Common eiders - Kirk M. Rogers.

Common, Arctic, and endangered roseate terns, Atlantic puffins, razorbills, black guillemots, common eiders, and laughing gulls nest on refuge islands from mid-May to early August.

In May and June, the forests of the mainland are filled with the songs of hermit and Swainson's thrushes, song sparrows, and Nashville, magnolia, black-throated green, and palm warblers. Blackpoll warblers are passing through to their breeding grounds farther north.

Shorebird migration reaches its height in August, with red knots, semipalmated and least sandpipers, semipalmated and black-bellied plovers, and short-billed dowitchers seen on the mud flats of the mainland divisions. Dunlins follow in September.

Bald eagles nest on some refuge islands from March through August. Merlins, peregrine falcons, and sharp-shinned hawks pass through the refuge in the fall.

Fall waterfowl migration occurs from late September into October. Cranberry Flowage, on Petit Manan Point, is filled with black ducks, green-winged teal, northern pintails, and mallards. Oldsquaw, common goldeneyes, and surf and white-winged scoters winter on coastal waters.

Where to See Birds

Seabird islands are closed to the public during the nesting season, April 1 - August 31, to minimize disturbance to the birds. Commercial tour boats provide views of nesting seabirds on Petit Manan, Seal and Machias Seal islands.

The Petit Manan Point Division has two hiking trails that offer birding opportunities. The Hollingsworth Trail is a 1.8-mile loop, while the Birch Point Trail is a four-mile round trip. Both pass through blueberry fields and spruce-fir forests and along cobble beaches. The Birch Point Trail leads to a large saltmarsh.

For an electronic checklist of the more than 300 species of birds that have been identified on the refuge, please click here (pdf).