State of Maine

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus ©Alain Wolf - Wikipedia
Birding Maine

For birds and birders alike, Maine provides an abundance of excellent habitat. As the largest and most sparsely populated state in New England, Maine represents a significant portion of the breeding range for many eastern woodland bird species. The state’s abundant precipitation (more than 40 inches a year) and glaciated landscape have also created thousands of lakes, ponds, wetlands, and rivers that are ideal habitat for a variety of water birds. And with its deeply indented coastline and uncountable islands, Maine offers attractive habitat for breeding seabirds, migrating shorebirds, and wintering waterfowl.

Almost 400 different bird species have been recorded in Maine, of which approximately half are known to have bred here. With a little effort a birder should be able to see 200 species in the state during the course of a year. Perseverance, luck, and a willingness to travel could net the serious birder 250 or more species during the same period. Even if you aren’t a lister, Maine’s coastal geography, dense forest cover, and vast undeveloped areas ensure that there will be many surprises for birders to discover.

Finding BirdsAlthough Maine has comparatively few parks and little public land (less than 5% of Maine’s lands are owned by the public); access to good birding spots is seldom a problem. Back roads and logging roads invite exploration. A canoe or kayak opens up endless possibilities for birding along thousands of miles of streams, rivers, lakeshores, and coast. And Maine is virtually laced with an informal network of recreation trails used throughout the year by snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, walkers, horseback riders, cyclists, and hunters. Almost all these trails cross private land, but tolerance of public access is the general custom – provided it is matched with common courtesy and respect on the part of the user. With a little local knowledge and a willingness to explore, these trails open up broad possibilities for bird finding.

Birding by RegionFrom a birding standpoint Maine can be roughly divided into six regions:Interior & Southern Maine/Red Oak and White Pine ForestsNorthern Maine/The Maine WoodsThe Western Mountains/Boreal ForestThe Southwest Coast/Salt Marshes & Sand BeachesMidcoast/Rocky Peninsulas and Spruce-lined CovesDowneast/The Boreal Coast

Each region has a characteristic mix of breeding bird species, although considerable overlap occurs. During the migration seasons these distinctions blur further, as mixed flocks of shorebirds, passerines, raptors, and waterfowl take advantage of favorable habitat along their routes. During the winter months interior Maine is largely deserted by all but the hardiest species [a number of which are highly sought after] but the coast harbors large numbers of waterfowl, seabirds, and lingering passerines. For region-specific details and recommendations on where to bird, see the Maine Audubon website.

ResourcesA copy of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is indispensable for birding in Maine. Maine Audubon and its chapters host a number of outings and field trips for anyone from novice to expert birders. Checkout the programs and trips section of the Maine Audubon site for current offerings.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 455

    As of June 2018
  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • ABA Field Guide to Birds of Maine

    | By Nick Lund | Scott & Nix, Inc | 2022 | Flexibound | 368 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9781935622741 Buy this book from
  • Birding Maine

    | Over 90 Prime Birding Sites at 40 Locations | By Tom Seymour | Falcon Guides | 2008 | 135 pages, b/w photos, b/w maps | ISBN: 9780762742240 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Maine

    | By Peter D Vickery et al | Princeton University Press | 2021 | Hardback | 642 pages, 12 plates with colour illustrations; 150 colour & b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps, colour tables | ISBN: 9780691193199 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Maine Field Guide

    | By Stan Tekiela | Adventure Publications | 2023 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 328 pages, colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781647553685 Buy this book from
  • Maine Birding Trail

    | (The Official Guide to More Than 260 Accessible Sites) | By Bob Duchesne | Down East Books | 2009 | Paperback | ISBN: 9780892727834 Buy this book from
  • Maine Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species

    | By James Kavanagh | Waterford Press | 2001 | Unbound | ISBN: 9781583551509 Buy this book from
  • Maine's Favorite Birds

    | By Jeffrey V Wells & Allison Childs Wells | Tilbury House Publishers | 2010 | Paperback | 72 pages, illustrations | ISBN: 9780884483366 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • State Bird

    Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Acadia Birding Festival

    Acadia's birding community invites you and your family to celebrate the ecological wonders of the birds of the Gulf of Maine at the Acadia Birding Festival. Explore Mount Desert Island and its birds through numerous events and venues. Greet our warblers on early morning birding walks, visit with puffins and pelagic birds at sea, and observe Peregrine Falcons at an active breeding site in Acadia National Park. Our combination of lectures, walks, and adventures will connect you to Downeast Maine’s many bird species, diverse habitats and local birding experts.
  • Audubon Society in Maine

