Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Birds

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron in Reeds (2009)

Great Blue Heron, one of the largest birds in Maine, is a stately sight, primarily along the coast, as it fishes for its dinner near low tides. Occasionally found inland along marshes, rivers and the shores of ponds. Continue reading

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Grouse

Spruce Grouse in Riley Township (2003)

Grouse Spruce Grouse The Spruce Grouse is found in mixed spruce and pine forests, such as this on the Appalachian Trail in Riley Township in western Maine. It roosts in trees and its almost tame behavior permitted a closer photo … Continue reading

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House Finch

Male House Finch (2007)

This bird is found year-round in all but northern Maine. The male is similar to the Purple Finch, except that the latter has a tuft of feathers on its head. The male Pine Grosbeak, another look-a-like, is larger than the … Continue reading

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Juncos

Dark-eyed Junco (2010)

The Dark-eyed Juncos are birds that live in Maine all year. Ground feeders, they are most often noticed in winter in small flocks under bird feeders. They especially like seeds that fall from the feeders. In summer they tend to … Continue reading

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Killdeer

Killdeer in Stacyville (2012)

This “shorebird” was far from salt water in a rough open area in Stacyville, northern Penobscot County near Aroostook County.  That was in late May 2012, a bit earlier than when Killdeer are normally expected to be in Maine for … Continue reading

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Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron (2014)

A bird somewhat harder to find than the Great Blue Heron, the Little Blue Heron ranges from the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast to their northern most reach in Maine. They feed in marshes, tidal flats and … Continue reading

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Loons

Loon in Pierce Pond (2007)

may be found all over Maine in its lakes and ponds. In winter they move closer to the coast where they fish in the ocean and bays. Loons are deep divers and swim great distances under water to avoid humand … Continue reading

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Merganser, Common

Common Mergansers on Giles Pond in Aurora

This duck is, in fact, common throughout Maine in the summer and year round within about 40 miles of the coast from York County to Hancock County.  Lakes are their preferred habitat. Long at 22-27 inches, the common merganser has … Continue reading

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Mourning Doves

Mourning Dove (2013)

These pigeon-like birds visit home bird feeders, feasting mostly on seeds that drop to the ground. They remain year-round within about 40 miles of the coast. In summer they may be found in all but northern Piscataquis, Somerset and Aroostook … Continue reading

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Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike in Brewer (May, 2013)

A relatively shy and infrequently noticed bird in Maine, the northern shrike often perches atop a tree awaiting a food opportunity.  Unlike most songbirds, this one preys on small birds and rodents. This one, uncharacteristically, was in downtown Brewer near … Continue reading

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Nuthatches

White-breasted Nuthatch (2010)

are small, needle-nosed birds about the size of a chickadee, but more streamlined. Nuthatches come in two varieties in Maine: White-breasted (larger) and Red-breasted (smaller with a black eyeliner). They are frequent visitors to bird feeders, with, as expected, a … Continue reading

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Ospreys

Osprey Overlooking Harpswell Sound (2012)

The Osprey, or “fish hawk,” is a powerful large bird with a wingspan sometimes reaching six feet. Its threatening physical size and sharp talons contrast with its almost ridiculously timid “cheep, cheep” chirping voice. It can be found across the … Continue reading

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Red-tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk in a Tree on the Lunksoos Camps Road in the Maine woods (2014)

Red-tailed hawk, near the East Branch of the Penobscot River in the Maine woods Lunksoos area and near a logging yard in Crystal Continue reading

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Robins

Robin on a Lawn in Spring (2010)

The American Robin is the “sign of spring” for Mainers, when we first notice Robin Redbreast after a long absence. But in southern areas of the state these birds often resist the urge to join their northern cousins who head … Continue reading

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

This is the smallest bird in Maine.  Amazngly, this tiny, energy-burning bird migrates thousands of miles each year between Maine and the southern United States, Mexico and Central America. In southern Maine it appears in early summer for a brief … Continue reading

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Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane in Sherman (2015)

Sandhill Cranes are very large, tall birds with a long neck reaching four feet tall.  They have long legs and broad wings. The cranes are mostly found in the Midwest but since the year 2000 they have been seen in … Continue reading

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Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper (2014)

This bird is one of several sandpipers in Maine.  The Semipalmated Sandpiper, described as perhaps one of the most numerous shorebirds in North America, is not a permanent resident, but is does migrate through the state. Those featured here passed … Continue reading

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Sparrows

Chipping Sparrow (2010)

Several species of sparrows abound in Maine’s collection of birds.  They include the Chipping, Song, and White-throated sparrows. All are between 5 and 7 inches long. In an unusual twist, the female and male sparrows noted here have the same … Continue reading

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Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow at the Viles Arboretum (2002)

remains in Maine, along the coast, near freshwater ponds, and in agricultural fields, during the summer.  Thereafter, as with many other birds, it migrates to to southern coastal states, Mexico and Central America. This one apparently decided to take up … Continue reading

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Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

is a bird found in the southern half of Maine year-round.  Nationally, its range is essentially east of the Mississippi River. Slate gray with a white belly and a rusty area below the wings, the male, female and young Titmouse … Continue reading

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