News & Notes: Conservation Issues


MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon Presents Doug Tallamy on the Importance of Native Plants

Posted on: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 21, 2016

Contact: LeslieTaylor
[email protected]
(207) 781-2330 x276
Cell: (347)225-1510

Maine Audubon Presents Doug Tallamy on the Importance of Native Plants
In Honor of Pollinator Week, Learn to Make Your Garden Wildlife-friendly

tallamytalkFALMOUTH – Learn how native plants attract pollinators and other wildlife at a talk by Dr. Doug Tallamy, chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and author of Bringing Nature Home. Dr. Tallamy will speak at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center on Wednesday, June 29, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm as part of the Maine Audubon Speaker Series.  Online registration is encouraged.

Studies have shown that even a modest increase in the native plant cover on suburban properties greatly increases the diversity of insects, birds, and other animals that use the landscape. Native plants feed native bird species either directly with fruits and seeds, or indirectly by supporting native insects birds can eat.

As our population grows, wild landscapes are increasingly replaced with suburban backyards, grass lawns punctuated with non-native perennials and shrubs that support very few species of wildlife. In fact, the United States has planted over 62,500 square miles – some 40 million acres – of lawn!

In his talk, Dr. Tallamy will discuss the important benefits of choosing native plants for our gardens and emphasize the ecological, educational, physical, and emotional benefits of designing landscapes that can sustain plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S.

This program and Maine Audubon’s Bringing Nature Home project are generously funded by a gift from Jim & Ann Hancock. Maine Audubon’s Speaker Series is sponsored by Maine Magazine, Allagash Brewing Company, and Chickadee Wines  

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information. Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

MEDIA RELEASE: Volunteers Needed for Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center

Posted on: Monday, June 20th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2016

Contact: Linda Woodard
[email protected]
207-883-5100

Volunteers Needed for Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center
Maine Audubon seeks help on a variety of projects in support of Maine’s largest salt marsh  

SCARBOROUGH – Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers ages 14 and up to help with a variety of tasks at the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center. All experience levels are welcome and this is a perfect opportunity for students looking to beef up their college application, earn community service hours, or add experiences with nature and science to their resumes.

Depending on their interest and abilities, volunteers could help with:

  • Citizen Science Projects -  Participate in bird monitoring in July and August. This can be done by foot, canoe, or kayak. A Biodiversity Day in July will inventory all insects and plants in the marsh.  These monitoring projects provide a picture of the health of the marsh by documenting what species live there and noting any changes over time. All experience levels welcome.
  • The Nature Store – Greet visitors, organize store merchandise, answer phone calls, and assist with canoe rentals.
  • Canoe Rentals – Process paperwork, explain directions and safety, hand out lifejackets and paddles, move boats on and off storage rack, and assist visitors in and out of boats.
  • The Nature Center – Lead groups of all ages on explorations through the marsh. Lead walks, discuss animal mounts, maintain interactive exhibits, greet visitors and answer questions.
  • Buildings/Grounds Maintenance – Carry out carpentry and landscaping projects, maintain walking trails and boardwalks, paint, etc.

In addition, the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center requires volunteers for special events, such as Snowy Egret Day and special projects, such as picking up returnables to raise money for the center.

If you are interested in helping out at the marsh, there is likely a project that fits your expertise!

No experience is necessary and the time commitment can be tailored to the volunteer’s schedule. Training will be provided.

To learn more about volunteering, contact: Linda Woodard 207-883-5100or smac@maineaudubon.org.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information. Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

MEDIA RELEASE: Penobscot River Restoration Project Celebrates Final Milestone, Reconnects River to the Sea

Posted on: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 14, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

Penobscot River Restoration Project Celebrates Final Milestone,
Reconnects River to the Sea
Howland fish bypass completes collaborative effort to rebalance fisheries and hydropower on Maine’s largest river

Bypass panorama - credit Don Hudson

Photo by Don Hudson.

