The Nortehrn Maine Bird Festival is Free of Charge and Will Be Held 'Rain or Shine'
Time: 6 AM to 1 PM
“Taking it to the Refuge” — 2014 Northern Maine Bird Festival
On Saturday, June 7, birders will “take it to the refuge” as The County’s popular birding festival moves to a new location — Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge on the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. This year’s free-admission, “rain or shine” event, known as the Northern Maine Bird Festival, features guided bird walks, netting/banding demonstrations, educational displays, activities for kids, plus a special live-birds “Owls of Maine” presentation by Chewonki Foundation that all ages of bird enthusiasts will enjoy. The festival is cosponsored by Aroostook Birders bird watching club and the Friends of the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge.
Guided bird walks will be held from 6 - 10 a.m. with the first “early-bird” walk setting out promptly at 6 a.m. This hour and a half auto tour includes a visit to wetland, woodland and grassland habitats to look for some of the special breeding birds of the refuge including warblers, flycatchers, and the uncommon Lincoln’s Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper. It will be followed by another walk at 8:30 to a beaver pond with focus on species that use this habitat. Walks start and end at the kiosk near the Refuge Visitor’s Center. Birders of all skill levels are encouraged to join the walks.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m., UMPI Wildlife Ecology Professor Dr. Jason Johnston will have mist nets set up and offer ongoing demonstrations on the capture and banding of songbirds. Falconer Dennis Kerekes will be on-hand with his Northern Goshawk to talk about the ancient art of falconry. Also, throughout the morning, the Friends of the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge will have stations set up indoors for children to build a bird house, construct a feeder, or learn about birds through other fun hands-on activities.
At 11 a.m., educators from Maine's Chewonki Foundation will bring a special presentation, "Owls of Maine" to the festival — an opportunity for kids and others to handle real wings, skulls, feathers and feet, and have a close-up view of three different live owls. This special program is sponsored by Aroostook Birders in memory of friend and fellow club member Kathy Braeuninger (Hunter).
Festival-goers should dress appropriately for the weather and bring personal equipment such as binoculars, books, as well as sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks. The Northern Maine Bird Festival is a rain or shine event. Contact the Refuge at 328-4634 or visit www.aroostookbirders.com for severe weather updates or more information.
The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge headquarters and Visitor’s Center is located at 97 Refuge Road. In Caribou, take Route 89 West toward Limestone. Turn left onto Loring Commerce Road (at Cote’s Auto) and proceed for approximately two miles, cross the tracks, and bear right at the fork. The refuge office and Visitor’s Center is on the right.