Christmas Bird Counts Approaching!

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The 116th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place around the world in December and early January.  Since the CBC began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteer citizen scientists. We volunteers have replaced the hunters of old.  We count birds and you’re invited to join us to participate this year in the 116th Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), the longest running Wildlife census on the planet. Two Christmas Bird Counts are held in York County, the York County CBC on Monday, December 14th, and Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC on Saturday, January 2nd.

Each count covers the area within a designated 15 mile diameter circle. Teams of birders search sections of the circle area tallying the total number of birds seen within the circle. The York County Count extends from Moody Beach to Fort Foster; last year we found 94 species. The Biddeford/Kennebunk Count extends from Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk to the Cascades in Saco; last year we counted 85 species. You do not have to brave the cold and wind to contribute. You can also participate while staying warm by tracking the activity at your bird feeders.  There is no fee to participate and the annual published report, American Birds, is available on line.

Each circle is led by a Count Compiler. Therefore, if you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.  In addition, if your home is within the boundaries of a Count Circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeders once you have arranged to do so with the Count Compiler.  We have lots of fun in the field during the day followed by a gathering of the team members at the compilation where we tally the species seen in the count circle, swap stories from the day’s hunt, and enjoy our supper.

If you are interested in joining a count please contact a Count Compiler:  Pat Moynahan at 207-284-5487 or for the York County Count, and Marie Jordan at 207-799-1408 or for the Biddeford/Kennebunkport Count. You are invited to our Christmas bird party.
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Saw-whet Owls and Veery Migration with Patrick Keenan – Tuesday, Nov 17th

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Saw-whet Owls and Veery Migration. Understanding the annual cycle and movements of species is critical for implementing effective conservation strategies.   Patrick Keenan, Outreach Program Director at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland, will present a program about Saw-whet Owl monitoring at coastal and island sites in Maine, and about some results of using low cost high tech geolocators to study where some of Maine’s Veery population spends the winter, and how that impacts conservation efforts for this beautiful Maine summer resident.

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.


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An Evening with a Few of Our Friends – Tuesday, October 20th

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Over the years, York County Audubon has worked with and sponsored a number of outstanding organizations.  As a special treat, we’ll let these friends share their work with brief presentations in a program at the Wells Reserve at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 20th. This will include:

The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick focuses on wildlife rehabilitation, treating over 1500 injured animals every year.   In this program, they will share “Hawk Eye,” with a special winged guest.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine
has been working to protect Maine’s environment for over 50 years. In this program, Executive Director Lisa Pohlman will discuss the proposed Northern Maine National Park and Recreation Area.

Hog Island Audubon Camp.  Each year, YCA sponsors a local educator to spend a week at this famed camp.  One of the recipients of this year’s June Ficker Hog Island Scholarship will present “Implementing Nature Lessons in Our Schools.”

The Stratton Island Audubon Sanctuary in Saco Bay, is a key nesting refuge for a variety of threatened seabirds, and has the highest diversity of nesting waterbirds of any Maine island. Two hundred and forty species of birds have been seen on and around the island.  We’ll get an update on this summer’s activities there.

This diversity will make for an interesting evening.  The program will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve, starting at 7 pm.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!



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Sparrow ID Workshop with Louis Bevier – Sunday, Oct 18th

nelson's IMG_8677 crop     Maine: Somerset Co., Pittsfield

Want to learn more about the many sparrow species that breed in and migrate through Maine? Want to know the difference between a sparrow and a finch? How can one bird be both a bunting and a sparrow? Why are longspurs no longer sparrows? Often skulking, elusive, and confusingly similar, sparrows can make any birder prefer fall wood-warblers. As part of this workshop, you will learn how to find and observe sparrows in their preferred habitat. We will learn through classroom and field time useful foraging behaviors, flight characteristics, and vocalizations helpful for identification and appreciation of Maine’s sparrows. The workshop will feature some of the rare species that have turned up in Maine, and some that might yet so you’ll be prepared! The marsh sparrows, Le Conte’s versus Grasshopper, who was Henslow, and the tricky Spizella are some of the featured sparrows.

