Birding in Maine

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Birds and Birding in Maine: 

Birds and Birding in Maine presented by Ron Joseph Spring 2006 American Woodcock

Approximately 212 species of birds breed in Maine: 

Approximately 212 species of birds breed in Maine

Another 130+ birds have been infrequently seen in Maine.: 

Another 130+ birds have been infrequently seen in Maine. Great Gray Owl Curlew Sandpiper Clark’s Grebe Ruff Eurasian Widgeon Common Ringed Plover

Possible/Probable Breeding Birds in Maine: 

Possible/Probable Breeding Birds in Maine Solitary Sandpiper Boreal Owl Hawk Owl Yellow Rail White-crowned Sparrow Golden-winged Warbler

What Makes Maine A Remarkable Place to Bird?: 

What Makes Maine A Remarkable Place to Bird? Coastal Islands, Beaches Boreal Forests Grasslands Freshwater Wetlands (forested, emergent, shrub-scrub) Salt Marshes Eastern Deciduous Forests


Fox Sparrow Pine Grosbeak Sandhill Crane Yellow-throated Vireo Blue-winged Warbler Carolina Wren “Birds have wings and they use them” Roger Tory Peterson


Boreal Forests Abundant spruce and fir habitat

Birds Typically Associated with Boreal Forests: 

Birds Typically Associated with Boreal Forests Spruce Grouse

Birds Typically Associated with Boreal Forests: 

Birds Typically Associated with Boreal Forests


Eastern Deciduous Forests

Birds Typically Seen in Eastern Deciduous Forests: 

Ovenbird Birds Typically Seen in Eastern Deciduous Forests


Salt Marshes (Scarborough, Weskeag) 160,000 acres of tidal wetlands


Salt Marshes


Weskeag River Salt Marsh Ring-billed Gull Great Egret Great Blue Heron Snowy Egret Yellowlegs sp.

Fresh Water Wetlands: 

Fresh Water Wetlands Maine is 25% wetlands 5.1 million acres of fresh water wetlands

Emergent Marsh: 

Emergent Marsh Wetlands are crucial to the survival of migratory birds


Freshwater Wetlands 16 species of waterfowl nest in Maine including ruddy duck, redhead, northern shoveler, northern pintail, and American widgeon


Emergent Wetlands Wood Duck


Forested Wetlands and Cedar Swamps


Grasslands 25,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Lands in Aroostook County


Grasslands 25,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Lands in Aroostook County


Coastal Islands Many are nationally significant for nesting seabirds

Coastal Islands: 

Coastal Islands Arctic Terns, Common Terns, Roseate Terns 94% of the Arctic Terns nesting in the lower 48 nest on 4 ME Coastal NWR Islands 50% of Maine’s Common Tern pop. nest on Refuge Islands


Flower Pots, Puffins and Guillemots Black Guillemot Young Puffin Puffins nest on five Maine Islands – Petit Manan, Seal, Matinicus Rock, Machias Seal, Eastern Egg Rock


Coastal Islands Attract Thousands of Tourists Annually From June to August, 25,000 tourists travel aboard the Friendship V…most with requests to see puffins and whales…@ $47.00 per person that equates to a $1.2 million summer business.


Coastal Islands 88% of the U.S. pop. of Atlantic Puffins nest on 3 ME Coastal NWR Islands

Coastal Islands are important stopover points for migrant shorebirds: 

Coastal Islands are important stopover points for migrant shorebirds Short-billed Dowitchers Seal Island Manx Shearwater constructed a burrow in 2005 and laid an egg


White-rumped Sandpiper (note the wing extension beyond the tail feathers)


Warblers Maine supports 26 species of nesting warblers Black-throated Green Black-throated Blue American Redstart Magnolia Ovenbird Tennessee Cape May Bay-breasted Black and White Northern Parula Wilson’s Blackpoll Canada Northern Waterthrush Louisiana Waterthrush Common Yellowthroat Chestnut-sided Blackburnian Mourning Yellow-rumped Prairie Pine Blue-winged Palm Nashville Yellow


Warblers often nest in Maine’s most scenic habitat Marsh Blue Violet


American Redstart Habitat: wet early successional deciduous & mixed woods Winters: Mexico, Central America, Northern South America Song: Remarkable repertoire of songs, highly variable, short series of 4 – 7 high buzzy notes, with or without accented endings.


Magnolia Habitat: Early successional coniferous forest stands Winters: Primarily in Mexico Song: Short sweet song. Weeto weetoo weetchew


Yellow-rumped Warbler Habitat: Coniferous forest with a mixture of deciduous trees Winters: Mid-Atlantic to southeastern states Song: variable, loosely structured trill often difficult to I.D. Most songs are two-parted, with ending up or down notes


Ovenbird Habitat: Deciduous & Mixed Woods Winters: Mexico, Central America, Caribbean Song: Loud emphatic “Teacher teacher teacher TEACH” “The Ovenbird” by Robert Frost “There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a midsummer and a mid-wood bird…”


Yellow Warbler Habitat: Shrubby broadleaf, especially old fields with openings Winters: Mexico to northern South America Song: Lovely bright song … Sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet


Tennessee Warbler Habitat: Boreal Forest Bird, Budworm specialist. Nests in black spruce-sphagnum bogs Winters: Throughout Central America and northern South America Song: Loud distinct staccato 3-parted song


Cape May Warbler Habitat: Boreal Forest Bird. Budworm specialist. Nests in red spruce-balsam fir stands Winters: Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and islands throughout the western Caribbean. Song: Not very musical. Weak, high, thin with up and down series of notes.