    Usual list of local chapters.
  • Downeast Chapter of Maine

    P.O. Box 1212, Ellsworth, ME 04605 - (207) 664-4400 -
  • Fundy Chapter

    PO Box 478, East Machias, ME 04630 - Tel: (207) 255-8970 - E-mail:
  • Maine Audubon Society

    Since its inception in 1843 as the Portland Society of Natural History, the Maine Audubon Society has become one of New England`s leading regional organizations for environmental advocacy and education. An independent nonprofit organization supported by 6500 member households, Maine Audubon Society is dedicated to the protection, conservation, and enhancement of Maine`s ecosystems through the promotion of individual understanding and actions.
  • Merrymeeting Audubon Society

    The objective of the Merrymeeting Audubon Society [Wiscasset] is to foster an appreciation of our natural environment, with a focus on birds. The Merrymeeting Audubon Society was established about 1970 as a chapter of the National Audubon Society. In 2000, the chapter shifted its membership to Maine Audubon, which in turn affilliated with National Audubon.
  • Mid-Coast Audubon Society

    Mid-Coast Audubon Society, with its base in Rockland, Maine, is a chapter of Audubon, and affiliated with Maine Audubon Society. Our mission is to promote long-term, responsible use of natural resources through informed membership, education and community awareness…
  • Nature Conservancy in Maine

    Welcome to The Nature Conservancy's Maine Chapter home page. Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats they call home. Our foray into cyberspace is just beginning, but we hope we are meeting your most immediate needs for information. As our Web page construction efforts continue, we will bring you much more about our work in Maine. In the coming months, we'll be adding new stories and pictures, and we hope you'll stop by frequently.
  • Penobscot Valley Audubon

    Facebook Page
    The Penobscot Valley Chapter supports the Audubon mission of conservation and education in the greater Bangor region through localized programs and field trips and through ongoing support and stewardship of Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden…
  • Prouts Neck Audubon Society

    The official objective of the Society is to “engage in educational, scientific, literary, historical and philanthropic pursuit of Ornithological conservation, preservation and restoration projects primarily in Saco Bay and environs, and to maintain the Phineas W. Sprague Sanctuary on Stratton and Bluff Islands lying off Prouts Neck”. Once you get past that official business as stated in the by-law (!), the society mainly focuses on supporting the summer fieldwork on the islands, engaging kids in nature projects, and making possible public visits from time to time.
  • Stanton Bird Club

    The Stanton Bird Club was founded in 1921 by Dr. Jonathan Stanton, a professor at Bates College in Lewiston. Over the years, a number of parcels of land were donated to the club. These donations eventually grew to encompass some 200 acres, known as the Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, in the heart of Lewiston; Maine`s second largest city
  • Western Maine Society

    Burt Knapp, President - - 207-778-6285
  • York County Audubon Society

    The York County Audubon Society was incorporated in 1971 as a chapter of the National Audubon Society. In January 2000 YCAS became a part of the Maine Audubon family through an affiliation of the Maine Audubon Society and the National Audubon Society. Now YCAS is in the unique position to offer membership benefits of both of these organiztions.

Abbreviations Key

  • Hog Island Audubon Center

    WebsiteSatellite View
    …Its residential programs have educated adults, children, and families about coastal wildlife in Maine and beyond. Sessions based on a 330-acre island in midcoast Maine's beautiful Muscongus Bay have been led by some of the nation's most-respected naturalists and environmental educators…
  • Machias Seal Island

    InformationSatellite View
    A visit to Machias Seal Island can be one of nature's great wildlife spectacles: a seabird colony overflowing with graceful and aeronautic terns, impossibly patterned puffins, and those most elegant seabirds, the Razorbills. Unless you have visited other seabird colonies in the North Atlantic, it is also certain to be a trip unlike any you've imagined. Click here to see a list of seabirds of Machias Seal Island and surrounding waters.
  • NC Fields Pond Audubon Center

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Located seven miles southeast of Bangor, Fields Pond Audubon Center features a modern visitor center, an 85-acre pond, and a 192-acre sanctuary with trails winding through field, wetland, forest, and lakeshore…
  • NC Gilsland Farm Audubon Center

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    Sited along the Presumpscot River estuary just five minutes from Portland, Maine Audubon’s headquarters features a modern environmental center and a 65-acre sanctuary with more than two miles of trails winding along a pond and through woods, meadow, orchard and salt marsh…
  • NC Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center

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    Maine Audubon's Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center is a great place to explore the state's largest salt marsh by foot or canoe. The marsh provides critical habitat for a broad array of wildlife, particularly birds including, waterfowl, egrets, herons, ibises, raptors and grassland sparrows. Muskrat, mink, otter, and deer also frequent the marsh…
  • NP Acadia

