Boston birder Neil Hayward was having a mid-life crisis. So what did he do? He went birding. This temporary insanity resulted in almost 250,000 miles of travel, taking him to the remote corners of North America. Over the course of one year he got so into birding that he ended up setting what birders refer to as the Big Year record. He spotted and identified an extraordinary 749 species of birds in one year.
Neil wrote his first book, Lost Among the Birds: Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year, chronicling his journey from heartbreak to triumph after he entered the 2013 Big Year birding competition – a race to find the most birds in one year. When Sandy Komito (the cheery guy played by Owen Wilson in the movie The Big Year) saw 748 species in 1998, many thought his North American birding record would last forever. In the end, Neil shocked the birding world by breaking the Big Year record previously held by Sandy Komito. Along the way, Neil surprised even himself, finding a renewed sense of confidence and hope about the world and his role in it.
With just days left in 2013, he was tied with the longstanding record of 748 sightings. And then as the deadline approached it happened! Ornithologists and informed birders will be astounded by this amateur birdwatcher’s achievements, but everyone will connect with Neil’s journey—the desire to find oneself and one’s place in the world. Join us for this outstanding program. This event is free and open to the public. Come early for refreshments and social time.
The Nominating Committee has presented a slate of Officers and Directors to the YCA Board, and that slate has been approved by the Directors. At the Annual Meeting on June 20th, the following slate of Officers shall be voted upon by the Membership: Bill Grabin, President, Joyce Toth, Vice President, Kathy Donahue, Treasurer, and Monica Grabin, Secretary, as well as the following slate of Directors: Mary Bateman, David Doubleday, Doug Hitchcox, Ken Janes, Lena Moser, Pat Moynahan, Seth Davis, Eileen Willard, Marian Zimmerman
Just in time for their spring arrival, Maine Audubon’s Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox will hold a workshop to teach you various techniques for identifying the gems of our forest: warblers. We will look at the diversity of the family, keys for identifying each species, and even spend time learning the songs and auditory cues to take your birding tothe next level. The workshop will be held at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust on Saturday, May 13th. We’ll meet at KCT at 6:30 am for an early morning bird walk, followed by the workshop itself. A second walk will follow after lunch (please bring your lunch).
An enthusiastic birder, Doug set the Big Year record for Maine birds with 314 species in 2011. In his spare time, he also runs the Maine-birds listserv, serves on the Maine Bird Records Committee and is one of Maine’s eBird reviewers. (Photo of Doug by M. Kathleen Kelly)
Advance registration (via this website) is required. Please click on the link under “What’s Coming Up” on the right side of this page, then scroll down to find the registration form. Fee of $10 is payable by cash or check at the workshop.
Please click on the link below to view the Spring 2017 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)
Harlequin Spring 2017
The newly formed Maine Young Birders Club will be having its second field trip this Saturday at Scarborough Marsh.
For more information about this outing and the MYBC, please visit their new website: http://www.maineyoungbirders.org
You can also contact Lena Moser or Nathan Hall at email@example.com.
At the University of Maine, Dr. Olsen’s research program explores how animals, particularly birds, respond to environmental change.
Tidal marshes blur the transition between land and ocean across great swaths of the Atlantic seaboard of North America. These estuarine systems act as the nurseries for our fisheries and provide protection from storm surges for our towns and cities. As an ecosystem with a mix of terrestrial and aquatic characteristics, however, they are also inhabited by species with unique adaptations for survival.
Sea-level rise is already challenging these adaptations, and the outcome for these species, the ecosystem as a whole, and the services they supply our society remains unclear. This presentation discusses the state of tidal marsh bird populations in the Northeast US, with an eye toward what that can tell us about how our marshes are weathering the rising waters.
The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Please join us. York County Audubon programs are free and open to all.
Purple Martins are beloved birds. They’re known as harbingers of spring, arriving in Maine in mid-April as a most welcome sign of the changing seasons. They are aerial acrobats known for their great speed and agility in flight, and when approaching their housing, they will dive from the sky at great speeds with their wings tucked. But their numbers have been dramatically reduced as European Starlings and House Sparrows have successfully competed with them for nesting cavities. Throughout the Eastern United States, many people have been working to support and strengthen their nesting colonies.
In 2013, Purple Martins were discovered nesting in a small birdhouse in a Hampton, New Hampshire marsh. The following year, a group of Audubon volunteers placed a gourd rack on town land nearby. Since then, that Martin colony has grown and now serves as a model for York County Audubon to emulate. Dennis Skillman is a member of Seacoast/New Hampshire Audubon, and has been at the center of their work to expand the colony there. On Tuesday, March 21st, York County Audubon will be delighted to host his program on the success they’ve had, which has yielded a colony filled to capacity with over 40 young fledged. The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Please join us. York County Audubon programs are free and open to all.
Purple Martins only nest in colonies, and are notoriously finicky about their choice of sites. A colony on private property in Kennebunk is the only one in Southern Maine. It’s extremely difficult to establish a new colony, but with the right steps, it has been possible to enrich existing ones. York County Audubon has been working with the Kennebunk Land Trust and the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge to identify potential local enrichment sites, and with New Hampshire Audubon and the Purple Martin Conservation Association to confirm best practices.
Do you know of young birders or naturalists (ages 11-18) who live in southern Maine? If so, we want to hear from them! York County Audubon is helping to launch the Maine Young Birders Club (MYBC)–the first of its kind in the state. MYBC will organize bird walks, field trips, presentations, and other fun events and activities for young nature-enthusiasts. We are looking for new members! The first Club meeting will take place on Saturday, March 25, with a bird walk followed by a pizza lunch. If you know of a young birder who wants to get involved, please contact Lena Moser or Nathan Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit their website: https://www.maineyoungbirders.org/