Howland, ME – Today, federal, state, local, and tribal representatives, and project partners gathered in Howland, Maine, to mark and celebrate the completion of the last major milestone in the Penobscot River Restoration Project: the newly constructed fish bypass around the dam in Howland.

Completion of this large stream-like channel will allow American shad, river herring, and Atlantic salmon to swim freely around the dam to and from important historic breeding, rearing, and nursery habitat for the first time in more than a century. The Howland fish bypass fulfills the Penobscot Project’s goal of significantly improving access to nearly 1,000 miles of Maine’s largest river for eleven species of native sea-run fish, while maintaining energy through increased hydropower generation at other dams in the watershed.

The Penobscot Project is widely considered one of the largest, most innovative river restoration projects in the nation.

The celebration event, held in Howland at the confluence of the Penobscot and Piscataquis Rivers, features diverse speakers, art work by local students, and a fish sculpture making Howland its first U.S. stop on a world tour of globally significant fish migration sites.

“The Howland Dam may seem far from the sea, but it has long kept migrating fish like Atlantic salmon and American shad from swimming between the ocean and their historic inland habitat,” says Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. “This innovative ‘nature-like’ fish bypass reconnects the Piscataquis River to the main stem of the Penobscot and the Gulf of Maine, allowing sea-run fish to swim freely past the dam.

“The Penobscot Trust thanks the Town of Howland for working with us over many years to facilitate the success of the fish bypass. Adjacent to the town’s recently revitalized park, boat launch, and reclaimed former tannery site, the fish bypass should prove to be an asset for the future.”

Four years ago, in June 2012, the Great Works Dam removal began, followed by the removal of the Veazie Dam at the head of tide in 2013. At the same time, dam owners built a fish elevator at the Milford Dam, now the only dam on the lower Penobscot.  Dam owners increased power generation at several other locations within the Penobscot watershed to maintain and even increase power generation.

Today, the river is on the rebound. This year, more than 1.7 million river herring have already passed above dams removed by the Penobscot Project – up from only several thousand before the Veazie Dam was removed. Fish are now swimming upriver past Howland and into the Piscataquis and through the Mattaceunk Dam on the Penobscot in Medway, and have been observed more than 90 miles upriver from Penobscot Bay. In addition, a record-breaking 2,700 shad passed by Milford this spring. In another exciting development, last week fisheries experts saw the first American shad in recent history passing the West Enfield dam.

New community activities abound. The new national whitewater race, a 4-day event featuring activities from Old Town to Eddington, is entering its second year.  An annual alewife festival and children’s days has begun at Blackman Stream in Bradley, where more than 450,000 river herring swam up the stream this past month.

“Construction of the Howland bypass is another milestone in efforts to restore Maine’s native sea-run fisheries in the Penobscot River,” says Patrick Keliher, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “Passage of anadromous fish species is critical to the health of our state’s marine and freshwater ecosystems. This project will not only provide access to hundreds of miles of critical habitat to Maine’s native sea-run fish, it will ensure continued opportunity for renewable power generation on the Penobscot River.”

“The Service is proud to have spent over a decade working with the partnership to creatively craft and create a better future for the Penobscot River, modeling how we should restore rivers across the globe,” says Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We have completed monumental construction projects, energy improvements, and other steps redefining how the Penobscot River serves fish, the people of Maine, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. This project has managed to do it all: restore vital habitat for fish and wildlife, support energy needs, and create new economic and recreational opportunities throughout the watershed.”

Dam owners, conservation groups, tribal, state, and federal agencies, and citizens, worked together for more than a decade to accomplish the Penobscot River Restoration Project, which better balances restoration of native sea-run fish with hydropower generation.

“NOAA Fisheries congratulates the Penobscot River Restoration Trust on their completion of the nature-like bypass in Howland, and looks forward to the continued restoration of sea-run fish to the Penobscot River watershed,” says Dan Morris, Deputy Regional Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region.“The Trust, its member organizations, State of Maine, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Penobscot Indian Nation have been wonderful partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project over the years.”

