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home : birding w/don reimer
August 5, 2020 

Tundra Travelers-
Least Sandpiper (Photos by Don Reimer)
Least Sandpiper (Photos by Don Reimer)
Although I would never wish to hasten the passage of summer, mid-July is a time of year I anticipate - the period when southbound shorebird migration begins. The vanguard of bird movement is now apparent at Weskeag Marsh and along our coastal beaches and inlets. Extending from July through September . . .
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Birding with Don Reimer: Armchair Safari-
It is not uncommon for adventurous birders to trek to remote destinations in search of interesting and exotic birds. Sticking closer to the home front these days, I'm enjoying a sort of armchair safari just outside my front picture window. What does my safari site look like? It contains several bird feeders suspended . . .
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Beach Birds-
Reaching the outer dunes at Popham Beach, I heard shrill kip-kip-kip vocalizations up ahead as Least Terns darted in from the ocean. A mere 8 to 9 inches in length, the exquisite Least Tern is the smallest of the North American terns. Its black-tipped, straw-yellow bill, black cap and nape and distinctive . . .
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Care and Feeding-
Seen any baby birds in your neighborhood? For some species, the nesting season has reached the halfway point as fledgling birds are leaving the nest to trail their parents through the woodlands. Many ducks, geese and Pied-Billed Grebes have produced their yearly . . .
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Island View-
We spent the final days of May on Monhegan Island. Birding on an island provides some observational and geographical advantages. The land mass of islands is finite and precisely defined by boundaries of ocean and sky, in Monhegan's case corralling birds into a mile-and-a-half-long strip. Islands offer . . .
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
A River Runs Through It-
For much of the year, Warren village is a sleepy little community tucked away between Routes 1 and 90. But each May the scene along the Georges riverfront is energized by the annual alewife spawning run. Interested local folks and a growing contingent of photographers from across New England assemble to . . .
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
City Birds-
It is no small wonder that Maine bird watchers celebrate the spectacle of spring bird migration, a period of anticipated arrivals with a few surprises tossed in for good measure. For example, a wayward Cattle Egret strode across a Monhegan Island lawn last week. A majority of Maine's nesting warbler species are now . . .
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Sap Days-
The sapsucker couple that nests in my neighborhood is active again. I hear their characteristic dragged-out ratta-tat-tat-tat territorial drumming sounds on the maple trees and other resonant surfaces, such as metal street signs. Although several species of sapsuckers span the continent, our Eastern representatives . . .
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Scheduled Arrivals-
Neighbor #1: "According to my calendar, the Phoebe that nests on my porch each spring should return tomorrow morning." Neighbor #2: "It's amazing that you could possibly know that." Neighbor #1: "Not really; I just check my calendar. The Phoebe has no calendar, but still arrives right on schedule." . . .
Thursday, April 16, 2015
On the Road-
In late March, I motored south for the Connecticut Ornithological Association's annual bird conference. In general, conferences can be boring or stimulating, depending on your interest level in the subject. Birds? Well yes, I was definitely interested. Prior to the day's three birding talks, 215 registrants milled through . . .
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
A Farewell to Winter -
Following our long, snowy winter, we now peer eagerly into March and the prospects of the vernal equinox. Winter birding conditions were challenging this year, leading many folks to stay home and monitor their feeding stations. Feeder watching can pay deep dividends by providing extended opportunities to . . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Personal Ads-
"Refined, healthy, well-educated man, 35 years old, blue eyes, brown hair, weight 160, 5 feet, 9 inches, wishes to correspond with lady able to finance good business proposition. I am a construction engineer and know the business thoroughly; object, wedding bells and business success for both parties. . . .
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Black Beauty-
It's 11 degrees outside and snowing lightly as I step into my backyard. Sitting in a state of calm watchfulness, a huge Raven occupies a weathered stub 200 feet away. It is his sentry post. For two weeks the solitary Raven had held vigil over a partially buried frozen Turkey carcass. Recently I added some beef neck bones . . .
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Bird on a Rope-
Back around Thanksgiving, sections of the midcoast lost electrical power for several days. When our power was restored, we evaluated the "edibility" of remaining food stocks from the fridge and freezer. Unfortunately, a 10-pound frozen turkey that appeared to be slightly . . .
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Close Encounters-
Years ago I led a group of youth birders from Bremen's National Audubon Camp on a late-summer field trip to Weskeag Marsh, where shorebird and falcon activity was high. The enthusiastic group watched with awe as an adult Peregrine Falcon chased after maneuvering shorebirds. Some kids were clearly rooting for . . .
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Inside the Christmas Bird Count-
Occasionally I'm asked about the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) process and how it works: "How can you count all the birds in your area in one day?" or "How do you know you're not counting the same birds more than once?" These are great questions, but first some background. The initial CBC event occurred in 1900 . . .
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Christmas Bird Count - Results from Thomaston-Rockland count
As part of National Audubon Society's 115th Christmas Bird Count, the annual Thomaston-Rockland Bird Count was conducted this past Saturday, on December 20. Currently there are 32 Christmas Bird Counts held across the state. The count period extends from December 14 through January 5 and is . . .

