Video of Turtles with Kris Hoffmann

A video of our September program on turtles, presented by Kris Hoffman, is now available and can be watched by clicking on the link below.

Our special thanks to Saco River Community Television for recording and editing the program, and making this video available.

Posted in Program, video

The Christmas Bird Counts Are Coming

    Harlequins DH 5196837123_369eef562e_z crop

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, the   Audubon Society has been sponsoring Christmas Bird Counts (CBC’s) to help monitor the health and status of bird populations throughout North America.  In that first year, there were 25 count circles with a total of 27 birders.  Now, there are over 2300 count circles each year with over 70,000 birders participating, with the locations stretching from Alaska to South America.

Each year, York County Audubon sponsors two counts.  The Southern York County circle extends from Kittery to Ogunquit, while the Biddeford/Kennebunkport count circle reaches from Kennebunk to Saco.  Each count territory is a geographic circle, carved out into six or more territories.  Each territory has a team that scours it during “count day” looking for all bird species, and recording the numbers seen of each.  It can, at times, be a bit more art than science, as we attempt to count – but not double count – the birds we find. We also have supporters who monitor their home feeders during the day and contribute their totals.  To avoid double counting, we ask them only to report the greatest number of each species that they see at any one time during the day.

At the end of the day (at 5 p.m.), we meet to compile the counts and share highlights.  Once compiled, the counts are forwarded to National Audubon for their master compilation.  Both locally and nationally, the totals are reviewed to assess trends in the populations of all species.  While the totals can vary fairly dramatically year to year due to the weather that happens to grace us on count day, the bigger picture over time can be very informative.

This year, the Southern York County CBC will be held on Monday, December 18th, while the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC will be on Saturday, December 30th.   The Southern YC compilation will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve, while the Bidd/Kport compilation will held at the Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise.  If you might like to find out about participating in one or both, please contact Monica Grabin at 207-985-3342 or for the Southern York County CBC, or Kathy Donahue at 207-967-4102 or for the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC.

Posted in Events

Our 19th Annual Bird Seed Sale is coming!

Keep your feathered friends happy this winter by treating them to tasty and fresh, premium quality bird food and help support two of your favorite environmental organizations at the same time.  Profits from our annual sale support the educational programs of both York County Audubon and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.  A wide variety of types of seed and suet is available, with great pricing, especially if you order early.

Early bird pricing is available if you place your order by 4 p.m. on October 27th

Order pick up will be at the Wells Reserve November 9th – 11th, with easy access and volunteers on hand to help load your car. 

For more information, please access the order form via this link:



Posted in Uncategorized

The Art of Science: Building a Field Guide with Jonathan Alderfer – Tuesday, October 17th

The National Geographic will publish the newest edition of the Field Guide to the Birds of North America this September. Join artist, co-author and co-illustrator Jonathan Alderfer for an inside look at how this latest edition was conceived and brought to press. Jonathan will also display a selection of his original field guide illustrations and discuss the painting process.

Jonathan Alderfer has specialized in painting birds and natural history subjects for more than thirty years. For ten years he was National Geographic’s resident birding expert at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. While there, he authored, edited, or illustrated more than twenty books for the National Geographic Society, including the best-selling Complete Birds of North America. You’ll be amazed to learn the details of how field guides are actually made and awestruck by Jonathan’s fine art paintings. This event is free and open to the public. Come early for refreshments and social time.

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.


Posted in Events, Program

The Harlequin – Autumn 2017

Please click on the link below to view the Autumn 2017 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)

Harlequin Autumn 2017

Posted in Harlequin newsletter

Turtles with Kris Hoffmann – Tuesday, September 19th

University of Maine Postdoctoral Associate Kristine Hoffmann brings us a fun and fascinating night of turtle biology. How long can a Box turtle live? Why do Snapping turtles snap? Why are turtle populations declining, and what can the public do to help? Kris will explain the ecology of these water-loving animals and introduce us to all the turtles of Maine. She will discuss their natural history, behavior, unique values, and conservation, in an engaging presentation sure to be both instructive and entertaining.   This event is free and open to the public. Come early for refreshments and social time.