The restored river provides many cultural, economic, and recreational opportunities from the Penobscot headwaters to the Gulf of Maine. As a result of the project, the river now better supports Penobscot Indian Nation tribal culture, renews traditional uses, provides major benefits to fish and wildlife, and increases business and regulatory certainty for dam owners.

“The Penobscot River watershed is the ancestral home of the Penobscot Nation, and has sustained our tribal members since time immemorial,” says Kirk Francis, Chief of the Penobscot Nation. “The Penobscot River Restoration Project has allowed our tribe to continue our role as the original stewards of this great resource and we are proud to have been a part of a project that will benefit generations of all peoples well in to the future.”

The Penobscot Project also demonstrates how diverse interests can work together to develop results-based approaches to fisheries restoration and hydropower basin-wide. This type of approach could serve as a model for other efforts around the world.

Like the overall Penobscot Project, the Howland Bypass was funded through a combination of federal and private sources, with major funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Passage Program.  The Howland Bypass design and construction team included Kleinschmidt, Inter-Fluve, Inc., Haley Aldrich, CES, Inc. and SumCo Eco-Contracting.

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The Penobscot River Restoration Trust is a nonprofit organization responsible for completing the core elements of the Penobscot Project. Members are the Penobscot Indian Nation, American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Trout Unlimited, and The Nature Conservancy. Other major partners include the State of Maine (Department of Marine Resources, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs), PPL Corporation, and Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC.      

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information. Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

Celebrating the Start of Summer

Posted on: Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Kayaking at Scarborough Marsh

It finally feels like summer here at Gilsland Farm and everything is green and blooming.  Buds are just starting to emerge in our formal peony garden, right on schedule so they will hopefully be near peak flower for our Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social on June 15.

The Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social is an annual celebration of the organization’s Peony Circle of Friends, dedicated members, donors and volunteers who have supported Maine Audubon with their time, energy and contributions for over twenty years.  This will be my first Peony Social and I’m looking forward to meeting and honoring the special group of supporters who have shown such a deep commitment to stewardship, conservation and environmental education through their long term engagement with Maine Audubon.

Summer means it’s time to get out in the garden so I’m looking forward to learning more about how I can make my backyard wildlife friendly from Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, when he joins us for our Speaker Series event on June 29.

Summer also means that Gilsland Farm will get an influx of young energy as we’ll daily encounter summer campers on the grounds of the nature reserve, learning about wildlife and enjoying the outdoors under the guidance of our expert educators. There are still a few spots available for budding young naturalists grades K-5 for our day camps at Gilsland Farm and Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden.

Lastly, summer means that Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center is open! We began opening on weekends Memorial Day weekend and will be open seven days a week starting June 11. Before we opened for the season, I had the pleasure of an afternoon of kayaking on the marsh. It really is a special place. I hope you’ll have a chance to visit Scarborough Marsh or one of the other Maine Audubon centers or sanctuaries this summer.

Hope you are enjoying Maine’s all too brief summer!

-Ole

Ole Amundsen became Executive Director of Maine Audubon in March 2016. He brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, with a focus on landscape scale conservation, environmental education and finance. Amundsen most recently served as program manager for the national land trust, The Conservation Fund.

MEDIA RELEASE: Celebrate the Start of Summer at Maine Audubon’s Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

FALMOUTH – On Wednesday, June 15, Maine Audubon will host their annual Peony Bloom & Ice Cream social, a celebration of the organization’s Peony Circle of Friends, dedicated members, donors and volunteers who have supported Maine Audubon with their time, energy and contributions for over twenty years.

“This is our chance to honor a special group of supporters, who have shown deep commitment to stewardship, conservation and environmental education through their long term engagement with Maine Audubon,” said Executive Director Ole Amundsen, III.

The event, which will be held at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, is free for members, $7 for nonmembers.  Attendees will have the chance to stroll through the formal peony garden while enjoying homemade ice cream donated by Toots Ice Cream and live music from the Sea Slugs. There will also be children’s crafts, face painting and more!

