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Friday, October 19, 2018
Chickadee and White-Breasted Nuthatch (Photos by Don Reimer)
Chickadee and White-Breasted Nuthatch (Photos by Don Reimer)
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Thursday, October 4, 2018 7:39 AM
In late September we spent time on Mohegan Island, hoping to catch the zenith of the fall bird migration. We knew that variable influences, such as wind speed and direction and shifting weather patterns, affect the timing and flow of optimal migration. . . .
  • Birding with Don Reimer: 2018 Winter Finch Forecast—
    With the approach of the winter season, birders are quick to pose the perennial question: Will flocks of northern finches visit Maine this winter? Finch movements are linked to cyclic abundances of cone and seed crops across immense . . .
  • Vulture Venture—
    For folks in the midcoast region, sightings of soaring turkey vultures are a common sight, but that was not always the case. When ornithologist Ralph Palmer published his “Maine Birds” in 1949, he cited only 12 state records over the . . .
  • Flocking —
    The old saying that birds of a feather flock together is actually true. From nesting activity to emergency escapes from predators, flocking behavior accomplishes several important objectives for bird survival. Examples abound. . . .
  • Déjà Vu—
    Here’s a question for all sharp-eyed bird and feeder watchers: Are you repeatedly seeing the same individuals each day at your feeders? Have those familiar chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, hummingbirds and woodpeckers that show up . . .
  • Weskeag’s Sparrows—
    For some folks, sparrows are merely an after- thought — those “little brown jobs” that inhabit our neighborhood yards and bushes. Certain ones, such as the ubiquitous Song Sparrow, nest in a broad range of habitat types across . . .
  • Atlas Surprises —
    How quickly the years (and decades) do pass. Between 1978 and 1983, I was an eager, young(er) participant in the previous “Atlas of Breeding Birds in Maine” project. Recently I browsed a slightly yellowed paper copy of the finalized results . . .
  • Spruce Warblers—
    For the majority of birds, the nesting season is zinging along these days! And so is the Maine Bird Atlassing project. Of the current 175 confirmed species statewide, Lincoln County has 87, with 85 for Knox and 81 for Waldo so far. . . .
  • Feeding the Family —
    As the Maine Bird Atlas project progresses into late June, the number of confirmed breeding species found across the state has reached 160 (as of June 22). Locally, Knox County atlassers have confirmed 667 species, while Lincoln . . .
  • Getting Down to Business—
    By the second week of June, spring migration has largely achieved its yearly goal of placing birds at their intended nesting destinations. There are always some tail-end stragglers, of course, and intriguing species of out-of-range birds that . . .
  • Moving into Spring—
    BREEEP! BREEEP! That’s not the sound of a beeping vehicle I was hearing. No, it’s that noisy Great Crested Flycatcher that arrives behind my house each mid-May. A relatively large, vocal species that utilizes natural tree cavities . . .
  • Wading the Wetlands—
    With the onset of spring nesting season, songbirds become the major avian focus for many birders. After all, a brightly plumaged Canada Warbler or fire-red Scarlet Tanager is definitely a visual treat. But other less conspicuous species . . .
  • A Bouquet of Warblers —
    Spring has arrived! What’s my basic list of annual spring tasks? Install the window screens, ready the lawn mower, retrieve deck chairs and the barbeque grill from storage and (during any spare moment) maintain a sharp eye out for . . .
  • The Maine Bird Atlas Takes Wing —
    Signals of the advancing spring season abound. Choruses of wood frogs clacking from forested vernal pools; hoarse barking grunts of courting gray squirrels echo through the hardwoods. And are you noticing some increasing intensity . . .
  • Maine Bird Atlas Is Coming!—
    Regular readers of my column will note that I’m a frequent proponent of studying the behavior of birds as a path to knowing individual species and observing their complex inter-species relationships. Well, a fun opportunity to watch . . .
  • All Black and White—
    As spring approaches, birders await the arrival of vibrant, colorful warblers flitting through the treetops. During Maine’s winter period, however, scores of black-and-white birds have dominated the oceanic birding scene. These are members . . .
  • Handled with Care—
    What inquisitive child isn’t captivated by seeing or holding a fuzzy baby chick in their hands? In adult life, I’ve had several opportunities to hold wild birds in my own hands under several sets of different circumstances. Let’s view three species . . .
  • Partridge in a Pear Tree—
    Two members of the Gallinaceous or “chicken-like” grouse family occur in Maine. Despite some color variations in feathering patterns, the Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse share a general similarity in shape and appearance. Their contrasting . . .
  • Just Duckie—
    Let’s start with a disclaimer: I don’t pretend to know exactly how ducks think or about the motivations behind their various actions. However, I certainly enjoy watching and speculating over (in human terms) their compelling behaviors . . .
  • Birding with Don Reimer: Inchworm—
    One recent Saturday, I went birding with friends at Pemaquid Point. Throughout my boyhood in nearby New Harbor, I tramped much of the point’s picturesque terrain on an intimate inch-by-inch basis. Mere inches . . .
  • Staying Warm—
    Throughout a fortnight of extended cold snap, Mainers endured sub-zero temperatures, howling winds and blowing snow. “It’s January in Maine,” we tell ourselves. We stayed indoors when possible and dressed snugly when venturing . . .
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