The annual Down East Spring Birding Festival provides a unique birding experience during spring migration and the breeding season with four days of self-guided explorations, guided hikes, boat tours and presentations led by area experts.
Festival goers will experience the tranquility and great natural beauty of Down East Maine, with the greatest variety of habitats on the East Coast, including boreal and northern hardwood forests, bogs, fresh- and salt-water marshes, grassy and shrubby fields, streams and lakes, steep rugged headlands, extensive tidal flats, and coastal islands. The region provides nesting, wintering migration, and year-round homes to a majority of the 418 bird species that have been seen in the State. Our festival bird list notes over 230 birds you might see in late May.
The Down East Spring Birding Festival includes a trip to Machias Seal Island, “the best location in America to see Atlantic Puffins (WildBird).” Seal Island is the only island on which visitors routinely land. Besides puffins, Double-crested and Great Cormorants; Common and Thick-billed Murre; Leach’s Storm Petrel; Razorbill; and Arctic, Common, and Roseate Terns are also found on the island.
Key coastal bird species include the Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot, and Common Eider. The American Woodcock is a secretive migratory upland game bird that can be seen here. Significant marsh and water birds include Wilson’s Snipe, Pied-billed Grebe, Virginia Rail, Least and American Bitterns, and Sora. Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, and crossbills are representative of the variety of the area’s boreal species. Some two dozen species of nesting warblers illustrate the many neo-tropical songbirds that migrate through eastern Maine or nest here sometime during the year. Specialized grassland nesting species, such as Bobolink, Upland Sandpiper and Nelson’s Sparrow can also be found.