This workshop will be led by well known (and well liked!) Maine birder Louis Bevier.  Since the 1960s, birds have drawn him to explore most of North and South America, leading to months at sea off Alaska and California, backcountry surveys in the high Sierra, plant and bird expeditions to several countries, and many other adventures. He has worked as a tour guide for Field Guides, as an editor for The Birds of North America series, as Associate Editor for the journal North American Birds, and is past Chair of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

The workshop will be held on Sunday, October 18th at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  We’ll meet at 8 a.m. and take a short walk. Then we’ll move to the Mather Auditorium for a talk on “all things sparrow.” We’ll break for lunch (you’ll need to bring your own), after which we’ll head to Mile Rd. to try for Saltmarsh or Nelson’s Sparrows, or anything else, at high tide, and then continue on to Beach Plum Farm and possibly Ogunquit Beach.   At least that’s the plan!

This workshop is proudly sponsored by York County Audubon.  The cost is $10/person, payable by check or cash at the workshop.  But space is limited and advance reservations are required via this website!  Please register by going to the “event” page, which you can reach by clicking on the link for this event in the Calendar box on the right side of this page. Please bring lunch and snacks.  Hope you can join us.


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Hawk ID Workshop – Sept 22nd on Mt. A! (rain date: Sept 29th)

Late September is the time to be looking for migrating hawks!   YCA is collaborating with the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region to present a workshop on Tuesday, September 22nd (with a rain date of Tuesday, September 29th) in the Learning Lodge atop beautiful Mount Agamenticus, an excellent spot to see the Fall raptor migration. The workshop will run from 10:00 a.m. till noon.  Then we’ll eat our bag lunches and step outside and see what the winds bring in and if the Broad-wings are kettling. It should be an exciting day.

The workshop leader is Katrina Felton, a biologist and naturalist who has worked as a counter for raptor migration projects in Maine and New Hampshire.  She will teach us about hawk migration and identification, as well as current ebird and hawk data.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. There is a $10 registration fee, payable at the door. Please register by going to the “event” page, which you can reach by clicking on the link for this event in the Calendar box on the right side of this page. Please bring lunch and snacks.


kettle - broad winged and swainsons   Hawk ID Northeast

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Eyes Like a Hawk, a collaborative event with Mount Agamenticus Conservation Program (Mount A), Center for Wildlife (CFW) & York County Audubon (YCA) – Sunday, Sept 27th

Join CFW, YCA, and Mount A for our popular raptor program to learn about different raptor species, their long migrations and why Mount A is a popular Hawk Watch site. Outdoor guided flyway viewing follows.

Program 10-11am in the Learning Lodge: CFW’s Emily Calhoun will present live raptor ambassadors and will have hands-on displays to provide helpful tips for spotting migrating birds this season and advice for how to keep them safe.

Emily Calhoun is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Center for Wildlife. She is a certified ProjectWILD Growing Up Wild educator, and in 2014 attended Audubon’s Environmental Educator training at the famed Hog Island. Emily also serves as a member of the “Gateway to Maine: Outside” Coalition, Friends of Mount Agamenticus Advisory Group, and is a Speaking for Wildlife volunteer with the UNH Cooperative Extension.

Outdoor flyway viewing 11am-1pm: Katrina Felton, sponsored by York County Audubon will be on hand to help spot any migrating raptors, offer tips for identification, and will have extra binoculars and spotting scopes to share.

Katrina Felton is a seasonal biologist/interpretive naturalist based out of northern New England. She has worked as the official counter for three raptor migration projects, covering spring migration in Maine and fall migration in New Hampshire. Katrina has also been trip leader for various birding groups, a naturalist on a Windjammer, and is a coordinator for New Hampshire’s young birder’s club, The Harriers.  YCA is sponsoring Katrina.