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Staying Late-
Birds and birders possess a strong sense of seasonal timing. By late April, our wall calendars foretell of arriving American Robins and Red-Winged Blackbirds and the spring nesting season. In fall, we watch with wonder as skeins of Canada Geese and Double-Crested Cormorants ramble southward. . . .
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Winter Finch Forecast-
As December approaches, birders and feeder watchers anticipate the arrival of "winter finches," that diverse group of nomadic feathered wanderers that vacates the northern boreal forest and heads southward in certain winters. Successfully forecasting the movements of anything wearing feathers is a sketchy blend of . . .
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Binos and Cameras-
With years of persistent bird watching, it is often possible to identify bird species in a ready fashion. This isn't a magical feat, but actually a matter of visual practice that is possible for most everyone. Size and shape of a given bird are good starting points with identification. Behavior and color patterns are also very . . .
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Shades of Yellow-
One recent morning near Popham Beach I witnessed several hundred chirping Yellow-Rumped Warblers as they flitted throughout stands of bayberry and winterberry bushes or launched headlong, in twisting fly-catching aeronautics. The horde's springtime vestments of vivid yellow, charcoal gray and black . . .
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Birds and Buildings-
For probably thousands of years, certain avian species have adapted to perching and nesting on man-made structures. Buildings are either a boon or a bane to birds, depending on the circumstances. Bright city lights can confuse and disorient neo-tropical migrants at nighttime . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Summer Beach-
Last week I explored Popham Beach State Park to take in the sights. Anecdotally speaking, there seemed to be fewer bikinis and striped beach balls than in summers past, but that's not why I actually went there. In avian terms though, the summer beach scene indicated that the month of July had arrived . . .
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Long Journey Home -
Unlike earthbound beings, birds possess considerable powers of flight and navigational ability to travel vast spans of our planet. This is especially true during peak migration periods, when about three-quarters of Maine's breeding birds rotate between breeding and wintering destinations. . . .
Friday, July 4, 2014
Great Egg-spectations -
Mid-June is an opportune time to take stock of the current nesting season, as over 200 species nest across Maine landscapes. In recent decades about 25 southern nesting species have pushed northward into New England as indicated by an influx of Carolina Wrens, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and Cardinals . . .
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Mob Scene -
Two fundamental aspects of birding, species identification and behavior watching, can lead to challenging and enjoyable field experiences. While birding the perimeter of Monhegan Island's wet meadow in late May, I heard animated vocalizations coming from aloft. . . .
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
An Eye on the Spring River -
During February, I often pondered the half-frozen Georges River that passes through Warren village beneath the Main Street Bridge. The channel opening would constrict at night, becoming a narrow slot carved out by the currents. Common goldeneyes and mergansers loafed along the ice floes . . .
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Merit Badges-
In human terms, a badge is described as "a distinctive emblem worn as a mark of office, membership, achievement, licensed employment, etc." For the avian population, badges constitute a variety of distinctive plumage patterns that contrast with the surrounding body feathers. . . .
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Pretty in White-
For delicate beauty and elegance, it's hard to match members of the heron/egret family. Snowy Egrets have returned to Weskeag Marsh for the summer season, and a roaming pair of Cattle Egrets recently passed through Rockland. Although superficially similar in appearance . . .
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Spring Waterfowl-
April is a peak period for waterfowl migration across the Northeast, as winging flocks of Canada Geese and ducks push northward. Equipped with narrow, pointed wings, waterfowl definitely do not have soaring as an option; for them, trans-regional movement is all about powered flight. . . .
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Late Winter's Larder-
Of the roughly 220 bird species that nest in Maine, about 75 percent of them retreat southward during the winter months. Cold winter weather is one driving force behind such movements, but lack of access to seasonal food is the primary influence at work here. . . .
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Birds as Logos-
From avian depictions on ancient cave walls, we know that birds have influenced man's thinking and given expression to cultural themes down through the ages. In the modern period, birds continue to exert an active cultural role. These days, birds are widely featured in art and photography, sports team logos . . .
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Given the amazing abundance of Snowy Owls visiting our region this year, it is easy to neglect other owls that winter or nest here in Maine. Ten species have been documented in the state, falling into several broad categories. Snowy Owls are the only tundra-nester in this group. . . .
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Camera Birds -
Keeping a camera at the ready when possible, I am always on the prowl for good bird photo opportunities. This week's column features two species that have passed through my camera's viewfinder. Last December I spied a lone Canada Goose nestled near a grassy cove in Cushing. . . .
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Snow Job-
With our winter bonanza of Snowy Owls here in the Northeast region, owl encounters are a pleasant reality for coastal birders these days. To illustrate, since mid-December I have recorded six separate Snowy Owls within a 10-mile radius of Rockland. . . .
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
January Hawks -
The winter season can be a tough time for hawks in Maine as snow and cold weather systems complicate the food situation. Occupying the upper end of nature's food chain, overwintering hawks rely heavily on capturing birds or small mammals to sustain them throughout those long frigid nights. . . .
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
2013 Thomaston-Rockland Christmas Bird Count
As part of the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, the annual Thomaston-Rockland Christmas Bird Count was held on December 21. Seesaw weather systems prior to count day played a role in this year's outcomes as back-to-back snowfalls blanketed the region . . .
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Winter Wanderers-
My frequent column readers will recognize a familiar birding maxim: the winter season delivers different sets of birds each year. It is now mid-December and, as forecast, winter finches are quite scarce in these parts. We can trace that situation to widespread abundance of seed . . .
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Thanksgiving holiday is an opportune time to consider turkeys. I am not talking about those top-heavy, farm-raised birds that are pardoned and spared from the dinner table each Thanksgiving by the President of the United States. I'm talking about wild stock, the primogenitors of all turkeydom. . . .
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Watching Birds Being Birds-
Birding field guides provide the framework of identification through two-dimensional depictions that highlight general shape, size and distinctive feather patterns of a bird. And, of course, species identification is an essential step in learning to enjoy birds. Sometimes I strive to sharpen my personal birding skills while driving by identifying road-killed birds . . .
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The Winter Finch Season-
We have reached that time of year when birders contemplate the arrival of winter finches. This is an equally good time to consider Ontario biologist Ron Pittaway's annual winter finch forecast. Sandwiched between southern Hudson Bay and the five Great Lakes, Ontario's vast boreal tracts produce a high percentage of Maine's wintering finches. . . .
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Bird on a Rock-
I admit it - a streaky brown bird perched on a barren rock may not elate most bird-watchers. Frequently the "LBJ" (little brown job) factor causes us to pass by a drab-looking bird in pursuit of more colorful or more easily identifiable species. Often the small brown bird in question is a member of the sparrow family. But not always. . . .
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Trap Days-
In terms of worthwhile bird watching experiences, I heartily recommend Monhegan Island in late September. The active filming of a new movie there based on an island community, "Catatonk Blues," added to the existing fascination this time around. Monhegan's current eight lobstermen were busily focusing on October 1, known to islanders as Trap Day. . . .
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A Visit from Big Bird-
From years of birding and amateur photography, I have accumulated an adequate catalogue of photos to draw upon for my bi-monthly birding articles. Nevertheless, I always prefer to write about recent scenarios and timely photos whenever possible. The present article actually began on September 9 when I received some online photos of a huge white bird taken . . .
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Raptors & Young Shorebirds Drawn Together During Migration Season-
The September migration period brings together two amazing groups of birds: raptors and shorebirds. Throughout their summer nesting season, these two distinct groups lead relatively separate lives. Most of our September shorebirds travel down from remote tundra nesting regions, while the majority of hawks and falcons are products of the vast Northern Boreal Forest . . .
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Some New Gulls in Town-
Some folks seek out rainbows in pursuit of beauty and inspiration. Me, I have an odd practice of scanning parking lots to see what forms of bird life might occupy such vast open spaces. Like finding the proverbial pot of gold at rainbow's end, I have been richly rewarded on a few occasions. Around 6 a.m. on August 3, I pulled into the paved parking lot behind Thomaston Grocery . . .

