From the deck of the whale watch catamaran "Friendship V" you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Roseate and Arctic Terns on Petit Manan Island then visit with whales and pelagic birds 25 to 30 miles offshore. Our bays and marine estuaries will be explored by kayak and canoe, with registered guide Robert Shaw of National Park Sea Kayak Tours. There is no better way to learn about sea birds than to be on the water with them accompanied by avian experts.
Through a variety of birding walks we will attempt to connect participants to all of the primary terrestrial habitats of Mount Desert Island. We will strive to lead participants to Mount Desert Islands birding "hot spots".
There is no other birding event in Maine that offers the variety of birdwatching experiences as the Acadia Birding Festival.
Roger Tory Peterson called Mount Desert Island "the Warbler capital of the world" and past participants will attest to this. Over our twelve year history, first as Warblers and Wildflowers and now reorganized as the Acadia Birding Festival, we have seen and heard over 180 species.
For some birds, Mount Desert Island is a summer destination while others pass through to breeding habitats still farther north. Mourning, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Canada and Magnolia Warblers are some of the Parulidae family highlights. Ruffed Grouse, and Pileated and Black-backed Woodpeckers are residents of our conifer forest. Noteworthy Mount Desert Island bird species include the Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot, and the Common Eider. Significant marsh and water birds include American Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, and Sora. Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, and sometimes Red and White-winged Crossbills are representatives of our area's boreal species and have been encountered on walks over the years. Grassland nesting species, such as the Bobolink and Nelson's Sparrow breed on MDI.
Many of these species can be found in a variety of habitats and we encourage birders to seek them out on their own during free moments or after the Birding Festival. Our diverse habitats include: Northern hardwood, boreal and spruce-fir forests, bogs, heath, fresh- and salt-water marshes, grassy and shrubby fields, streams, lakes and ponds and the highest point on the Atlantic coast, Cadillac Mountain.
Islands have a special magic, and set on Maine's dramatic rock-bound coast, Mount Desert Island is no exception. From the stonewall-lined and tree-covered roads leading to our villages, to the sweeping vistas from atop Cadillac Mountainís sub-alpine "krumholtz" environment , there is a special mystique to Mount Desert Island. Acadia National Park is our backyard and we enjoy sharing its charms with special guests.
In an effort to make this year's event as Energy Efficient as possible we ask our participants to carpool when possible. We are also keeping most of our events localized during the day to minimize the travel distance between events and maximize the time in the field. Each event is suited to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced naturalists. Events vary in level of physical difficulty (specified in descriptions).
What the Acadia Birding Festival offers is enhanced opportunity to observe birds from our varied habitats, meet and learn from local bird experts, and share a few days of stimulating activities with "birds of a feather." We hope to see you May/June and wish you all great birding!All photos by Becky Marvil