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.

Photos below:  Snapping Turtle (top) and Eastern Box Turtle (bottom)


Posted in Events, Program

Shorebird Workshop with Louis Bevier, Monday, August 28th


York County Audubon continues our Workshop series by offering a Shorebird Identification Workshop presented by noted Maine Birder, Louis Bevier. Shorebirds herald the changing seasons by staging and feeding in mixed flocks on our beaches and resting on historical roosting area.  Fortunes Rock Beach and Hills Beach are two of these noted areas. Louis will discuss the beautiful plumage variation of these long-distance migrant flocks.  We will begin to identify specific species within the flocks by size, shape and feeding strategy. Louis will also identify species migratory travel dates from ebird data. Sounds of individual species will also be discussed and listened for on our beach walks.

This workshop will be led by well known Maine birder Louis Bevier.  Since the 1960’s, 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 serves on the Maine Bird Records Committee.

The presentation part of the workshop will be held at the Biddeford Pool Fire Station located at the corner of Rt 208 and Stone Cliff Rd in Biddeford Pool on August 28, 2017. Two beach walks are planned, one at Hills Beach and the second at Fortunes Rocks. We will meet at Buffleheads Restaurant on Hills Beach at 7:45 a.m. Plan on walking to the Basket Island Sandbar and birding until 9:30. Bring your scope along if you have one. We will then drive to the Biddeford Fire Station for Louis’ presentation and lunch (please bring your lunch). We will conclude the day with a beach walk at South Beach at Fortunes Rocks so that you can check your skill in Shorebird identification. Water shoes are appropriate although we should not get wet as High Tide is not till 4:54 p.m.

Space is limited, and 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.

oystercatcher KJ   Common Tern with fish

American Oystercatcher – photo by Ken Janes. Common Tern with fish – photo by Marie Jordan.

Posted in Events, Workshop

Lost Among the Birds, the Story of a Record-Breaking Big Year – with Neil Hayward – Tuesday, June 20th (Preceded by a brief Annual Meeting)

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 hayward

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.

Posted in Events, Program

Annual Election of Officers and Directors

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

Posted in Chapter News

Learning Bird Language – a Workshop with Dan Gardoqui – Sunday, June 25th

Slow down and listen to the birds…and they will tell you nature’s secrets.  Birding can be whole lot more than feeding, watching, photographing, keeping life lists, or chasing rarities.  It can also involve knowing what birds are saying. Deep Bird Language requires slowing down and truly listening to the birds.  Dan says “It’s more about quality than quantity.” For the vast majority of human existence, this was a skill we could not afford to ignore.  Once critical to our survival it is now, nearly gone.  Local tracker, naturalist, and birder Dan Gardoqui will give us a peek into the world of Deep Bird Language including tips on how to “re-awaken” this hardwired skill set of awareness.

This workshop will run from 7 am till noon on Sunday, June 25th  and will be held at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust on Gravelly Brook Rd in Kennebunkport.  It will blend field observation and interpretation with some indoor lectures & lessons about the fundamentals and nuances of learning bird language. Participants should dress to be outdoors for a few hours at a time (be prepared for biting insects); bring something to sit on (if you don’t want to sit on the ground); and bring a field notebook, pencil, and binoculars.

Dan is co-founder and Executive Director of White Pine Programs.  He lives in the Agamenticus region, and has been studying naturalist skills, wildlife tracking, bird language & mentoring since 1990. Dan has a M.S. in Natural Resources, is a Certified Wilderness First Responder, Certified Wildlife Tracker, Registered Maine Guide, & served as Science Faculty at Granite State College for over a decade. Through wildlife tracking, Dan has contributed to wildlife studies and served as science editor for the bird language book “What the Robin Knows”   FMI:

Space is limited, and 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.

Dan-Gardoqui What the Robin Knows

Posted in Events, Workshop