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Welcome to the Acadia National Park Page. This site is dedicated to providing useful information on Acadia National Park. Learn about the park's history and wildlife, discover scenic hiking trails and beautiful campgrounds….
  • NS Borestone Mountain Sanctuary

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Encompassing more than 1,600 acres in Maine's Hundred-Mile Wilderness region, Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary offers a spectacular array of natural features, including rare older forest, three crystalline ponds, exposed granite crags, and sweeping views…
  • NS East Point Sanctuary

    WebpageSatellite View
    The 30-acre East Point Sanctuary is one of the best points in southern Maine for birdwatching; the rocky, coastal headland site features a short, but spectacular, shoreline trail that offers views of marine birds such as red-throated loons, sea ducks, gannets, and terns. Two islands can be seen from the trail which support large bird colonies…
  • NS Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    The Stanton Bird Club has been actively engaged in conservation work in the Androscoggin County area for almost 80 years. Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston, a 31 acre wildlife preserve, has been the primary focus of that activity through the years. At an elevation of 510 feet, the highest point in the city, this sanctuary sits as a green capstone, a forested oasis surrounded on three sides by urban and suburban development. The Crag, belonging to the family Thorne in the 1800's, is a familiar and well loved landmark in Lewiston. The human use of this land over the decades has been as varied as the habitats and wildlife it has always protected. Uses have included: recreation and scientific research by Bates College, a sheep and dairy farm, tuberculosis sanitorium, homestead for the reclusive Elder Thorne, and facility for Highland Spring Bottled Water Company.
  • NWR Moosehorn

    WebpageSatellite View
    Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is the first in a chain of migratory bird refuges that extends from Maine to Florida. The refuge consists of two units. The Baring Unit covers 17,200 acres and is located off U.S. Route 1 north of Calais, Maine. The 7,200 acre Edmunds Unit borders the tidal waters of Cobscook Bay near Dennysville.
  • NWR Rachel Carson

    WebpageSatellite View
    Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is located on Rte. 9 in Wells, Maine, just about one mile from Route 1 and just below Kennebunk. The environment of most of the refuge is salt marsh.
  • Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve is a 1600-acre research, education and public recreation facility. Local citizens representing the non-profit organization Laudholm Trust founded it in 1986. Today the Trust continues to lead a campaign to raise community awareness and develop better stewardship of vital coastal resources within the Gulf of Maine by supporting the mission of the Reserve through membership contributions, private and public foundation grants, and other fund raising activities…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Bird Treks

    Tour Operator
    Bird Treks has been providing small group and custom birding tours for over 20 years. Visit their website to see the incredible tours available, including Machias Seal Island for Puffins!
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Birding Ecotours, a leader in small group and custom-made birding adventures worldwide, offers an amazing tour to Maine to experience New England birding by land and by sea, including a trip to Machias Seal Island for Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins!
  • Bob Duchesne - Guide

    Popular Maine Audubon trip leader, with experience throughout Maine, New Hampshire, New Brunswick, Quebec, and the Florida Everglades. Customized trips for individuals and groups are a specialty. Well equipped, including 15-passenger van for larger groups
  • Down East Nature Tours

    Tour Operator
    Personalized nature and bird-watching tours for individuals, couples, families and small groups. We help you discover the flora and fauna of Mt. Desert Island and Down East Maine with special emphasis on native and migrating birds (Bald Eagles, Osprey, Peregrine Falcons, Shore birds, Warblers) You will discover the exciting world of birds and learn to identify species by listening to their calls and observing their habits. A truly unique and enjoyable learning experience
Trip Reports
  • 2015 [05 May] - Eric Hynes & Pepe Rojas

    ...Day four was our scheduled boat trip, but we had the morning free so we birded Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park. The wind was howling, but we managed to scare up a cluster of American Redstarts, great looks at Swamp Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Hermit Thrush, and a remarkably obliging Ovenbird. Our cruise out to Petit Manan Island was on the bumpy side, but it was well worth it. Razorbills, Atlantic Puffins, and Arctic Terns were all beside the boat, and en route we picked out Great Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet, and some adorable newborn Harbor Seals.
  • 2015 [07 July] - Fraser Simpson

    Having birded the desert states of Arizona and New Mexico, and experienced Florida's waterbirds on recent work trips, I began thinking about a destination, somewhere in the north, to see and hear many of North America's wood-warblers and thrushes. In addition, I'd always wanted to hear a Common Loon (Great Northern Diver) calling in the wild. Maine appeared to be the best choice: mostly forested, plenty of lakes, camping friendly, not many people, and essentially for sound recording, little anthropogenic noise pollution.
  • 2016 [05 May] - Eric Hynes

