a black patch on its forehead, with black wings and tail and white on the wings and rump. In winter he looks much like the female: a dull olive yellow with brownish … Continue reading

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Grackles

Female Grackle (2009)

The Common Grackle is a bird found throughout Maine in the summer; but it migrates to the southern states for the winter.  As is well described in the Birds of Maine field Guide, the male is a “Large [11-13 inches] … Continue reading

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Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird near a Bird Feeder (2013)

Yes, the Gray Catbird sounds like a cat in “normal” mode.  But, being a relative of mockingbirds, it often imitates others or combines sounds of several species to create its own music. The one pictured here is typical in its … Continue reading

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