Thursday, August 22, 2013
The Martin Season-
As a quality birding destination, there is much to recommend the stretch of highway along Route 27 that borders the west side of Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade Village. A variety of interesting land and water birds, including several species of flycatchers, Yellow-Throated and Warbling Vireos, Marsh Wrens, grebes and herons, reside in the mix of marsh, lake and hardwood . . .
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Summer Songs-
On July 3rd at 4:10 a.m. a male cardinal awakened me with his first burst of morning song - a piercing, clear-throated "whoit!, whoit!, purty!-purty! -purty!" A few minutes later, an American Robin launched his throbbing "cheeralup-cheeralee" carol. In midsummer, the early-dawn bird chorus is somewhat diminished. Many of Maine's breeding songsters have abandoned . . .
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Spiders and Inchworms and Moths, Oh My!-
July is a good month to learn more about bird behavior by watching adult birds feeding their young. Sometimes fledgling birds even alert us to their presence through cheeping and begging sounds and quivering motions to solicit the parent's attention. Recently I witnessed two very different species pairs, Great Crested Flycatchers and Black-Capped Chickadees, as parents . . .
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Life on the Beach -
Fledgling birds are appearing in lots of places. Baby woodpeckers, titmice and sparrows now join their parents at my feeders. Juvenile Chickadees and American Robins are close to gaining their independence. By June 18, the occupants of the Ovenbird nest I wrote about earlier in the month had vacated their temporary dwelling place to seek a summer livelihood in the woods. . . .
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Hiding in the Woods-
The summer nesting season holds its secrets and wonders. Most songbirds seek out hidden woodland locations to construct a nest and attempt to raise a brood; some birds, such as Eastern Phoebes and American Robins are often comfortable nesting in close proximity to humans. By sheer chance, I encountered a ground-built nest last week during a brief early morning . . .

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Window Watching-
Learning to identify the common birds at a glance is certainly fun and challenging at times. Once we have made an accurate identification, though, then what? The other side of this fascinating equation involves watching bird behavior and observing their natural habits. In mid-May, I placed a double shepherd's hook on my front lawn area, suspending an oriole feeder and a . . .
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Signs of Spring-
If you didn't own a calendar, how would you know when spring had arrived? Of course, the blooming flowers and greening lawns are always reliable clues. For me, I often look to the presence of birds to describe each new season. Around 5:45 a.m. the other morning, a little birdy informed me that spring was most certainly here. Well, actually, it was a male Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker . . .
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Waiting for Warblers-
By mid-April many bird-watchers live in a state of anticipation. We were teased by a trickle of early-arriving migrants - tail-bobbing Eastern Phoebes and scores of American Robins sprawled across lawns and fields - but we await the month of May and hordes of lively, varicolored warblers. The suite of Eastern warblers is truly diverse in terms of color patterns, songs and habitat choices.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Looking at Ducks-
Perched in tall treetops above my driveway, two male cardinals engage in a morning singing session: "Cheeeer! cheeeer! Tu, tu, tu, tu." They are preparing for spring. Chickadees and House Finches also vocalize nearby. Male Woodcocks have arrived to "sky dance" above our alder-edged fields, and territorial Red-Wing Blackbirds are staking out partially frozen cattail patches. . . .