Open to all ages w/$7 suggested donation. Space is limited for the indoor portion and advance registration is required. FMI or to register, visit:

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A Trip through Time with the Birds of Lake Umbagog – September 15th

A Trip through Time with the Birds of Lake Umbagog by biologist Bob Quinn of Merlin Enterprises Eco-tours.    See the dramatic scenery of this remote area as Bob discusses some fascinating changes in Umbagog’s bird life over the last 140 years.  William Brewster, the paragon of 19th century field ornithologists, description of Umbagog  “…like many a precious stone, has beauty and charm due to the effectiveness of its perfect setting ….” is still fitting.  The program will include information on the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and efforts to protect this dazzling northern lake and the surrounding forests.  This program is perfect for the wildlife enthusiast, birders, and anyone wanting to explore a little known corner of New England.  The program will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at 7 p.m.  Pictured below:  Black-backed woodpecker, Gray Jay and Lake Umbagog.

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Scott Weidensaul, Bird Migration and Shade Grown Coffee – on Thursday, August 27th


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York County Audubon and Freeport Wild Bird Supply welcome you to a free presentation by famed naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul on Thursday, August 27th.  He will explore the wonder and mechanics of bird migration, and the simple, effective ways we can help save birds, from what we plant in our gardens to what we pour into our morning cup of coffee. He’ll also talk about his latest passion: educating others about the importance of shade-grown coffee.  The event will feature free samplings of some of the finest shade grown coffee, provided by Birds & Beans® “Bird Friendly” coffee.

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind, about bird migration, and Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding.  Copies of some of Scott’s books will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon magazine and writes for a variety of other publications; he lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where he studies the migration of hawks, owls and hummingbirds. Scott is a frequent visitor to Maine and is the Director of Ornithology at Audubon’s Hog Island camp in Bremen, Maine.

The program will be held in the Wells Reserve’s Alheim Commons, located at 100 Laudholm Farm Road, which is the road that leads from Route 1 to the Reserve.  (Note that this event was originally slated for the Mather Auditorium, but has been moved to the Alheim Commons.) The doors will open at 4:30 for coffee sampling.  The program will run from 5:15 till 6:00, followed by Q&A and additional coffee sampling.  AND ONE FINAL NOTE:  WHILE PRE-REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED AND LAST MINUTE ATTENDEES ARE MORE THAN WELCOME, WE WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR PRE-REGISTRATION TO HELP US GET A GOOD IDEA OF HOW MANY PEOPLE TO EXPECT.  TO PRE-REGISTER, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK FOR THIS EVENT UNDER “WHAT’S COMING UP” IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN OF THIS PAGE.  THEN SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THAT PAGE TO FIND THE REGISTRATION FIELDS.  THANK YOU!


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Teddy Roosevelt Days at the Seashore Trolley Museum, Saturday and Sunday, August 1st and 2nd

Did you know that TR was a dedicated birder?  Did you know that in 1914, he visited Maine and rode in a rail car named the Narcissus, which is now being restored at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport?

On August 1st and 2nd, a special weekend series of events will be exploring and celebrating these two realms. York County Audubon is one of many organizations that will be partnering with the Seashore Trolley Museum for this event.

Please check back soon for more details.  Preliminary information can be found here:  and here:


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Saturday morning Summer Bird Walks

Join us at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm every other Saturday this summer starting June 13th, for a guided bird walk around the Reserve property.  Beginners are welcome.  Please bring binoculars if you have them; if not, you can borrow some. These walks are free and open to the public.  We meet in the parking lot, and reservations not required.  Future dates are 6/27, 7/11 and 7/25, 8/8 and 8/22.  Meet at the parking lot at 7:30 a.m.  Walks typically last about 2 hours. The photo below shows a male Eastern Towhee, a bird regularly seen and heard at the Wells Reserve.


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