To learn more, please visit http://maineaudubon.org/peonyday2016

The Gilsland Farm peony garden is what remains of the more than four acres of peonies of over 400 varieties once planted by David Edward Moulton (1871-1951), a prominent attorney and founder of the Portland Water District who acquired the property that was to become Gilsland Farm in 1911.

Dozens of peony blooms also grow wild across the property at Gilsland Farm, sprinkling the woods and meadows with blossoms of creamy white, lemon yellow, peppermint-swirl pinks and burgundy reds. Some of the “wild” peonies are older than the trees around them, having survived for more than 50 and 60 years.

“The Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social is a wonderful opportunity for the Maine Audubon community to come together after a long winter and kick off a summer of enjoying the woods, salt marsh and meadows of our 65-acre sanctuary at Gilsland farm,” said Amundsen.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information. Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

MEDIA RELEASE: Citizen Scientists Needed to Help Watch for Wildlife on the Road

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

May 24, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

Wood turtle. Photo by Tom Hodgman

FALMOUTH – Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers to survey roads in Maine for signs of animal road crossings. Now that the weather has warmed up, many animals are likely to be spotted on or near Maine roads as they move to find food and water, breed or disperse to new areas. Information collected by volunteers about where different animals attempt to cross roads and where collisions are frequent can reduce wildlife road-kill and improve safety for drivers.

Roadside observations can be submitted to Maine Audubon’s Wildlife Road Watch, a web-based map and database designed to record citizen scientists’ observations of road-side and road-killed wildlife. Volunteers should visit maineaudubon.org/wildlife-road-watch to register and start submitting observations.

Information that volunteers contribute to Wildlife Road Watch is used by biologists with Maine Audubon, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the Maine Department of Transportation to help inform policy, management and financial investment decisions that will reduce habitat fragmentation and road risks to wildlife and people.

As habitats change due to a changing climate, wildlife movement becomes an important adaptation strategy and even more crucial to species survival.  Plus, roads can have a big impact on endangered species by impeding movement and separating populations, as well as killing individuals from collisions. Unless changes are made, Maine Audubon biologists report that Blanding’s turtles and spotted turtles are at risk of becoming extinct in Maine due to road mortality.

“The observations contributed by Wildlife Road Watch volunteers provide a critical first step in identifying ways to reduce road-kill and increase safety for people and wildlife,” said Barbara Charry, Conservation Biologist/GIS Manager for Maine Audubon.

Since the inception of the Wildlife Road Watch program in 2010, over 460 volunteers have reported over 4,800 wildlife observations of 130 different wildlife species, including reports of rare and endangered species. To view an interactive map and report of the results of four years of citizen scientist observations visit maineaudubon.or/wildlife-road-watch.

To learn more about Wildlife Road Watch, contact Barbara Charry at Maine Audubon at (207) 781-2330 x225 or [email protected]

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information. Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon names Jeremy Cluchey as Director of Communications & Marketing

Posted on: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

May 18, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

jeremy-clucheyToday Maine Audubon announced that Jeremy Cluchey will be joining the team as Director of Communications & Marketing. A Maine native, Cluchey brings over a decade of strategic communications and management experience spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Most recently as Director of Creative Design at Bates College, Cluchey oversaw the school’s award-winning digital and print marketing efforts and directed hundreds of communications projects, including a critically acclaimed responsive redesign of the college website. He also spearheaded an overhaul of the student communication system, led the design of the college’s first online platform for sharing admission decisions with applicants, and drove new uses of social media to broaden the school’s reach and influence.

Prior to Bates, Cluchey served as Digital Communications Manager at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, DC. There he tackled a communications challenge familiar to Maine Audubon: helping a respected, evidence-based organization get its messages heard in a changing communications landscape. To this end, Cluchey established the agency’s presence on social media, instituted the collection and use of analytics and usability testing, and launched a podcast and live video chat series, producing over 140 episodes.

