News & Notes: Conservation Issues


Red-bellied Woodpeckers on the Rise in Maine

Posted on: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

I love getting calls from people when they have rare birds in their yard. There is nothing more exciting than spotting something unusual or seeing something for the first time. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is one species we have received a lot of calls about this winter – but they are not as rare as some may think.

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Doug Hitchcox)

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Doug Hitchcox)

So what has changed?

The Short Answer:

Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been going through a steady range expansion for a few decades. It was during 2004-2005 that these birds irrupted into Maine in larger numbers than had been seen before and have since become resident breeders.

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker (Doug Hitchcox)

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker (Doug Hitchcox)

Here is a map (from eBird.org) of the southern half of Maine that shows all the locations Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been reported since 2010:

eBird_range

Red-bellied Woodpecker sightings in Southern Maine (click on image for larger view)

The Long Answer:

To elaborate on the answer above: Yes, Red-bellied Woodpeckers are expanding in Maine, and here is some proof:

My favorite resource for looking at a bird’s distributions is eBird.org. So I went there and using their “Explore Data” feature that generates line graphs of the frequency Red-bellied Woodpeckers were being reported. The frequency is the percentage of all checklists being submitted that include the species in question. The result, below, which looks fairly messy, is very telling: notice how from 2010-2014 (as the line color gets darker) the frequency steadily rises. An especially dramatic change is noted when you see that the highest frequency in 2010 was barely over 4%, while the peak in 2014 was at 14%.

RBWO_frequency

Click on image for larger view

Another great resource for looking at how species’ populations have changed is Christmas Bird Count data. The chart below shows the number of individual Red-bellied Woodpeckers reported on Maine Christmas Bird Counts since 1990. The 2004-2005 influx is very noticeable here. The most interesting thing to me is the 4-year spikes that are occurring. 2005, 2009 and 2013 all indicate a big spike in the numbers reported; which was echoed by reports in New Hampshire (shown in light blue for comparison). The only reason I have seen noted for these Red-bellied Woodpecker “boom years”  is from an abundance of cicadas – but those don’t have 4 year cycles…

RBWO_CBC

Click on image for larger view

More to think about:

I’d love to hear from our readers if anyone has an explanation for these apparent four-year spikes. It could be connected to temperatures and observer effort, but maybe a grad student or another naturalist with more time could look into this.

What is really interesting about this expansion is that the likely explanation is climate change. A study published in 2014 examined museum specimens from across the Red-bellied Woodpecker’s range, prior to their expansion (which began in the 1950s). They found the birds classically followed Bergmann’s Rule: the birds at more northern latitudes (where it is colder) were larger and had greater mass than birds further south. Mass is an important factor in surviving cold climates. The study then looked at the woodpeckers’ mass since they expanded north and found birds with smaller mass at more northern latitudes. The reason birds with lesser mass can occur further north would be from an increase in temperatures.

I hope this answers everyone questions about Red-bellied Woodpeckers in Maine!

Resources:

  • Kirchman, J., & Schneider, K. (2014). Range expansion and the breakdown of Bergmann’s Rule in Red-Bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 126 (2), 236-248.
  • National Audubon Society (2015). The Christmas Bird Count Historical Results [Online]. Available http://christmasbirdcount.org [12 January 2015]

-Doug

Doug 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.

 

Submit your question for Doug:

Field Trip Report: Gyrfalcon Chase!

Posted on: Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Our 2015 field trips are off to a great start! Last Saturday we held our second annual January is for FOYS (First of the Year’s Birds) Trip that tallied 51 species. And this morning we met to bird Back Cove in Portland.

Unfortunately, the early morning temps were around 14 degrees F and expected to drop. Plus the wind howling across the cove made the ‘feels like’ temperature less than desirable for birding. BUT, as I waited for birders to show up, a GYRFALCON was reported from Kennebunk. Everyone agreed there was only one thing to do: pile in a car and go to Kennebunk!

Gyrfalcon 1 (Shiloh Shulte)

Photo by Shiloh Shulte

Gyrfalcons are the largest falcons in the world and live in the circumpolar arctic. You can explore their range map here and notice that some winters they do wander southward, but seldom into the lower 48 states. They were apparently more regular as Maine visitors in the 1970s and 80s, but are now so uncommon that the Maine Birds Records Committee decided to relist them as a review species and keep track of recent records.