    ...We found a host of migrants in a cemetery, some unusual shorebirds in a marsh, some delicious lobster rolls on the coast, and capped the evening with a close, displaying American Woodcock. The first few days of the tour were spent along the southern coast, where we picked up a number of shorebirds, as well as songbirds in the hardwood and transitional habitats. One particularly early morning at Kennebunk Plains yielded Eastern Whip-poor-will, Upland Sandpiper, and a quite a few sparrows...
  • 2018 [05 May] - Sanford Lagoons

    ...Our goal was to try and see the influx of wood warblers, but to do that we needed to make our way past the treatment ponds to the tree line. As one may guess, there were LOTS of birds along the way. As we made our way further down the path, we heard a very distinct "err-uh, err-uh" coming from the reeds...
  • 2021 [07 July] - Jacob Roalef

    PDF Report
    This nine-day set departure birding tour of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont commenced in Portland, Maine on the 24th of June 2021 and concluded back there on the 2 nd of July 2021. The tour visited many amazing birding locations including Scarborough Marsh, Kennebunk Plains, Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, Acadia National Park, Messalonskee Lake, Moose Bog, and Mount Washington Auto Road.
  • 2022 [07 July] - Michael J Good

    PDF Report
    ...The gulls and cormorant on Egg Rock are one of the major attractions for Bald Eagle whose numbers have been rebounding since DDT greatly affected top trophic level birds. One of the reasons we saw so many Bald Eagle during this boat trip is because they are actively feeding young of the year eaglets and Herring Gull are on the meal ticket. A variety of prey is eaten but gulls have become a readily accessible source of food as the Bald Eagle population rebound and stabilize in Maine...
Places to Stay
  • 1802 House B&B Inn

    There also are lovely gardens and grounds surrounding the 1802 House where one may relax in the comfort of the chairs, benches and lounges and enjoy viewing the flowers, birds and the scenery
  • Goose Cove Lodge

    Watch the seasonal migration of many varieties of birds as they pass by the islands en route to winter nesting grounds
  • Hog Island Audubon Camp

    159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York 14850 - Ph: 607-257-7308 x14 - This summer, enjoy world-class ornithology sessions at Audubon’s spectacular Hog Island, located in Maine’s Muscongus Bay. Taught by some of the country’s leading birders, scientists, authors and artists, these dynamic sessions are designed for both beginners and experienced bird enthusiasts….
Other Links
  • Birding Rangeley Lakes

    The Rangeley area is a wonderful place to see birds and other wildlife. Because we have such a diverse set of ecosystems within a huge wilderness area, just about any bird that comes to the northeast can be found here, even those that are rare and endangered…
  • Birds of New England

    Some excellent photographs
  • Maine Birding

    Website has been established to provide those interested in birding in Maine with information to assist them in making their birding time more fun and productive
  • Maine Birding Trail

    Research for the Maine Birding Trail began in 2003, spanning well over 300 locations across the state. Five years and 36,000 miles later, the trail has launched with the designation of 82 official sites - sites that feature excellent birding, but also excellent parking, paths, facilities, etc. The brochure contains short descriptions and regional maps
  • Puffins & Machias Seal Island

    It has been described as a very unique place to visit, and to the avid bird watcher, it is heaven. During the nesting season it becomes home to thousands of pelagic birds.The most noted species is the Atlantic Puffin, but other species such as the Razorbill Auk , and Common and Arctic Terns add to the viewing enjoyment. No matter where you stand on the island, you will see thousands of birds flying by. There are approx. 1000 pairs of puffins, 2500 pairs of arctic terns, 100 pairs of common terns, 150-200 pairs of razorbill auks. Other birds which may be seen on the trip out to the island are Shearwaters ( greater, sooty, manx ); Wilson Storm Petrels, Phalaropes, Jeagers ( pomarine, parasitic ) Northern Gannet, Black Guillemots and Eider Ducks.
  • Bill Sheehan - Northern Maine Birds

    I live and bird in Aroostook County in northernmost Maine. Wife, two kids, drive a Ford. Prefer to find my own rather than chase other's birds. My patches are Collins Pond in Caribou, Lake Josephine in Easton, Christina Reservoir in Fort Fairfield and the Nature Conservancy's Woodland Bog Preserve, which is across the street from my house…
  • Derek Lovitch - Maine Birding Field Notes

    Derek Lovitch is an avid birder and the owner of the Wild Bird Center in Yarmouth. Check in frequently for information about birding in Maine and more.
  • Gene Vermillion - Bird Watching Rambles

    Blog with information and advice on bird watching. Also thoughts on birding and birders…
  • John Briggs - Birding in Maine

    John Briggs is a native of Pennsylvania now living in Bath, Maine…
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - John McKeith - Earth Imagery

    The wonderful images of New England from John McKeith

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