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Wildlife Watching

State of Maine bird, Chickadee.

State of Maine bird, Chickadee.


With its great wealth of undisturbed boreal forests, isolated offshore islands, and plentiful wetlands, Maine is home to a great many species of migratory and non-migratory birds. No matter whether you're a serious birder looking to add to your life list or a casual birder interested in the chance to observe birds in the wild, you'll find plenty of bird-watching opportunities all year long.

Maine Birding Trail

You can get expert advice on planning your trip through the Maine Birding Trail brochure, which highlights the best bird-watching spots in Maine. You can find the brochure—which is designed for both casual and serious birders—at tourist information centers and select state parks around Maine. You can also download it here.

Four-Season Bird Watching

At the height of winter, seabirds are abundant along rocky capes and protected bays. Inland, bare trees make it easier for you to spot nuthatches, juncos, black-capped chickadees (the state bird), and the occasional cedar waxwing. As night falls, you might see a solitary owl out for the hunt.

Maine is on the Atlantic flyway and if you visit in the spring, you can catch first-of-the-season glimpses of warblers, vireos, orioles, flycatchers, Canadian geese and other seasonal visitors that have migrated north.

In the summer, you can see an even greater variety of birds, including the ruby-throated hummingbird. This is also a great time of year for you to paddle some of the state’s inland waterways in search of the common loon. You can easily identify loons by their red eyes and haunting cry.

As fall approaches, you can watch flocks of birds reverse their spring routes, beginning the journey back south toward warmer climates.

Bald Eagles

The bald eagle is one of many birds you can spot in Maine year-round. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine's 500 pairs represent the largest population in the Northeast. The best place to seek them out is near the water’s edge, where they have easy access to fish and waterfowl.

Puffin Colonies

For a unique birding experience, you can visit one of the two Atlantic puffin colonies accessible from the Maine coast. These little birds, sometimes called parrots of the sea, spend most of their lives on the ocean but come ashore in summer to nest on rocky islands. Though they are somewhat common in Canada and other regions near the Arctic Circle, these birds are rarely found nesting in U.S. waters.

Birding Festivals:

Related Sites:

Maine Birding Guide