Gyrfalcon 2 (Shiloh Shulte)

Photo by Shiloh Shulte

When we pulled up to Park Street in Kennebunk (where the Gyrfalcon had been feeding on a Herring Gull), all we saw was a pile of feathers. A few birders had gathered and said the one thing every birder hates: “You should have been here 5 minutes ago.” By a stroke of luck, the Gyrfalcon was relocated in a spruce tree across the road and gave us great views, especially through our scope, for around 30 minutes.

Gyrfalcon 1 (Shiloh Shulte)

Photo by Doug Hitchcox

We eventually lost track of the bird while trying to get a better angle on it. It was a life bird for everyone in the group, meaning a new species of bird we had not seen before. We all laughed at the facts: 1) We thought we’d be birding Back Cove; 2) We certainly didn’t think we’d see a Gyrfalcon today; 3) We never thought our first Gyrfalcon would be perched in a spruce; and 4) certainly not in a residential area.

If the bird is relocated, updates are likely to be posted on the:

Upcoming Field Trips

-Doug

Doug 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.

 

Submit your question for Doug:

Resolutions for Wildlife

Posted on: Friday, January 9th, 2015

otter-portraitWith a new year upon us, it’s time to refocus and reinvigorate our commitment to wildlife conservation. In 2015, Maine Audubon will do everything in its power to make Maine wildlife more resistant and more resilient to climate change. That means we’re going to be more aggressive than ever when it comes to protecting intact habitat, reconnecting fragmented habitat and restoring degraded habitat. Science tells us healthy habitat is key – it is vital that this is our focus.

Here are a few of our resolutions for 2015:

1. We can’t ignore the fact that wildlife doesn’t vote and doesn’t have its own voice. We know that only people can speak for wildlife. Accordingly, as we develop a new strategic plan, we will seek to build the strongest organization we can. Our mission may be wildlife conservation, but at the end of the day, we’re only as good as our people are.

2. We’re going to encourage our members and supporters to check out what we’re doing on social media to highlight each of the 50 Maine bird species that is being negatively affected by climate change. When you realize how long (millions of years) and how far (often thousands of migratory miles each year) these birds have come, it is unsettling to realize what our human actions are doing to them.

3. We’re going  to engage more people in wildlife conservation, starting with the amazing variety of programs we have this winter, from Birding Basics (people who want to start birding), to Nature Yoga for Families to our new Speaker Series. We want people of all ages, from preschoolers to seniors, to join us in our mission.

4. Knowing how important it is to “walk the walk,” we going to keep on reducing our own carbon impact, and in that connection, we hope you take notice of our new solar panels at Gilsland Farm and will choose to support our effort to transition to green energy.

We hope you will join us in our resolutions for wildlife in 2015 – we can’t to do this critical work without you!

- Charles

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin started at Maine Audubon in 2014. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization.Gauvin most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. He collaborated with Carnegie scholars worldwide to develop program strategies and support in the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia.

Islandport Press and Maine Audubon Announce New Partnership

Posted on: Monday, January 5th, 2015

The Snowy Owl_Cover_hr

MEDIA RELEASE                                                 

For Immediate Release

January 5, 2015

Contacts:

Islandport Press
Dean Lunt, Publisher
info@islandportpress.com
(207) 846-3344

Maine Audubon
Michelle Smith, Communications Manager
media@maineaudubon.org
(207) 838-0511

Islandport Press and Maine Audubon Announce New Partnership
Four-book children’s series to feature Maine wildlife stories

A Snowy Owl Story will be released at Maine Audubon’s Winter Carnival on February 14, 2015. Learn more>>

Yarmouth, Maine – Islandport Press is partnering with Maine Audubon to produce and distribute a new children’s board book that will tell the story of a displaced Snowy Owl. The book, slated for release in February, 2015, is expected to be the first in a new series called “Wildlife on the Move.” The book will be launched at Maine Audubon’s annual Winter Carnival celebration on February 14 at their Gilsland Farm headquarters in Falmouth.

The book, A Snowy Owl Story, is written by children’s book author and editor, Melissa Kim, and illustrated by Jada Fitch. The goal of the “Wildlife on the Move” series is to bring well-written, engaging stories about wildlife migration, conservation and respectful human interaction with nature to a Pre-K through second grade audience. Islandport is working with naturalists at Maine Audubon to produce a scientifically accurate, narrative nonfiction story that is also gorgeously illustrated and designed to appeal to a young audience.

“Most books for the pre-K audience are very basic natural history books that simply recite facts about animals,” says author Melissa Kim. “These books tell stories about specific wildlife, how and why they move and what role people can play in their lives. I’ve not seen board books like this before and am honored to be part of this unique partnership to help introduce young people to important wildlife conservation concepts.”