Executive Director Ole Amundsen welcomed Cluchey to Maine Audubon. “I am thrilled that Jeremy will be joining us in this critical role, at this important moment,” he said. “Jeremy’s mix of experience with marketing, strategy, policy, and management will be a great fit for Maine Audubon, and just what we need to take our communications to the next level.”

“I could not be happier about joining this team,” Cluchey said. “Building on the strong Maine Audubon brand and supporting the organization’s advocacy, conservation, and education efforts with strategic communications is a special opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.” Cluchey serves on the Community Advisory Board of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) and is active in his community of Bowdoinham, where he enjoys exploring the woods and rivers with his wife and two children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.

Conferences and Collaborative Ventures

Posted on: Monday, May 9th, 2016

Maine Audubon Chapter Congress

April marks spring, a time for large migrations of birds and a time of change for plants. But spring is also is a key time for bringing people together for conferences and collaborative ventures.

In early April I spoke at Colby College at a wonderful conference on Community, Culture and Conservation. Over the years, the Environmental Studies Program at Colby has significantly grown and this conference demonstrated real interdisciplinary leadership. There were lots of students attending a wide range of workshops and lectures so the interest level was high.

Twice a year Maine Audubon convenes a meeting of our affiliated chapters, some of which are separate nonprofits with their own programs and interests. The event, that we call a Chapter Congress, reflects the spirit of independence and collective action among all the participants. In listening to the different representatives from groups across the state, I was struck by the issues and challenges we all had in common, including how to remain relevant in the digital age and how to encourage young people to become involved in making a difference.

I rounded out April by presenting at the Maine Land Trust Network Conference —  an inspiring gathering! While there are more Maine land trusts (around 80) than Audubon Chapters, nevertheless, many of the issues were again the same. According the land trust census in Maine completed in 2015, on average, forty percent of board members are age 65 or older, a significant increase from the last census in 2010 when, on average, only 16 percent of boardmembers were 65 or older.

Now, these gatherings took place no more than three weeks apart. One was very optimistic about the involvement of young people while the others raised concerns over how to attract young people. I think this is where a statewide organization like Maine Audubon can help. We can see the gaps in social networks, geographic networks and we can respond to demographic trends, scaling up to state level or working with partners at a local level.

I’m looking forward to working with you on ways we can engage people of all ages in the important work of conservation.

-Ole

Ole Amundsen became Executive Director of Maine Audubon in March 2016. He brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, with a focus on landscape scale conservation, environmental education and finance. Amundsen most recently served as program manager for the national land trust, The Conservation Fund.

Predicting Hummingbird Arrivals

Posted on: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Spring is coming and many of our most loved birds will be here any day! Thanks to long running citizen science projects we can pretty accurately predict when certain species are going to arrive. One migrant that a lot of people are already talking about and eagerly awaiting is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Let’s take a look at some resources available to predict their arrival.

 

gorget (1)

Hummingbirds.net
Possibly the best known site for tracking hummingbird migrations is hummingbirds.net. The owner posts little dots on a map based on reports that are submitted. The dots are labelled with a date and color based on the week. You can see the most recent updates at this link but here is a snapshot from 11 April 2016 showing where Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been reported:

hummingbirds.net (1)

eBird.org
Compare the map above to this map from eBird.org (also a snapshot from 11 April 2016). You can also see the most recent map from eBird at this link.

eBird RTHU (1)

Discussion
It is pretty clear that there are some discrepancies with these two maps, most notably that the hummingbirds.net map shows our Ruby-throated Hummingbird significantly further north than eBird.org.

My problem with hummingbirds.net is the lack of credibility; anyone can submit a sighting with very little review. From their site: “The map is artwork produced by hand; the dots are placed by eyeball after looking up each report in Google Maps. Reports are mapped if they illustrate migration progress, and fit without reducing legibility.” So you have reports that are going unreviewed (seriously, I think anyone could submit a report from Maine and it would be plotted because it seems to fit with the “progress”) and there is a whole issue with observer bias from the site owner plotting the location, rather than the person who actually observed the bird.