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Pigeon Fanciers: Cooper's Hawk & Peregrines-
If you spend time in downtown Rockland, you may notice pigeons clustered on shingled rooftops, huddled along utility lines or wheeling in tight, graceful formations above the city streets. Other sets of eyes, far sharper and keener than ours, notice them as well. I am talking about two large aerial predators that base their winter survival on capturing Rock Pigeons and Mourning Doves . . .
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Small Goose; Bigger Story-
On January 31, I followed a typical early-morning routine of checking sundry Rockland bird sites before heading off to work. A powerful, low-pressure weather system, with lashing south winds, horizontal rain and 52-degree temperatures, had pounded the region for over 24 hours and visibility was greatly restricted. . . .
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Dump Pickin'-
Although 40 years or more have passed, I recall an experience at the former Bristol Town Dump, a genuine garbage dump in those times, with a proud tradition of dump picking. I had parked next to a smartly dressed lady who drove a gleaming, open-topped convertible. As I exited my rusting pickup truck, the lady and I focused on an item lying between us in the gravel. . . .
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A Trio of Winter Gulls -
Gulls are some of the most highly mobile of birds, often shifting their regional locations with the seasons. As we might expect, there is a general southbound parade of gulls during the winter months. And while a few adult individuals arrive here in mid-winter when food grows scarce farther north, a larger share of our winter visitors are immature gulls. . . .
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Evening Grosbeaks-
Throughout my early childhood, we always maintained a couple of bird feeders outside the kitchen window. Chickadees would rush in to snatch sunflower seeds and then quickly retreat to a thick stand of lilacs. Woodpeckers fed on suet placed in a hanging onion bag. My favorite season was winter, when the nomadic flocks from boreal regions stormed our feeders.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Coastal Bluebirds -
You may have heard the old expression "a blue bird day." Well, when I researched its origins, I discovered that it is quite unrelated to bluebirds. The term came from downhill skiers to describe a perfectly sunny beautiful day following an overnight storm of powdery snow. Go figure. Last week I photographed several Eastern Bluebirds feeding on staghorn sumac fruits in Rockport. . . .
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Seen any good birds?-
Encountering fellow birders in the field, a typical greeting is "Seen anything good?" That, of course, depends on your personal definition of what constitutes a "good" bird and your own expectations for the day. A Blue Jay is a common sight here in Maine, but would be a hotline bird in California.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Pine Grosbeaks -
True to earlier prognostications, this fall season is shaping up as an irruptive finch winter. Watchers are already encountering troupes of Evening Grosbeaks, Redpolls, White-winged and Red Crossbills and scattered Bohemian Waxwings at feeders and especially around fruit bearing trees. Large vocal flocks of squabbling Pine Siskins are present at thistle feeders.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Red-tailed Hawk -
If you have ever driven past a large, bulky hawk perched on a roadside utility line or field fencepost, you may have spotted a Red-tailed. As the fall calendar advances, the odds increase that the hawk in question is a Red-tailed. During the summer, smaller but similar Buteo hawks, such as Broad-winged or Red-shouldered, might occupy these same hunting perches.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Another Annual Finch Forecast -
Long-range forecasting is risky business, especially when birds are involved. Each fall Ontario biologist Ron Pittaway issues a winter finch forecast for eastern Canada and, by extension, the nearby tier of northern states. To survive the harsh winter season, roving finch flocks must search out regions with ample stores of cones, fruits and berries. . . .
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Maine's sparrow -
Pulling out of my driveway at dawn, I notice dozens of small birds flitting low through my headlight beams; they are all sparrows. Fall is a good time to watch for migrating sparrows around edges of fields and weedy roadways. Decked out in their intricate patterns of browns, grays and whites, sparrows present a marked contrast to our colorful spring warblers.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Phalaropes -
It's no secret that I enjoy shorebirds. In the past 15 years or so, I have observed 30 different species feeding or roosting at Weskeag Marsh in South Thomaston. The "rarest" discovery was probably a second-year male Ruff, a Eurasian species that somehow wandered off course during its fall journey to Australia.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
September's Shorebirds -
The span of fall bird migration extends across several months. Migration is predictable in many ways but is often an untidy process that provides some unexpected bird sightings along the way. Warbler and sparrow movements are now well under way, as a mix of adult and juvenile birds file southward. Raptors, seabirds and waterfowl will rule the skies in coming weeks.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Headin' offshore -
After several false starts (prohibitive heavy fog or high seas on previous tries) I took a whale watch cruise out of Bar Harbor in late July. The prospect of seeing bus-sized leviathans was appealing enough, but I was equally interested in the birds lurking offshore. In ecological terms, the deepwater pelagic zones might as well be a separate planet from inshore waters.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
An Osprey Walks into a Bar, Sits Down and Orders a Drink -
I get occasional phone calls about birds. On August 5 around 7:30 p.m., Katie Syrett phoned from Owls Head. "This is going to sound strange," she said, "but I have an osprey sitting on my porch. It's just standing here staring at me." She had heard a thud outside, apparently produced when the bird made contact with her porch.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Birding with Don Reimer: Loon Surveys -
In mid-July I accompanied my friend Mark DiGirolamo during his loon monitoring studies for the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), which is funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This work involves surveys of adult and juvenile Common Loon populations on 11 ponds in Waldo County. Our first stop was Sanborn Pond, north of Brooks.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Piping Plover -
Some years ago I visited Plymouth Beach in Massachusetts. There I viewed Plymouth Rock - barely enough turf for a big-footed person to safely step ashore. Then I hiked the two-mile beach and found the vocal colony of nesting Piping Plovers at its tip. The area was plainly cordoned off and featured several prominent warning signs to alert passersby.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Chestnut-sided Warblers -
If you happen to recognize this bird's snappy accented song, you can drive along most any secondary roadway in midcoast Maine in June and hear dozens of Chestnut-sided Warblers. Turn off your car radio and roll down the windows: "Pleased, pleased, pleased to MEET-CHA!" resounds from wooded roadsides.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Sora -
Here's a quick brain teaser: Name a 6- to 8-inch bird with a flexible rib cage that can compress its body laterally to a thickness of less than one inch. By looking at this week's photo, you'll soon discover that the bird in question is a small chicken-like member of the rail family called a Sora. This species personifies the expression "thin as a rail."
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
River Silhouettes -
Due to my lifelong interest in birds, I own a modest collection of bird guides and scientific volumes. Modern bird guides have definitely evolved and, some would say, improved through the decades. I cut my birding teeth on Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide to Birds, and I still open the cover liners periodically to inspect those marvelous flight profiles.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Three Early Warblers -
For many Maine bird watchers, spring is personified by the arrival of two dozen or so species of wood warblers. Adorned in their brightest breeding plumage, these small active creatures have been aptly described as feathered jewels. At springtime hotspots, such as Evergreen Cemetery in Portland and Monhegan Island, warblers should be swarming by mid- to late May.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Kinglet Clan -
With the onset of spring migration, Maine bird watchers will encounter groups of incoming birds of all shapes and sizes. The larger species will be easy to spot -soaring turkey vultures, vees of Canada geese and sky-waves of double-crested cormorants heading up river valleys. This week's article concerns two of Maine's tiniest feathered creatures, the Golden-Crowned and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Birding by Ear -
This week's column begins at the office of a Middletown, Connecticut, audiologist in late March. My former high school comrade John Coggins had invited me for a weekend birding trip and to attend the annual conference of the Connecticut Ornithological Association.