A Snowy Owl Story will be sold through all typical retail channels (as well as at Maine Audubon’s Nature Stores) and Maine Audubon will use the book as a cornerstone of its education efforts for its preschool outreach and school collaborations in Maine. Ten percent of earnings from book sales will be used to support Maine Audubon educational outreach programs that benefit underserved preschools statewide.

“We are thrilled to partner with Islandport Press for this exciting project,” noted Eric Topper, Education Director at Maine Audubon. “We know that understanding and appreciating nature starts with teaching young people to revere and respect the wildlife and habitat immediately around them. We will be able to use these books to help teachers introduce ecological and science-based content while simultaneously encouraging values related to wildlife conservation.”

Islandport Press and Maine Audubon are discussing future books in the series and could release additional titles as early as Fall 2015.

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About Jada Fitch
Jada Fitch is a freelance illustrator from Portland, Maine. She holds a BFA from Maine College of Art and is the author and illustrator of Tea with Hazel.

About Melissa Kim
Melissa Kim, the author of six children’s books, one adult guidebook, and countless articles for children’s magazines, is a former editor of Habitat, the magazine of Maine Audubon, and is currently the children’s book editor at Islandport Press.

About Islandport Press
Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information about the company, visitwww.islandportpress.com, or email info@islandportpress.com.

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.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information

The Christmas Bird Count: Hurray for Citizen Science!

Posted on: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

lopez-birders

One of the best things about my new job at Maine Audubon is that it has once again brought me close to people who are citizen-scientists.  I first witnessed the power of citizen science 25 years ago, when I became CEO of Trout Unlimited. At that time, hundreds of volunteers were gathering data on stream acidification in the southeastern United States, and their work was helping federal and state agencies do a better job of limiting emissions of the air pollutants that caused acid rain. In the decades that followed, I saw a number of other examples of citizens contributing the information needed for well-informed conservation decision-making.

I’m glad to be back in the company of citizens who practice science in the service of conservation.  From December 14 to January 5, Maine Audubon volunteers will join citizen-scientists nationwide for the 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count. Maine Audubon’s members (over 2,000 contribute to citizen science each year!) are the backbone of a vital effort to track the status and trends of birds in the huge swath of habitat that is Maine. Without their work, we’d be far less informed about the effects of climate change on the 50 Maine bird species that the recent National Audubon report on North American birds and climate change tells us are at risk. Maine Audubon could not possibly hire enough professionals to fill this important data gap.

The Christmas Bird Count is citizen science at its best. Not only are its practitioners gathering information that is critical to conservation; they are also demonstrating the passion for wildlife that is the essential ingredient—the special sauce—that translates science into policy. So go forth, and let the counting begin!

- Charles

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, the Maine section of the International Appalachian Trail was named after Dick Anderson, former executive director of Maine Audubon. Watch the segment on Bill Green’s Maine to learn more about this great conservation leader in Maine.

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin started at Maine Audubon in 2014. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization.Gauvin most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. He collaborated with Carnegie scholars worldwide to develop program strategies and support in the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia.

Gifts for the Naturalist on your Holiday Shopping List!

Posted on: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

It’s December and that means one thing: the annual Christmas Bird Count! Well, maybe to birders that’s what it means, but for everyone else, it is a time for celebrating the holidays. Here are some gift ideas for the budding naturalist and nature lover in your life:

 1) SibleySibley Birds, Second Edition

The Sibley Guide to Birds has long been my favorite field guide. David Allen Sibley’s paintings are amazingly lifelike and represent almost all identifiable forms (male, female, juvenile, subspecies, in flight, etc) for each species. The second edition that came out earlier this year builds on that masterpiece.

 

2) HarperCharley Harper Calendars

Harper’s artwork approaches the natural world with a minimalistic and whimsical view. You don’t even need to be a naturalist to appreciate his art and what better a gift than a calendar to allow someone to appreciate his art all year long!

 

 

3) Feeders (1)Bird Feeders

Give the gift of birds! You can help connect someone with birds by bringing them (and other wildlife) to their front yard. There are lots of different feeders on the market with different purposes so think about who you are giving one to and where they live. Personally, I’d recommend the Squirrel Buster Plus – we just added one to our set up at Gilsland Farm and haven’t had a squirrel on it yet!

4) Singing BirdsAudubon Singing Birds

These singing toys are great for all ages and so many species are available. Who wouldn’t want an adorable Piping Plover chick for the holidays?

