Flock to Down East Maine for Spring Festival
WHITING, Maine - It's often said that birds of a feather flock together and in late May, there is no place it seems the birds would rather flock than Down East Maine.
As Memorial Day draws near, dozens
of bird species descend on this coastal region of Maine, on route
to their summer perches. The spot is ideal for birds because
it is situated directly in the migration path for many that
For birders, this perfect storm of
sorts is cause for serious celebration and at this third annual
Down East Spring Birding Festival, that's exactly what binocular
toting participants will do. Headquartered in Whiting, the
Of the 230 species that could possibly
be spotted, birders at last year's festival saw winged representatives
from 176 different types of birds, ranging from Atlantic Puffins
to Spruce Grouse and Common Eiders to Common
Many of the birds like the Blue-winged Teal and the Red Breasted Merganser are naturally vibrant in color. Michael McCabe, an organizer of the festival, says that many of the birds spotted by festival-goers are especially beautiful in late May because they are nesting, and thus have a more brilliant plumage.
In addition to selection, McCabe says the festival's greatest feature is its small size. While many bird festivals allow thousands of participants, the Down East event limits registration to 100 birders. The result, he says, is a "pastoral setting" that is both friendly and intimate.
Smaller groups means participants are
able to move more freely and quietly on their guided expeditions,
allowing them to get even closer to the birds. McCabe says the
festival favorite Atlantic Puffins seen on a boating trip
Scheduled events for this year's festival include guided birding canoe and sea kayak tours, daily social events, expeditions by boat and hikes around Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Quoddy State Park, Morong Point, Reversing Falls and along the Calais waterfront. Presentations will cover topics ranging from "Birding by Ear" to "Eiders and Art" to "Birding Optics."
Because of the abundance of birds that
festival-goers are likely to see, McCabe says the Down East Spring
Birding Festival is an ideal introduction to this growing hobby
even for those who have never picked up a set of
Registration for the festival is $50 per person and includes all guided hikes and presentations. Special boating expeditions require an additional fee.
For more information about the festival or to register, visit the event's Web site at www.downeastbirdfest.org or phone (207) 733-2201.
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