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Night Owls -
Well, I did it again - spent a sleepless night traveling the byways between Somerville and Palermo on the owl-calling circuit. For a decade now, I've volunteered with the Maine Owl Monitoring Program.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Stakeout -
Stakeout: (stak-out) noun. Surveillance of an area, building or persons, often by police. Birders are also known to indulge in this practice when rare or unusual species are reported.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Seaside Snowy -
For many of us, there is something very appealing about owls. Maybe it's their enormous round eyes and upright stance that somehow remind us of miniature people. Myriad children's story books and stuffed owl toys attest to their widespread popularity.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
February Arrivals -
February can be a tough month for birding - sort of between the seasons. Most of the winter birds have already arrived and the early spring migrants are hanging out somewhere south of New England.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Remembering Summer -
As a kid growing up in a summer tourist town, I recall how local folks anticipated the arrival of the first of the "summer people" who vacationed at our shoreside inns and cottages. For a few warm weeks each summer, it was the "natives" and the "people from away" . . .
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Fish Crows in Rockland -
Most everyone is familiar with crows. Our local crows are called American Crows, the "standard model" for us Mainers. And a crow is just a crow, right? Well the answer to that particular question depends on what part of Maine you are talking about.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Saga of the Coot Flocks on Chickawaukie Lake
For people driving past Chickawaukie Lake this fall and early winter (not all of them "birders" in the typical sense), the spectacle of 600 American Coots feeding at lakeside drew their close attention.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Winter Woodpeckers -
While feeder activity has lagged this fall and early winter, it's been a productive year for trekking woodpeckers in Maine. Most of our regularly occurring woodpeckers, such as Downy, Hairy and the crow-sized Pileated, are essentially nonmigratory, while most Northern Flickers . . .
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Mild Fall Weather Reflected in This Year's Christmas Bird Count
Each December I begin this Christmas Bird Count summary with the same basic premise: which is that every year is entirely different! As I stepped outside in the pre-dawn darkness this past Saturday, the Big Dipper and a sky-load of crystalline stars shone overhead. The television weather-guessers had forecast a sunny day with light northerly winds.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Thanksgiving Visitor -
Throughout Thanksgiving Day on Beech Hill Road in Northport, two banquets were going on simultaneously. Indoors a traditional turkey dinner, with a tasty free-range tom turkey, was being served. Outside the spacious farmhouse, an entirely different type of . . .
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Looking Ahead to Winter -
There is an element in the New England psyche that enjoys the challenge of making long-range predictions. Since 1818, for example, the Farmer's Almanac has announced its yearly weather forecasts many months in advance.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Big Year -
Recently I went to see "The Big Year," a movie about three zealous birders who set out on a 1998 competitive quest to find every conceivable bird species within North America and try to break the existing continental record of 721 species observed in a single calendar year.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Lost and Found -
I recall the excitement I felt, as an inquisitive young boy growing up in New Harbor, when I found two baby robins that had fallen from a springtime nest somewhere in my neighborhood.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Early Morning, Monhegan -
On September 21 at 4:30 a.m., I began the trudge up the gradual gravel roadway leading to the Monhegan Lighthouse. Guided only by the sweeping beam of the light beacon and blazingly bright stars overhead, I needed no flashlight.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher -
Due to its minuscule size and treetop-dwelling habits, this week's featured species may be unfamiliar to readers.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
It's Hawk Season
Mid-September can be a productive time to gaze skyward in search of migrating raptors. On crisp, clear days with brisk northwest winds, a variety of diurnal raptors move southward along lakefronts, coastlines and ridges.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Mystery Bird Quiz -
Here's a September mystery bird quiz. At first glance, this generic buff-and-brown-striped bird could be a member of the blackbird family, or possibly some type of sparrow.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sorting through the birds -
Since the early settlement of the American continent, our understanding of common birds has been changed through the work of successive generations of ornithologists and bird-watchers.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Territorial Battle -
My birder/photographer friend Karl Gerstenbeger sent this eyewitness account from his Lincolnville home.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The familiar gray-backed Herring Gull -
It's only 6:30 a.m. on a workday morning, and I'm already at a Rockland public restroom meticulously scrubbing the soles of my sandals with foaming hand soap, water and paper toweling.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Bird Feeders -
I am one of an estimated 60 million Americans who feed birds. Why do we do so? While supplemental feeding may slightly increase winter survival rates of a few species, most birds would survive without our well-intentioned provisions.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Alewife season stirs up the river -
Osprey with a double alewife catch  Photo by Karl GerstenbergerOsprey with a double alewife catch Photo by Karl Gerstenberger
A perpetual source of natural beauty, recreational opportunities and commercial activity, the Georges River comes alive each May as schools of alewives make their way upstream to spawn.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Mark Libby -
Before his death at age 86 on May 9, I spent about four decades birding throughout New England and Eastern Canada with my good friend Mark Libby. He was a great birder and naturalist, who started birding as a young kid growing up in Waterville.

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Ravens -
A decade ago, I began observing the spring activities at a local raven nest.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Birds of Early Spring -
Birdwise, April is indeed an odd month in Maine. By late in the month, several groups of the early migrants, particularly waterfowl, have already progressed to northern breeding areas.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fox Sparrows -
Well before dawn these days, a male Song Sparrow sings enthusiastically beneath my bedroom window: "Maids, maids, maids, put on your teakettle, kettle, kettle." It is still dark outside.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Birding with Don Reimer: Seasonal Transitions -
Although the spring and fall calendars mark the peak of seasonal bird migration across the continent, there is a constant interchange of birds entering or leaving Maine every month of the year.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
A Father Goose story -
On January 3, Owls Head resident Sandy Heimann contacted me regarding a large white "swoose" that was hanging out with a flock of 40 Canada Geese at the junction of Cripple Creek and the tidal flats near Crockett's Beach.

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Brown Thrasher -
In truth, I am surprised to be writing about a local Brown Thrasher in the month of March. Actually, the bird in question was discovered in a Rockport sumac patch on February 18!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Barred Owls -
This winter's frequent snowstorms create ample opportunities to observe and study animal and bird tracks around our backyards.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Long-eared Owl -
On a November afternoon, Eileen Murray heard a raucous chorus of American Crows outside her Rockland home. When she went to check the scene, a Long-eared Owl sat staring at her from a huge cedar tree a few feet away.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Purple Gallinule -
On the afternoon of January 9, Martinsville resident David Morey phoned about a strange bird in his side yard. "The bird looks like some kind of a heron," he said.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Accipiter Hawks -
If you stock a bird feeding station in your backyard, you have probably encountered one of the three members of the Accipiter family of hawks at one time or another.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Winter Finch Forecast -
With the approach of each winter season, Maine birders ask a perennial question: "Will we see flocks of winter finches this year?" Since most of these hardy finches nest in boreal Canada, they are relatively unfazed by frigid weather conditions.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
When the Russians Came -
Back in 1992, National Audubon Society's Senior Vice President of Education Marshall Case invited me to lead a field trip for two Russian ornithologists and three teenaged Russian birders.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Never before documented in New England-
Late October turned out to be an auspicious time for Oregon research ornithologist Randy Moore to visit with family in Rockland.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Fall Migration -
We are all familiar with the broad seasonal movements of birds during the spring and fall migration periods.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Name-That-Bird Quiz
Occasionally I submit a Name-That-Bird photo challenge for readers to study and identify.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wading Birds -
The challenges associated with studying smallish gray and brown waders is somewhat alleviated when the more sizeable shorebirds arrive in Maine later in the season.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Peregrine Falcon -
With the exception of the bulky, Arctic-nesting Gyrfalcon, the Peregrine Falcon is the largest of the Eastern falcon clan.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Gull A469 -
Last April several local birders reported seeing a "strange gull" at Weskeag Marsh with fluorescent orange markers on both wings.