Bay-breasted Warbler Habitat: Boreal forest bird. Budworm specialist. Nests in spruce-fir stands intermixed with hardwoods. Winters: Costa Rica, Panama, NW South America Song: Song is similar to Cape May and Black and White Warbler but shorter, higher, and thinner.


Black-throated Green Warbler Habitat: Wide variety of mature deciduous, coniferous and mixed forest cover types. Winters: Central America Song: 2 distinct songs Zee, zee, zee, zee, zoo, zee (pair bond song … lower perches) Zoo, zee, zoo, zoo, zee i.e. cheese cheese limburger cheese (territorial song…higher perches)


MacArthur's Warblers Five species of insectivorous wood warblers -- Cape May, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Bay-breasted -- were the subject of a classic study of community ecology (the science of interpreting species interactions). These species often share the same breeding grounds in mature coniferous forests.


Black and White Warbler Habitat: Mature woods, deciduous or mixed. Early spring migrant. Winters: Florida, Bahamas, Greater Antilles Song: Lengthy song reminiscent of a squeaky wheel.


Northern Parula Habitat: Moist mature mixed woods and coniferous forests with lichen Winters: West Indies, Greater Antilles, Bahamas Song: Rapid buzzy trill rising in pitch with an emphatic ending.


Wilson’s Warbler Habitat: Shrubby broadleaf (willow) or mixed woods understory often near water, esp. beaver flowages. Winters: Highlands of Central America. Song: One or more rapid series of slurred chip notes usually dropping in pitch at the end.


Palm Warbler Habitat: Open bogs, with wooded margin of spruce trees and tamaracks Winters: Mainly in the southeast U.S. and Caribbean Song: series of buzzy, musical notes with little change in pitch


Pine Warbler Habitat: mature white and red pines Winters: Mid-Atlantic to southeastern states Song: rapid, musical trill. Notes are even pitch, pace and strength


Blackpoll Habitat: Stunted spruce–fir stands beneath tree line on mountain tops. Winters: Most highly migratory wood warbler. Almost exclusively in S. America including the Amazon Basin of Brazil. Song: Extremely high pitched (almost inaudible) series of notes that peaks in the middle


Canada Warbler Habitat: Cool, shaded, moist woodlands i.e. cedar swamps Winters: Almost exclusively in N. South America. Song: Beautiful jumble series of musical notes that often begins with a tic.


Wood Thrushes and many other long distance migrants are declining Habitat degradation in North America, along the migration route, and in Latin America (primarily deforestation)


Wood thrushes have one of the most complex and beautiful songs of any North American songbird.


Wood Thrushes nest primarily in the rich understory of eastern deciduous forests from Georgia to Central Maine (approximately the northern limit of their range)


Many forest tracts in Maryland are fragmented, not good for thrushes, tanagers and other forest interior birds The remaining fragmented forest tracks are degraded by exceedingly high deer densities (upwards of 130 per square mile) In some southern Maine towns, deer densities range from 40 to 100 deer per square mile


NA migratory birds wintering in CA constitute 60 to 80% of the bird species that inhabit the Eastern U.S. and Canada (100s of millions of birds representing 120+ species migrate through/winter in Central America)


From October until April, NA migrants are “squeezed” into a much smaller land mass which they share/compete with resident birds Many CA countries are undergoing some of the greatest deforestation rates in the world


Wood thrushes that nest in Maine, for example, are finding less available wintering habitat each year in Costa Rica, Mexico and elsewhere in CA


Industrial transformation of coffee production from traditional shade grown (bird friendly) to sun grown plantations (bird unfriendly) is fueling much of the deforestation in CA 66% of the world’s coffee is produced in CA and the Caribbean In El Salvador, coffee plantations represent 60% of the remaining forests


Shade grown coffee plantations mimic natural tropical rainforests. They are a haven for numerous NA migrants including Blackburnian Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, American Redstarts, Black-Throated Blue Warblers and Blue-headed Vireos Shade coffee plantations are a threatened habitat due to the acceleration of sun grown coffee plantations Blackburnian Warbler


Shade coffee is an important source of income for peasant farmers throughout Latin America. Tennessee Warbler


Outdoor cats are bad for birds Keep cats indoors Don’t release unwanted cats Neuter cats Bells don’t work Declawing does not prevent cats from killing songbirds Wisconsin Cat Study 2 million house cats statewide 8 million songbirds killed annually in Wisconsin


What can you do to help migratory birds? Support Conservation Organizations (Land Trusts, Forest Society of Maine, Friends Groups, Maine NREC, The Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Maine Audubon, and others) Participate on town/city conservation commissions Buy shade grown coffee Keep cats indoors Plant native trees and shrubs Take youth birding – Spread the joy


“All is not lost; the silent spring has not yet come. And it’s not going to come if enough of us care about these things.” David Rothenberg WHY BIRDS SING


Acknowledgements Pam and Bryan Wells Don Reimer Bill Sheehan Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy Forest Society of Maine Kennebec Land Trust Coastal Mountains Land Trust Maine Coastal Islands, NWR Sunkhaze Meadows, NWR Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows, NWR Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Department of Conservation Claybrook Mountain Lodge

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