Maine Birds

My family has a summer home on the coast of Maine about sixty miles north of Portland on the Muscungus Bay in a sleepy town called Round Pond. I spent many summers there as a child. The house was built by my grandparents and has passed down through the generations, so that my son now owns a share. Maine is one of the most beautiful states in the union; some birds winter there (brrrrrr!), and some migrate. For the migratory birds we have added their names in Spanish, since many of them pass through Guatemala where I am now.

Tony Nazar is my closest friend in Maine. He is not migratory, but he is a wonderful photographer who, over the years, has traveled throughout western and southern Maine taking pictures of the birds and scenic pictures of the landscape. This page is entirely his photographs of birds and birding in Maine, and the descriptions are his.

Wild Turkey — Guajalote Silvestre (Meleagris gallopavo)

This bird is a resident breeder in Northern Mexico and widely extirpated elsewhere, except as a farmed bird, according to Howell and Webb. Once abundant in northern New England, they were re-introduced, and have flourished to the point that some consider them pests. They run in flocks and roost in trees at night.

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

Listen to his song:

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus)

The black-capped chickadee, not the black fly, is the state bird of Maine. This little year-round resident is one of the tamest wild birds I’ve ever encountered. Not only do they scold when I take down the feeders for filling, they have taken to landing on them inches from my hand as I put them back.

White-breasted Nuthatch — Saltapalos Pechiblanco (Sitta carolinesis)

These little birds see the world upside-down.

Listen to his song:

Red-breasted Nuthatch — Sita Canadiense (Sitta canadensis)

The Red-breasted is mostly a North American bird, but an occasional winter visitor to northern Mexico, while the White-breasted Nuthatch — Sita de Pecho Blanco (Sitta carolinensis) is a resident breeder all the way to southern Mexico. Quite a difference.

Listen to his song:

Pine Siskin — Dominico Pinero (Carduelis pinus)

Female

Pine Siskin — Dominico Pinero (Carduelis pinus)

Male

These little birds travel in large flocks that, in Maine,
frequently include American Goldfinches

Listen to his song:

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

These birds summer in northern Canada and winter in the northern US. I have seen a flock that numbered an estimated 1000 birds. It descended on our feeding area, cleaned it out in a matter of minutes and left. More common are small flocks of 25–50.

Listen to his song:

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

Winter plumage (male)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

Summer plumage (male)

One of the surest signs that spring is at hand is the first flash of yellow
as these little birds molt and sport their bright summer feathers

Baltimore Oriole — Bolsero de Baltimore (Ictus galbula)

Named, not from the city, but from the fact that the male’s colors resemble those
on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. A summer visitor to Maine

Listen to his song:

Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator)

This female is not a frequent visitor to this part of Maine,
but this winter there have been many sightings statewide

Gray Catbird — Pájaro-gato Gris (Dumetella carolinensis)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak — Picogrueso Pechirrosada (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Male

Rose-breasted Grosbeak — Picogrueso Pechirrosada (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Female

Another beautiful summer visitor to Maine

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

These birds visit the ornamental crabapple trees in a neighbor’s yard each spring.
The photos were taken with my pocket camera, a Casio EX-Z120.

Scarlet Tanager — Tangará Escarlata (Piranga olivacea)

I felt very fortunate to get a good photo of a tanager. They spend most of their time high in the treetops. This bird made a few visits to our feeders before moving on.
Shot with the Nikon D70s.

Listen to his song:

Great Crested Flycatcher — Copetón Viajero (Myiarchus crinitis)

Mourning Dove — Paloma Huilota (Zenaida macroura)

These beautiful doves make a whistling sound with their wings as they take off. In Maine all year round, they also range throughout North and Central America. These are puffed up on a cold Maine day.

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

The common Blue Jay is a beautiful but aggressive year-round resident of Maine. They are predators and do not fear larger birds. I used a Nikon D70s with a Nikkor 70-300 VR lens to take these photos.

Red-winged Blackbird — Tordo Sargentom (Agelaius phoeniceus)

This bird visited one of my feeders daily all summer.
If that feeder happened to be low on food, he would let me know about it.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird — Colibrí Gorjirrubi (Archilochus colubris)

Male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird — Colibrí Gorjirrubi (Archilochus colubris)

Female

These birds were photographed on a thornless rose near a nectar feeder
and a garden filled with hummingbird delights like bee balm

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

A year-round resident of the Maine woods, this female was photographed with a Nikon D70s and a 70-300 Nikkor VR lens as she hammered on a tree in my backyard.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Hairy Woodpecker — Carpintero-velloso Mayor (Picoides villosus)

Note the longer beak. This is a larger bird than the downy, but smaller than the pileated. Like the downy, the male hairy has a red slash on the back of his head. Hairy Woodpeckers are resident breeders in Guatemala and have been heard and spotted around Lago Atitlán.