Thursday, September 2, 2010
Warblers -
Each spring birders anticipate the arrival of the colorful wood warblers that flood across our diverse Maine habitats. Their sundry vocalizations fill the forests and fields as the dawn chorus begins each morning.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Kestrels -
Formerly known as the Sparrow Hawk, the American Kestrel is the smallest and most common of the falcon clan.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
River Surveys -
Along with about 50 other volunteers, I am beginning a second year of bi-monthly river surveys that canvass 10 rivers from Saco to Machias.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Eagles and Alewives -
In mid-May the Georges River takes on new life as the annual alewife run begins. Schools of alewives, a member of the herring family, return from the ocean to spawn in the upper reaches of the Georges waterway.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Nesting Season -
For a number of Maine's approximately 230 avian nesting species, the transitional period between spring arrival dates and the onset of nesting activity can be rapid indeed.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Migrating Shorebirds -
By mid-May several species of tundra-nesting shorebirds are making their way northward.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Special Equipment -
The size, shape and structure of a bird's bill and feet can tell us a lot about its lifestyle.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
"Quiz Bird" -
Some years ago I spent time studying birds with shorebird expert Wayne Petersen. Wayne was a great teacher who would occasionally focus a bird in his spotting scope, smile broadly at his students and announce, "Quiz bird!"
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Song Sparrows -
It is likely that most everyone who reads this column lives in close proximity to a spring Song Sparrow territory.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Bird Man
"Hear them?" said Don Reimer, stopping and swinging around to look up at the sky. "Killdeer." The excitable two-note call, kill-deer, kill-deer, kill-deer, kill-deer, was winging away from us, high over the Weskeag Marsh on . . .
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Maine Owl Monitoring -
Since 2002 I have participated in the annual Maine Owl Monitoring Program that is cosponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fsheries & Wildlife and Maine Audubon.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Black Guillemot -
The auk family is comprised of several black-and-white seabirds that nest in the upper northern Atlantic region.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Birds in winter -
On a chilly mid-February day with a biting northwest wind, I sat inside the heated interior of my car watching a Common Loon at rest in the 39-degree water of Rockland Harbor.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Surf Scoter -
The male Surf Scoter has a very unique appearance that is hard to confuse with other ducks. Aptly nicknamed the "skunk-headed coot," this stocky diver is a velvety black color.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Red-shouldered Hawks -
A medium-sized woodland hawk, the Red-shouldered Hawk is a member of the buteo family.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Bird Attacks Window . . . -
Let's begin with an actual newspaper headline from The National Enquirer: "Cincinnati Woman Trapped Inside Her Home With Darkened Windows... Held Captive By Hormonally Imbalanced Birds!" Want to learn more? Read on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Unappreciated "Just Seagulls" -
Of the different groups of birds pursued by birders, the members of the gull family are perhaps the least appreciated. The general public dismisses them as "just seagulls" that try to rob their sandwich at the beach.

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Black-headed Gull -
Although about three quarters of Maine's 230 nesting species depart our region each fall, the winter season provides expanded opportunities to see a variety of northern migrant gulls.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Carolina Wren -
Of the five species of wrens that inhabit Maine during the nesting season, the Carolina Wren is the largest member of the family.

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Weskeag Marsh -
At least through New Year's Day, three Great Blue Herons had lingered amidst the icy jumble of frozen habitat of Weskeag Marsh.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Owls -
As the true winter season arrives, owl species come to mind as we begin noticing them perched along roadways and field margins.

Thursday, January 7, 2010
Greater Scaup -
During the December 19 Rockland-Thomaston Christmas Bird Count, I took special notice of a certain brown duck swimming near to shore at Buoy Park in Rockland Harbor.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Christmas Bird Count Yields 70 Species
Mockingbird guarding his berry patch on Rankin Street, RocklandMockingbird guarding his berry patch on Rankin Street, Rockland
A maxim of the annual Christmas Bird Count process still holds true: each year, the finalized results are markedly different.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Purple Sandpiper -
When I began writing a weekly birding column about three years ago, the first species I featured was a Purple Sandpiper that I had photographed on the Rockland Breakwater.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
On the last day of the season we had a stowaway. She showed up early in the morning before we were even under way and stayed with us almost all the way back to Rockland
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Shrikes -
By late November we begin to see a few of the migratory species that move southward from Canada to spend the winter in New England. These include Tree Sparrows, Snow Buntings and a complement of winter finches such as siskins, crossbills and grosbeaks.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Birds of a different feather -
In writing a weekly birding column over several years, I try to combine photos of local birds with some relevant information on each given species. By their very nature, most birds are beautiful, graceful creatures that add a sense of interest and inquiry to our lives.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Grebes -
One of several species of grebes that winter along the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, the medium-sized Horned Grebe changes its suit of feathers with the changing of the seasons.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Birds and Kids -
It has been said that our current generation of children is the first generation that does not want to go outside.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Northern species begin to arrive to spend winter in the midcoast -
The arrival of the fall season is a transitional time for bird migration in Maine.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Hawks -
As migrating woodland songbirds vacate their Northeastern nesting grounds each fall, several species of hawks begin to appear at bird-feeding stations and neighborhood hotspots where groups of birds congregate.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Dream Stuff of Birders
According to one definition, a fallout of birds is "a mass of birds, exceptional in both number and diversity that descends on a given locale as a result of meteorological or seasonal forces."