 

 

 

5) Look UpLook Up! Birdwatching in Your Own Backyard

This Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor winner is a great book to introduce young people to birding. Recommended for ages 8-12, this book provides an ‘in’ for kids to get hooked on nature at an age where it is easy to be distracted from it. It reads like a ‘how to’ but takes a very funny and entertaining approach to getting started.

 

 

Come visit us to see these products and more at our Nature Stores in Falmouth and Holden.

-Doug

Doug 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.

 

Submit your question for Doug:

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon Expresses Concern over Second Lynx Killing

Posted on: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

December 10, 2014

Contact: Michelle Smith, Communications & Marketing Manager
msmith@maineaudubon.org
(207) 781-2330 x209
Mobile: (207) 838-0511

Maine Audubon Expresses Concern over Second Lynx Killing
The wildlife conservation group praises Maine DIFW for taking steps to prevent additional deaths 

Lynx

The Canada lynx is a federally threatened species.

Falmouth – Maine Audubon, the state’s largest wildlife conservation organization, has expressed concern over the second killing this year of the federally threatened Canada lynx. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently approved an incidental take permit (ITP) for Canada lynx, which allows up to three lynx to be killed in traps over the 15-year course of the permit.

“The fact that two lynx have already been killed this year is very troubling,” noted Jenn Burns Gray, Maine Audubon’s staff attorney and advocate. “Given the lack of population data on Canada lynx in Maine and the impacts of climate change, we are disappointed that USFWS issued the ITP in the first place. The two fatalities demonstrate that the ITP wasn’t strong enough. USFWS should have taken a more precautionary approach, one that allows trapping to continue with more rigorous standards ensuring minimal impact on lynx.”

This second killing has led the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) to implement an emergency trapping rule, which bans the use of most lethal traps and above-ground foot hold traps throughout northern Maine. “We are very pleased that DIFW has taken swift action to ban lethal and foot hold traps that are known to incidentally capture and harm lynx,” noted Charles Gauvin, Executive Director at Maine Audubon. “The Department is working quickly to help prevent further deaths of this threatened species.”

The two recent lynx killings underscore the need to strengthen the ITP’s protections. One of the major issues with the ITP is that it relies on self-reporting of captured lynx from trappers. DIFW should help trappers by playing a more active role in monitoring traps. One approach would be to require third-party checks on all trap lines where lynx could be caught.

Canada Lynx are protected in Maine under the federal Endangered Species Act because of their small population size. Lynx are top predators that require large patches of unfragmented boreal forest to feed, rest and raise their young. They thrive in cold, snowy conditions, where their large paws and thick fur help them endure the long winter months chasing their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare.

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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. For everyone.

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

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Audubon to Participate in 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count

Posted on: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Christmas Bird CountMEDIA RELEASE 

For Immediate Release

December 9, 2014

Contact: Michelle Smith, Communications & Marketing Manager
msmith@maineaudubon.org
(207) 781-2330 x209
Mobile: (207) 838-0511

 Maine Audubon to Participate in 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count
Annual bird survey helps to shape national conservation policy

Falmouth – Maine Audubon invites experienced volunteers across the state to participate in the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015, hundreds of participants in Maine (and thousands across the Western Hemisphere) will brave inclement weather to help scientists assess and guide significant conservation efforts at a scale they could not accomplish alone. Maine Audubon will hold the CBC in the greater Portland area on Sunday, December 14; in the Orono-Old Town area on Saturday, December 20; and in the Bangor-Bucksport area on January 3, 2015.

Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count produces the most comprehensive data set depicting the fluctuation, range and movement of bird populations across the continent. Scientists rely on this trend data to better understand how birds and the environment are faring and what needs to be done to protect them. The Maine bird count contributes to this vast volunteer network and continues a holiday tradition that stretches back over 100 years.

“The Audubon Christmas Bird Count harnesses volunteer power to gather knowledge that shapes conservation policy across the country,” noted Maine Audubon’s Doug Hitchcox, staff naturalist and coordinator of the Maine Christmas Bird Count. “Christmas Bird Count data is becoming increasingly important not only in documenting current climate change but in predicting the future effects of climate change on Maine and North American bird populations. If we know what to expect, we can start taking action now to do something about it.”

Volunteer contributions to the CBC is what enabled National Audubon scientists to predict how climate change will alter the geographical ranges of North American bird species in a recent groundbreaking study. Released this past fall, the study found that 314 North American bird species (including 50 in Maine) are at risk because of climate change, which means they could potentially lose more than 50% of their range by 2080.

