A Guide to Birding in the Different Regions of Maine
Maine is one of the best states in the US for quality birding. While the birding in the interior of state is difficult in winter due to the migratory patterns of the various species we have in the state, there is still a great deal to sea along the coast. In the summer, the number and variety of birds that you can spot is quite extraordinary. We highly recommend that experienced and beginner birders alike take the time to visit Maine if they’re looking for some fantastic birding.
Maine has a few distinct regions with regards to birding, and each has its own characteristics and variety of species.
Birding in Southern Maine
The Southern part of the state, as well as the interior portion largely contains forests, and is home to a number of types of trees, including red oak, red maple, sugar maple, white pine, and others. The birds found in this region are typical of New England forests. The area also peppered with a number of marshes – the species that can be found in these marshes are quite different from those that can be spotted in the forest.
Birding in the North of Maine
The North of Maine is a focal point for the wood/lumber industry of the state, and relatively few people live in the area. It mainly consists of large swathes of forests and woods, and also contains many bodies of water (rivers, lakes, swamps, etc) that make it a great environment for the surrounding wildlife. In particular, this area is well regarded by birders for its abundance of Warblers. Northern Maine is an especially good area for Birders due to its relative ease of access – thanks to the lumber industry; there are a large number of very accessible roads in the area, which allows enthusiastic birders convenience in travel without affecting the quality of the birding.
Birding in Western Maine
The Western part of the state is mountainous, and is more appropriate for birders who also enjoy some hiking. While getting to the right spots can be a bit tough, the payoff is worth it for serious birding enthusiasts. The species that live in the region are some of the most difficult to find, and people from all over the country visit this region of Maine to try and catch a glimpse of some of these uncommon and magnificent species.
Do note that, along with being mountainous, the area is also known for its rather extreme climate (it gets positively frigid in the winter). For this reason, we recommend the less physically active hobbyists to plan carefully when considering birding in the area. Also, it is advisable to always travel in groups, and with a reasonable amount of emergency supplies – birders should treat any foray into this region as more of a hiking trip with some birding attached.
Birding in the Southwest Coastal Region of Maine
This coastal region of the state (typically defined as the area from Kittery Point to Casco Bay) is home to beaches and salt marshes. The thing that makes this area unique is that it becomes an extraordinary location for birding in migratory periods, and during the winter. We highly recommend that you visit the area in either of the 3 week periods starting Mid May or Mid July – at these times, large flocks of birds can be seen, and it makes for some genuinely incredible birding. Also, during the winter months, this coastal region of the state contains the largest variety of species by some margin.
Birding in the Midcoast Area of Maine
Midcoast is the area stretching from the aforementioned Casco Bay all the way to Penobscot Bay. The terrain along the Midcoastal area is mostly rocky, and there are a number of small islands that dot the coastline. This is another region, along with the Northern region, that is well known for Warblers. The Midcoastal region is quite beautiful, and the region is worth a visit just for the spectacular scenery alone.
Birding in Downeast Maine (Southeastern coast)
The Southeast coast of the state, known to locals as Downeast, stretches from Mount Desert Island up to the Canadian border. The marine wildlife in this area is abundant and diverse, and in turn the birds that can be found in the area are typically pelagic (seabirds or oceanic birds). One of the hindrances to birding in this area is the relatively frequent blanket of fog that hangs over the area. While this area is typically bereft of tourists, serious birders will want to make a trip here, as a number of interesting species can be found here.