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Birds and Wind Turbines -
About a year ago, ornithologist Dr. Richard Podolsky and his assistant Mark DiGirolamo began monthly bird surveys on Monhegan Island to help determine what effects, if any, a proposed wind turbine would have on migratory and resident birds moving across the crest of the island.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Photographing Birds -
I can specifically recall the day when I first thought, "Boy, do I wish I had a digital camera!"
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Nelson's & Saltmarsh Sparrows -
We usually think of sparrows as birds of open grassland, shrubby woods and roadsides. Two of Weskeag's sparrow species, however, are quite different in their habits and unique dietary choices.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Semipalmated Sandpiper -
Named for the partial webbing between its toes, the Semipalmated Sandpiper is the most numerous of the group of small shorebirds collectively known as "peeps."
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Shorebird Migration -
All aspects of seasonal bird migrations are fascinating; each family of birds approaches migration somewhat differently.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wading Birds -
In coming weeks, folks driving down Buttermilk Lane in South Thomaston may notice a growing number of large wading birds in the pools and pannes around the marsh.

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Banded Birds -
In 1803 North American bird banding unofficially began when teenaged John J. Audubon attached delicate silver cords to the legs of some nestling Eastern Phoebes.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tree Swallow -
Arriving in Maine in early to mid-April, the compact, bicolored Tree Swallow is the earliest of our swallow migrants.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One of the Best Songbirds -
A bird of mature mixed and deciduous woods in the eastern U.S. and southern Canada, the cinnamon-backed Wood Thrush is more often heard than seen.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Eastern Kingbird -
A relatively large and aggressive flycatcher, the Eastern Kingbird is distinctive with its clean black and white appearance and its forceful actions.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Pied-billed Grebe -
Nesting in marshy habitats throughout much of central Canada and northern portions of the U.S., the stocky, compact Pied-billed Grebe is the most widespread grebe in North America.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Barn Swallow -
Nesting across the northern hemisphere, the Barn Swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Spruce Grouse -
Although we marvel at the colorful and intricate feather patterns of spring wood warblers, the Spruce Grouse certainly stands out as a resplendent forest beauty.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
American Redstart -
One of the most lively and acrobatic of the wood warblers, the colorful American Redstart nests across regions of southern Alaska, Canada and the eastern U.S.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
The Nesting Season -
By mid-June, all but a few of Maine's estimated 230 species of breeding birds have either nested or are already fledging their young. The American Goldfinch is one notable exception, delaying until late July or early August when thistle down is readily available for nest building material and seed is most abundant.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Chestnut-sided Warbler -
In a later field journal, John James Audubon wrote: "Beginning in May 1808, I shot five of these birds on a very cold morning near Potts-Grove, Pennsylvania. I have never met a single individual of this species since."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Brant Goose -
At a length of 25 inches and a weight of only three pounds, the Brant Goose is somewhat similar to the larger and more familiar Canada Goose; it is actually about the size of a Mallard Duck.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sandhill Cranes in Maine
Although Sandhill Crane sightings are a routine matter in the Midwestern U.S., any sightings in Maine are always noteworthy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Eastern Towhee -
The largest member of the sparrow family, the Eastern Towhee is a bird of brushy hillsides, tangled undergrowth and forest edges.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Horned Lark -
Although we are somewhat familiar with Eastern Meadowlarks in our local agricultural fields, the Horned Lark is the only true lark species to inhabit North America.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Herons -
A Tricolored Heron at Weskeag MarshA Tricolored Heron at Weskeag Marsh
For sheer elegance and functional design, the members of the heron and egret family certainly distinguish themselves.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Winter Wren -
The smallest and darkest of the wren species, Winter Wrens occupy the northern sectors of North America; with populations in Europe and Asia, it is the only wren that occurs outside of the Americas.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Seeing Birds -
Successful bird watching involves some acquired skills and techniques, a decent set of optics and a good measure of luck and timing.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Out-of-Range Rarities -
Approximately 230 species of birds breed in Maine, and it is possible to observe over 400 species at various seasons of the year.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Northern Raven -
Technically speaking, the Northern Raven is our largest songbird. Ravens are distinguished from crows by their superior size, heavy bill, long, shaggy throat feathers and wedge-shaped tail.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
American Crow -
The American Crow is a widespread and familiar bird that ranges across much of the American continent. Easily recognized by its all-black plumage, crows are sometimes confused with their larger cousin the Northern Raven.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Waterfowl Migrations -
April is the primary month for spring waterfowl migration throughout Maine, and it is possible to see over 20 species of migrating ducks.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Vultures -
As the month of March ushers in a new season of bird migration, we will soon begin to see Turkey Vultures throughout the coastal region.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Bohemian Waxwing -
Arriving from regions of the northern boreal forest, the nomadic Bohemian Waxwing is one of our most photogenic and elegant songbirds.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Eastern Bluebird -
In February there were a few reports of Eastern Bluebirds throughout the midcoast. A medium-sized member of the thrush family, these bluebirds are one of the most appealing of our songbirds.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Pine Grosbeak -
At 8 to 10 inches in length, the Pine Grosbeak is the largest of the winter finches. These plump, colorful birds nest in boreal forest regions stretching from Alaska to Nova Scotia.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Green-winged Teal -
As the smallest of the North American dabbling ducks, the drake Green-winged Teal weighs less than a pound. Females weigh a mere 6 ounces. In direct comparison, they are about a third of the size of a Mallard.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Snow Geese -
During the early winter season, several flocks of Snow Geese have lingered in midcoast Maine; local reports have come from Rockland, Cushing, Bremen and Bristol.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Black-headed Grosbeak -
Normally a breeding bird of the western U.S. and southwestern Canada, a Black-headed Grosbeak arrived in a South Hope dooryard in mid-January.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
American Robin -
In recent weeks, I have received frequent reports of American Robin sightings throughout the midcoast region. Some inquiries expressed concern for the robins and whether they could withstand the cold January temperatures.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Pine Siskin -
At a length of 4 to 6 inches, the diminutive Pine Siskin is the smallest of the winter finches. The siskin is one of our "irruptive" finches, moving southward in great numbers during certain winters.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Snowy Owl -
My earliest childhood recollection of this majestic raptor is noticing the bird's striking logo on a box of White Owl Cigars.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Northern Hawk Owl -
In many ways the handsome Northern Hawk Owl is a bird of contradictions. Although it is truly an owl, its distinctive body shape and aggressive hunting behaviors suggest the qualities of a swift-flying falcon.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Purple Finch -