Because of the CBC, we also know that Maine is seeing more bird species in the winter that were traditionally found further south. Going back nearly forty years, it was exceptional to see a Carolina Wren or Red-bellied Woodpecker in Maine – now we see them regularly as far north as Rockland. Eastern Bluebirds have long been a breeding bird in Maine, but it was only in 1992 that they were first observed here during a Christmas Count. Since then, they have been seen almost annually with each year usually exceeding the prior. One Eastern Bluebird was spotted in 1992; last year, there were 336 bluebirds reported during the Christmas Count in Maine.

“Even if you can’t participate in this year’s count, you can help by filling your backyard feeders,” said Hitchcox. “This will help counters observe more species.” For more information, or to participate in year’s Christmas Bird Count, please contact Doug Hitchcox at dhitchcox@maineaudubon.org or call (207) 781-2330 x237.

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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. For everyone.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Our Naturalist Answers Your Questions

Posted on: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

One of the goals of this blog is to answer your questions. Below are a few that I received over the past month. I hope these are informative for everyone and spark new inquiries!

The Naturalist Answers Your Questions:

downloadQuestion: Kathryn sent in a question I often receive  “I have robins and juncos eating something from my dirt driveway (had to be plowed because of the snowstorm) – what are they eating?

Answer: They are most likely eating the dirt itself! Many bird species will actually eat dirt (and grit) and store it in their gizzard (an organ in their digestive tract) to help them grind up food.

 

 

imagesQuestion: Following our Turkey Fun Facts post, Tom wondered: “What do turkeys feed on during the winter? Do they feed on the same things as a partridge?”

Answer: A turkey’s diet in winter is almost entirely made up of mast (acorns and nuts) that they uncover by scratching at the forest floor. They probably supplement with fruit/berries they can find, but this is not a necessity.

 

download (1)Question: Sandra asked this great question as a follow up to our November Sparrows post:  Hi Doug! Thank you for the description with the distinctive markings of each Sparrow. The sparrow is actually an important bird to me so I would love to attract them – what is the best kind of bird feed to use in my feeder?

Answer: Spreading seed on the ground is a great way to attract sparrows – they are more at home scratching around on the ground than perching on feeders. I would recommend a mixed seed, but sparrows seem to favor safflower and especially white millet.

 

Question: With rare birds around like the Crested Caracara, Robert asked: “How does a person subscribe to the various Maine rare bird alerts?

Photo; Doug Hitchcox, ME Audubon

Photo: Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon

Answer: There are a few options for Rare Bird Alerts in Maine:

1) Maine-birds Listserv (Google Group)  This list is not limited to rare bird sightings, but this is often where they are first reported and where you will find the most information.

2) There are several “digests” that offer alternate views of Maine birds:

Sala.com: The Birding Lists Digest

American Birding Assocation: Maine Bird News by Date

3) eBird Alerts Many Maine birders are now using eBird so anything rare (rare for Maine or rare for the season) that is reported to eBird will show up here. This is a great resource, as it also has direct links to maps.

-Doug

Doug 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.

 

Submit your question for Doug:

A Day of Giving for Wildlife

Posted on: Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Giving Tuesday
Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day dedicated to giving back to your local community. Playing on the consumer-driven “Black Friday” and “Cyber-Monday” marketing tactics, nonprofit organizations seized the concept to remind people that the holiday season is not just a time to buy gifts, but a time to give to local organizations working on issues they care about.

Here at Maine Audubon, 95% of the donations we receive come from individuals. We rely on the generosity of our members, supporters, summer visitors and others who care about helping Maine wildlife surmount the many obstacles they face: development, sprawl, pollution and most importantly, climate change.

And though Maine Audubon’s mission is wildlife conservation, the magic of Maine Audubon is found in its people – people who make financial donations and people who volunteer their time. It’s when people unite, donate and commit to wildlife conservation that change starts to happen.

Maine Audubon is fortunate to have a mission and programs that engage a broad array of people at all stages of their lives. Whether you’re young or old or somewhere in-between, and whether you’re a bird watcher, an angler, a hunter, or just someone who respects nature for what it is, there’s something here for you. If you don’t know us, I encourage you to visit us at Gilsland Farm or one of our other locations, explore our website and sign up for email updates. I think you’ll like what you see. And please remember – Maine Audubon cannot accomplish its mission without your generosity

Thank you considering a donation today on this special day of giving.

- Charles

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin, Executive Director

Charles Gauvin started at Maine Audubon in 2014. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization.Gauvin most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. He collaborated with Carnegie scholars worldwide to develop program strategies and support in the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia.