Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Entries listed under "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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Aurora

Location Map for Aurora

is north of Ellsworth on Route 9 – “The Airline.” Silsby Plain is a sandy remnant of glaciers and a favorable site for blueberries. Another glacial feature, The Whalesback, is located east of the village, which is on the Old Airline Road. 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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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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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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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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Egrets

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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Ellsworth

Location Map for Ellsworth

Settled in 1763, it has relied on lumbering, shipbuilding, and industry to support its economy. The classic Grand Theater has been saved as an active movie and performance space. See photos. At the confluence of seven highway routes, the city is a shopping center for the area and summer tourism. The Col. John Black Mansion, a modified Georgian design, was home to the land agent for William Bingham. Continue reading

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Evergreen Cemetery

One of the Substantial Mausoleums in Evergreen (2002

Established by the City of Portland in 1854, the cemetery was designed by Charles H. Howe as a rural landscape with winding carriage paths, ponds, footbridges, gardens, chapel, funerary art and sculpture. It also includes extensive wooded wetlands. Evergreen was … 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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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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Gulls

Seagull Near Monhegan Island (2007)

While commonly called “sea gulls,” Maine hosts three types of these birds: Great Black-backed, Herring, and Ringed-neck gulls.  All are scavengers that eat a variety of items includng, fish (such as alewives – see photo below), clams, eggs of other … 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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Little Blue Heron

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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Moosehorn Refuge

Sign: Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (2004)

The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve, was established in 1937 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is the first in a chain of migratory bird refuges that extends from Maine to … 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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Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird in Newcastle (2008)

is a bird that inhabits marshes, swamps, meadows and pastures throughout the United States and throughout the state of Maine. The male is easily identified by its bright red “shoulder patches.”  The female and the young are streaked with brown, … 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

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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Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse or Partridge

Physical Characteristics Ruffed grouse (or “Partridge”) are the most widely distributed game birds in North America. They rank among the smaller of the 10 species of grouse native to North America with weights ranging from 17 to 25 oz. The … 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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Seboomook

Location Map for Seboomook

is both an unorganized township and a lake created by the Seboomook Dam.  Just north of Moosehead Lake, half the township and all of the lake are in Maine Public Reserved Land protective status. The 6,880-acre lake has over 69 … 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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Stanwood, Cornelia

Stanwood Homestead and Sanctuary Entrance (2013)

(1865-1958), was a well-respected Maine ornithologist. At the age of 48, she found her true calling in life – the study of birds. After floating through one teaching job after another for 17 years, and a nervous breakdown, she remembered … Continue reading

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T2 R4 WELS

Bog on the 6000 Road in T2 R4 WELS (2014)

This township is just east of Silver Ridge Township in southern Aroostook County. Crisscrossed with dirt logging roads, its main thoroughfare is the 6000 Road from U.S. Route 2 in Silver Ridge Dixie Road in the east terminating on U.S. … 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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Turkeys

From an article by George Matula Wildlife Biologist, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Physical Characteristics The Wild Turkey is North America’s largest upland game bird. Average adult hens weigh between 8 – 12 lb. and adult toms (males) between … Continue reading

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Willets and Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs in Harpswell

Willets and yellowlegs are birds similar in appearance, as are the greater and lesser yellow legs. Greater Yellowlegs As you have already guessed, “yellow legs” are a distinguishing feature of this long-billed shorebird.  It differs from the lesser yellowlegs by … Continue reading

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Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpecker

Maine Resident Woodpeckers Four species of woodpeckers are among the birds that inhabit Maine. The essence of being a woodpecker is the use of its sharp, pointed bill for digging into trees for nesting and extracting insects. Three share the … Continue reading

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