The bright, colorful plumage of many male songbirds often makes for easy field identification. But the generally browner or duller plumage of some female birds is a bit more challenging.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Grasshopper Sparrow -
When my close birding friend Mark DiGirolamo phoned on December 21 to report a Grasshopper Sparrow in Tenants Harbor, I couldn't have been more surprised.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The 109th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Between December 14 and January 5 thousands of volunteers across North America will be participating in the 109th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Yellow-breasted Chat -
At a length of seven inches, the Yellow-breasted Chat is easily the largest member of the wood warbler family.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Mystery Bird -
When Roger Tory Peterson published A Field Guide to the Birds in 1934, the initial 2,000 copies of the book sold out in one week.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Red-throated Loon -
The smallest and most slender of the several loon species, Red-throated Loons migrate from Alaska and extreme northern Canada and spend winters along both coastlines and around the Great Lakes.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Winter Seagulls -
We have reached the time of year when a few Arctic-nesting gulls arrive at our local harbors. Known as the "white-winged" gulls, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls lack the blackish wingtips and dark tail markings typically found on other gulls.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Golden Eagle -
The fall and late winter months provide opportunities to see occasional Golden Eagles passing through Maine.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Red-bellied Woodpecker -
Throughout the early fall, people who watch and feed birds are reporting a heavy increase in Red-bellied Woodpecker sightings across the state.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Migrating Waterfowl -
Photo by Don ReimerPhoto by Don Reimer
Late October begins yet another wave of bird migration throughout Maine.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Turtle Dove -
The sleek and graceful Ringed Turtle Dove is the species of dove that is mentioned in the Bible.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Barnacle Goose -
While it is true that birds of a feather generally tend to flock together, occasionally birds of a slightly different feather may join them.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Ring-necked Pheasant -
With their long streamlined tail and sleek body profile, both sexes of the Ring-necked Pheasant are dramatic birds indeed.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Migrating Shorebirds -
In conjunction with the International Shorebird Survey (ISS), I conducted periodic shorebird surveys at Weskeag Marsh again this year.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Lesser Black-backed Gull -
Within the four seasons of the year it is possible to see over a dozen species of gulls along the mid-coastal region.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Shorebirds -
By late September the main thrust of the fall shorebird migration has subsided.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Bald Eagle -
Whenever a mass of gulls suddenly rises over Rockland harbor, it often indicates the presence of a soaring Bald Eagle overhead.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Cooper's Hawk -
If a hawk is marauding around your backyard bird feeders, the chances are strong that it is a member of the Accipiter family.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Birds of Weskeag Marsh in late August -
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs  Photo by Don ReimerGreater and Lesser Yellowlegs Photo by Don Reimer
Seasonal bird migration continues at a brisk pace at Weskeag. By now all of the species have fledged their young, and the marsh has become a rich feeding and staging area for southbound birds.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
American Goldfinch -
With its brilliant yellow plumage and black forehead and wings, the male American Goldfinch is unmistakable.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Yellow Warbler -
When the anticipation and excitement of spring warbler migration passes, we tend to forget about this tiny colorful family of birds.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
A collage of Weskeag birds from early August -
Semipalmated Sandpiper  Photo by Don ReimerSemipalmated Sandpiper Photo by Don Reimer
In many ways the month of August signals the early beginnings of fall bird migration.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Bobolink -
Arriving from as far away as the pampas of Argentina each spring, the energetic Bobolink nests in hayfields and open grassy habitats across Maine and southern Canada.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Black-billed Cuckoo -
Of the two cuckoo species nesting in Maine (the Yellow-billed Cuckoo is the other one) the Black-billed Cuckoo has a more northerly distribution.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Great Blue Heron -
As the largest and most widespread of the North American herons, the Great Blue Heron is a familiar sight in Maine during much of the year.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tree Swallow -
The compact Tree Swallow is the earliest swallow species to arrive in Maine each spring. By mid-April a few male swallows are seen coursing low over ponds and marshes in search of flying insects.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Destination: The Andes Wilson's Phalarope -
With peak numbers arriving in mid to late August, the southward shorebird migration has already begun. The largest of the three phalarope species, the slender Wilson's Phalarope is also the most terrestrial.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Willet -
Although many shorebird species nest in northern tundra regions, the Willet occupies an extensive breeding range stretching from Nova Scotia into the Caribbean.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Alder Flycatcher -
Field identification of a genus of small, drab-looking flycatchers known as the Empidonax can give birders fits.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Black-capped Chickadee -
Our Maine state bird, the Black-capped Chickadee, is an energetic little creature that enlivens many backyards and woodland settings.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Indigo Bunting -
Nesting across eastern North America into the Great Plains states, the sparrow-sized Indigo Bunting is one of our most striking songbirds.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Migrating Shorebirds Arriving and Passing Through -
Short-billed Dowitcher  Photo by Don ReimerShort-billed Dowitcher Photo by Don Reimer
During mid-May the pace of northward bird migration accelerates greatly. Shorebirds arrive at Maine marshes to spend a few days fattening up in preparation for their long non-stop journey to tundra breeding grounds.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Vesper Sparrow -
Lumping them together as "LBJs" (little brown jobs), some birders find difficulty in separating the various sparrow species that nest in Maine.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
House Wren -
With boundless physical energy and incessant song, the energetic little House Wren is an appealing backyard visitor.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Black-Crowned Night Heron -
As its name implies, this heron species is most active at dawn and dusk. It is the most widespread heron species in the world, often nesting in communal groups or colonies.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Buffleheads -
Readily recognized by its small size and unique black-and-white color patterns, the diminutive Bufflehead is the smallest diving duck in North America.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Killdeer -
A widespread and familiar member of the plover family, the Killdeer nests across the entire U.S. and into southern Canada.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
More Wood Ducks -
Perhaps the most colorful waterfowl species in North America, the multicolored drake Wood Duck is truly a sight to behold.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Spring Migration -
A Canada Goose incubates its eggs along the Megunticook River in Camden.  Photo by Don ReimerA Canada Goose incubates its eggs along the Megunticook River in Camden. Photo by Don Reimer
What begins as a trickle of bird migration in early April becomes a swift and deep river of movement by mid-May.
Thursday, April 24, 2008

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