Donald Kroodsma in his book The Singing Life of Birds says, “The downy and hairy woodpeckers drum at a steady pace, but the pace of the larger hairy woodpecker is much faster. . . . The Downy’s drumming strikes the tree at about 15 times a second, whereas the Hairy’s drumming is about 25 times per second.”

Listen to the Hairy’s drumming:

Drumming, the bill striking the tree more rapidly, at the constant rate of about 25 times a second. Recorded in California by Geoffrey A. Keller (Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds Recording 50166).

Downy Woodpecker — Carpintero Velloso Mennor (Picoides pubescens)

Downy woodpeckers are small birds that make a lot of noise drumming on whatever is available. Some of the drumming is a search for food, some a search of a mate. It can be disconcerting when they use your house as a drum. I always keep one or two suet bags near the seed feeders for the Downies and larger Hairy Woodpeckers as well as other birds. Male Downies have a red flash at the back of the head. (See also the very last picture on this page.)

Listen to the Downy’s drumming:

Drumming, the bill striking the tree at the constant rate of about 15 times a second. Recorded in Oregon by Geoffrey A. Keller (Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds Recording 44905).

American Robin — Mirlo Primavera (Turdus migratorius)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

I used a Nikon D70s to photograph this tan-striped adult in the fall in Wilton, Maine. The species summers in Canada and the northernmost regions of Maine, and winters in the southern US as far south as Florida.

Slate-colored Junco — Junco Ojioscuro (Junco hyemalis)

These small birds are fall and spring visitors to this part of Maine.
This year, I have seen a small population right through the winter.

Solitary Sandpiper — Playero Solitario (Tringa solitaria)

A migrant transiting Maine on his way south from Canada.
This bird was photographed at the edge of a favorite beaver pond.

Great Blue Heron — Garzón Cenizo (Ardea herodius)

This bird was in the swamp that became the beaver pond that is a favorite spot of mine to stop and photograph or just reflect. He stood quietly as I photographed him from not too great a distance — unusual, since they are easily spooked.

Green Heron — Garza Verde (Butorides virescens)

This migratory bird was photographed with a Nikon D70s
while it hunted in a beaver pond in Wilton, Maine

Common Loon — Colimbo Común (Gavia immer)

Both these birds were photographed on Wilson Lake in Wilton

Listen to his song:

Canada Goose — Ganso Canadiense (Branta canadensis)

These two Canada Geese were in the beaver pond a few minutes’ walk from my house.
It is a favorite birding spot for me and a few others in the neighborhood.

Hooded Merganser — Mergo de Caperuza (Lophodytes cucullatus)

This immature female was the subject of discussion on Maine Bird listserv and Bird Chat before it was finally identified by a waterfowl specialist. She and several of her siblings spent a week or more on a beaver pond near my house. Unfortunately, the pond is also home to snapping turtles as well as being surrounded by man, his vehicles and his pets. She seems to have been the sole survivor.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Female

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Male

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

The pair

When my wife told me she could see a duck in a tree one snowy morning, I thought she'd gone around the bend. I'd forgotten about Wood Ducks that perch in trees. It is unusual for them to stray too far from water, but late season cold had refrozen the ponds and their usual food source. A pair had discovered the cracked corn we had out for the Mourning Doves.

These photos were taken using a Nikon D70s and a Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens.

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

This duck was in Haley’s Pond in Rangeley, Maine. She had staked out a small picnic area behind the local ice cream and hot dog stand. She may be a mallard/black duck cross; not unusual, since they share a range and are known to interbreed.

Double-crested Cormorant — Cormorán Bicrestado (Phalacrocorax auritus)

This bird breeds in colonies as far south as Belize; they are great fishermen. Here in Wilton, we most often see them drying off, standing on rocks in Wilson Stream beside the old Bass Shoe factory. This bird was in the beaver pond near my home.

Beaver have kept Couber’s Brook dammed for most of the years I have lived in Wilton. The pond they have created provides habitat for birds, animals, insects and fish. It’s one of my favorite photography sites, though the black flies and mosquitos can make that a bit less than comfortable.

Monhegan Island is about twelve miles off the coast of Maine. This artist colony was put on the map by the Wyeth family, American artists, and birders seeking warblers. My only visit was on a very foggy day. The Wyeths no longer live there and the warblers were walking, but the photography was fantastic. I used an Olympus E-20N.

Lobsters are another favorite of visitors.
These lobster boats are part of the Monhegan fleet.

The Elizabeth Ann makes frequent trips from Port Clyde on the coast
to Monhegan Island.

 

And finally, here’s Tony himself, with a female Downy Woodpecker
(Picoides pubescens) hanging onto his suet feeder.