This is assuming the reported bird was even a hummingbird. Quick glimpses of kinglets hover-feeding or even large insects can easily be mistaken for hummingbirds. I do think that hummingbirds.net provides an interesting illustration of the first wave of migrants but I always struggle with the lack of credability.

On the other hand, all reports to eBird.org (for Maine) that are submitted before May 1st require review from one of four state-reviewers. Here is a great article on the eBird data review process. There are currently about 15 records for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds before May 1st in Maine, for all years. From eBird, here is a frequency chart showing the timing of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s arrival in Maine:

frequency (1)

The first week of May
Though there are a few records in April, it is primarily in the first week of May that we should expect Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to return. So you’ve still got time to get your hummingbird feeder cleaned and hung (or your native plants sown) before these gems return.

-DougDoug Hitchcox Head Shot - please credit  M. Kathleen Kelly (1)

Meet Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist A Maine native, Doug grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job.” In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv and serves as York County Audubon board member and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon Seeks Anglers for Brook Trout Survey Project

Posted on: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

April 12, 2016

Contact: Leslie Taylor, Media Manager
[email protected]
207-781-2330 x276
mobile: 347-225-1510

troutlogos

Falmouth – Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote Maine ponds and coastal streams for brook trout this fishing season. Information gathered by volunteers will be used to identify populations of previously undocumented wild brook trout across the state.

Brook trout require clean, cold water, extensive inter-connected stream networks and a lack of competing species to survive and thrive.Wild brook trout have significantly declined throughout their native range due to development, land use practices, the introduction of competing fish species and angler exploitation.

Although Maine still has the most extensive distribution and abundance of brook trout remaining in the United States, the quality and abundance of some of Maine’s brook trout populations have declined in recent years. In order to protect the last stronghold in the United States of these iconic fish, understanding the extent of the species’ current range is crucial.

“Identifying the remote ponds and coastal streams with wild brook trout will greatly assist MDIFW in planning our conservation and management strategies over the next several decades,” noted Merry Gallagher, MDIFW Fisheries Research Biologist.

Volunteer anglers are needed to survey hundreds of ponds in northern Maine and coastal streams ranging from Kittery to Lubec. Project partners will provide maps, data sheets and instructions on how to survey ponds and streams. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2016. The prime time for coastal stream surveys is mid-April through June, while pond fishing can be productive in both the spring and fall.

“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings and have a sense of adventure,” said Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited.

This year marks the sixth year of the Remote Pond Survey. To date, volunteers have surveyed 380 remote Maine ponds for which no data were previously available, and 166 of those ponds were recommended to MDIFW for further surveys after volunteers caught or observed brook trout in them. Fisheries biologists subsequently confirmed wild brook trout in 57 new ponds. As a result of this volunteer-driven survey effort, Maine has added 21 new ponds to the list of State Heritage Fish Waters, which affords certain protections to help maintain healthy, viable populations of wild brook trout. More are likely to be listed in the future.

The Coastal Stream Survey was initiatedin 2014 to collect baseline data about which coastal streams sustain wild brook trout populations. Wild brook trout that live in coastal streams may migrate between fresh and saltwater, a life history strategy called diadromy. In theory, any coastal stream with access to the ocean where wild brook trout are present has the potential to harbor a population of these sea-run brook trout, or “salters”. To date, volunteers have surveyed 76 coastal streams and confirmed the presence of wild brook trout in over half of those streams.

“The success of this project is entirely dependent on volunteer participation,” noted Emily Bastian, Trout Project Coordinator at Maine Audubon. “This is an exciting opportunity for people who care about conservation and love to fish to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of wild brook trout, a significant and unique ecological, economic and cultural resource for Maine.”

To sign up to volunteer, please contact Emily Bastian at (207) 781-2330 x207 or [email protected].  For more information about the Brook Trout Survey Project, please visit maineaudubon.org/brooktrout.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.

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