Contacts: Scott Thompson, (207) 768-8341
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: Aroostook State Park to Host Fourth Annual Birding Festival
(June 11, 2012)
AUGUSTA, Maine ‑- It’s all about the birds again at Maine’s first state park.
Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle -- known as “Maine’s First State Park,” established 1935 – will hold its Fourth Annual Birding Festival on Saturday, June 23. This year, the popular birding festival is celebrating International Migratory Bird Day, which is dedicated to connecting people to bird conservation.
“Our Birding Festival is for anyone who enjoys nature and being outdoors and wants to expand their knowledge of birding,” said Park Manager Scott Thompson. “There will be opportunities for experienced birders to add to their life lists and fun activities for new birders, plus it’s a great family event.”
Billed as Maine’s northern-most birding event, the festival is open to all who want to learn more about birds. The details of the event are:
6 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 23, Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle, $2 for adults, $1 for children 5-11, all others free. Coffee, hot cocoa and water are available; lunch available for a small donation. Event will take place rain or shine. For more information, call the park office at 768-8341 or for notice of cancellation if the weather is severe.
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), now in its 20th year, is sponsored by the non-profit group, Environment for the Americas. The organization provides information and materials about birds, bird conservation, and bird education from Canada to South America. IMBD highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Beginning bird watchers and experienced birders will find what organizers have described as “something for everyone” in the day’s events. This year’s festival offers a variety of workshops and activities such as: hourly guided bird walks, live bird displays, bird netting and banding, and presentations by wildlife biologists.
Other activities include hands-on use of spotting scopes and optics, as well as bird-calling workshops, a bird-house building station for youngsters, and canoes/kayaks available to use on Echo Lake at the park.
Early birders can catch the first scheduled walk of the day at 6 a.m., followed by regular walks along the shoreline and through wooded trails winding up into the park. More than 40 different birds were recorded at last year’s festival.
“It’s not unusual to find as many as 100 different species of birds in the park, including woodpeckers, songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl,” Thompson noted. “One year, we even saw a female hummingbird sitting on her nest.”
Volunteers from the Arthur Howell Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Amity will be on hand after 9:30 a.m. with live birds of prey. At 10 a.m., Wildlife Biologist Charlie Todd of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will offer a presentation on our national bird, bald eagles.
Maury Mills, biologist at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Calais, will speak at 11 a.m. about the life and habits of American woodcock in Maine. Members of the Aroostook Birders bird-watching club will be on hand to assist with walks and demonstrations.
Festival participants are eligible to win various door prizes. Park visitors are advised to dress appropriately and bring personal birding equipment, such as binoculars and books, as well as sun screen and insect repellent. Several binoculars will be available for use through a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.
For more information about the festival, call the park at: (207) 768-8341
For more information about Aroostook State Park, go to: http://www.maine.gov/aroostook
For more information about Maine state parks, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com
For more information about International Migratory Bird Day, go to: http://www.birdday.org/