electrofishing

While You Were Sleeping, We Were Electrofishing!

Electrofishing is a highly effective way to non-lethally sample a population and is very efficient for studying bass during their May-June spawning season.

Mariner, the latest great blue heron to be tagged with a GPS transmitter by IFW biologists.

Deer Isle Mariner is Latest GPS-Tagged Great Blue Heron

Meet “Mariner,” the newly GPS-tagged great blue heron from Deer Isle.  On June 3rd, Mariner became the 11th great blue heron in Maine to be added to the Heron Tracking Project that began in 2016.

Great blue heron with a stick during nest building

Ring in the Spring with the Heron Observation Network – 13 Years and Counting

Of the many harbingers of spring, herons returning to their colonies is my favorite! Before we embark on the 14th year of heron colony monitoring, let's first review results from the 2021 volunteer efforts.

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Beaver Flowage Attracts GPS-Tagged Heron to Nest

Have you heard of Cornelia, an adult female great blue heron tagged with a GPS transmitter, who nests in Maine and migrates to the Bahamas for the winter? She is one of ten other herons who’ve been equipped with GPS transmitters by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to learn more about heron movements, habits, and habitats in Maine and beyond. The project began with the help of a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant and many partnering schools, and is part of MDIFW’s ongoing efforts to understand the status of great blue herons in the state – especially along the coast where their population has declined by 89% since the 1980s.

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First Maine Island-Nesting Heron Tagged with GPS Transmitter

IFW technician Brittany Currier holds tagged great blue heron just before release. To ensure everyone’s safety, IFW biologist Amanda Cross holds onto the bill.

Heron flying

Harper Wows Us Again!

Harper, the GPS-tagged Great Blue Heron, has done it again! Last fall she impressed us with her 38-hour nonstop flight over the open ocean. This year, she has gone above and beyond, flying for 68 hours and 2,030 miles nonstop from Quebec to Georgia.

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Flight of the Great Blue Heron by Mia

The following story was written by Mia, a fourth grade student at Friends School of Portland. Mia helped with the field work leading up to the capture and tagging of "Harper" the great blue heron, in Harpswell. She was also there the morning Harper was tagged with a GPS transmitter. Thank you, Mia, for sharing your perspective!

Exploring Our School's Very Own Heronry

On October 9th, our Environmental Studies class at Nokomis Regional High was fortunate enough to have wildlife biologist, Danielle D’Auria, come to our class and talk to us about the Great Blue Heron nests that are located on our school grounds. We took a trip to the Heron Rookery right on our school property, where we were able to tag and measure 33 nesting trees and identify 39 heron nests.

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Heron Tagged in Harpswell Surprises Biologists

For nine students at Harpswell Coastal Academy, Wednesdays in May meant donning knee-high boots, venturing to a nearby wetland, and hoping for signs a hungry great blue heron had been there. As part of a spring class elective, these students were dedicated to helping MDIFW ultimately tag a great blue heron with a GPS transmitter as part of an ongoing project to better understand heron habits in Maine.

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Ibises, Egrets, Night-Herons, Oh My!

On a beautiful May day, I had the pleasure to visit an island off the coast of Portland. After a short boat ride from a local captain and an even shorter dinghy ride, we arrived on the shore of Ram Island. Accompanied by MDIFW biologists Danielle D'Auria and Brad Allen and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists Bob Houston and Kirstin Underwood, I looked on with binoculars to get a feel for the bird diversity on the island. I was blown away immediately by the sight of all the birds. I could see everything from gulls to egrets, sandpipers, and oystercatchers. The coastline was rocky and marked with cliffs and vegetation that were perfect nesting habitat for gulls and eiders. The center of the island was very green with dense vegetation, perfect for wading birds.