Along the Natchez Trace

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Northern Maine Birding Festival - Part 2

There was a second Birding Hike scheduled for 8:30.  However, the first walk didn't get back until nearly 8:30 and folks were still gathering for the second walk.  It finally got on the road by 9:15.  
That's Bill Sheehan, the leader of the walks.
He is an expert birder, but the thing that is so impressive to me is that he can "bird by ear".  He identifies birds by listening to their song.  

After both walks were over the group recorded the "found" birds on the chalkboard.  I think there are 50 birds listed here, but know of several others that were seen (or heard) but not on this list.  I've never really birded by ear...  sure, I know a bluejay or a blue-grey gnatcatchers call, but those are Ohio birds...  birds I heard when I was young and had decent hearing.  One thing about me is that I only count birds I actually see.  I'm not really a Doubting Thomas...  maybe I just have to see the bird to make it "mine".  (okay, maybe I am)

I checked out the bird banding booth again...
WoooHooo!  This little Ruby-throated Hummingbird had got tangled in the net.
Usually birds this tiny can go through the holes.  These guys did not have the right size bands for a hummer, but brought her in anyway just so the folks could see her.  The crowd was delighted!

That's Russell, of the Aroostook Birders talking to Bill Sheehan in front of the Birder's booth.  There was lots of information available about the organization and even folks recruiting new members.

The "main event" started at 11:00..
The Owl presentation was well attended.  We had seating for about 80 people, and the kids were encouraged to sit on the floor between the speaker and the first row of chairs.

I didn't catch this guy's name.  He's from the Owl Sanctuary...  a place in southern Maine that rehabilitates owls that are injured.  Their goal is that the bird can be returned to the wild when able.  This barred owl had a head injury that impaired his hearing, making it impossible for him to hunt food for himself.

This little sawwhet owl sustained eye injuries and is vision impaired.

The handler talked a lot about the sanctuary and the various owls that had been rehabbed.  He was really good with kids, their questions and such.  But his talk was interesting to all ages.

After his talk, he walked around the room with his owls giving folks a chance to take photos or see an owl up close.
(notice that he doesn't wear gloves...  with this owl he doesn't have to...  but he said with most he does)

His talk was very well received - he was quite informative, and I think the kids probably went away with a good attitude about wild critters.

The Bird Festival was officially over after the owl presentation, so by 12:30 most folks were heading back to their cars to go home.  The Nature Store and Visitor Center were open until 3pm, as was the auto driving trail.  This driving trail isn't often opened for public use so many folks took this opportunity to drive on their own down to see the rest of the refuge.  We do take folks on scheduled tours, but most of the refuge is open only for bicycling or hiking...  no motorized vehicles.

Steve counted 122 people coming through the entrance, but said he missed a few in cars with several people.  There were about 30 people in both the first and second bird walks, and as you could see in the previous photo, the owl presentation was well attended.

We all felt the whole day was a success....  
Even the weather cooperated!

That's All For Today! 


  1. That does sound like a wonderful day and would have loved to attend.
    The picture of the Hummer is wonderful too ! They are so fast.

  2. Being from the midwest, I'm having a challenge out here on the coast birding by ear. When I first became interested in birds, I had no idea each species had its own song.

  3. My sister knows birds by ear. My tin ear only knows the wren, shooing me away.

  4. Looks like a great festival. I enjoyed birding with Bill when we up there in 2011. He's a very good birder indeed!

  5. What a great turn out and to see owls up close like that and that hummingbird too! When I was in college (no degree) I took a bird class. Our first field outing, he sent us off on a wild goose chase to ID some screeching bird, that wasn't a bird, it was a squirrel but we did not know that. He even promised an A to the first person who ID'ed that "bird". Then he laughed and laughed. I will never forget that. It was almost like "snipe hunting". I will never forget my embarrassment over that, when I was just a kid, although I caught on quickly.