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Wildlife in Maine’s “Queen City”

Experiencing wilderness is not always synonymous with urban dwelling. But groups of Bangor area residents joined Maine Audubon staff on Saturday, June 15, to experience their city in a new way.

It all started at 9 am with a bird walk along the Penobscot River led by Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox. The Penobscot River is the reason Bangor was known as Maine’s “Queen City.” The river provided access to the North Woods, and the abundance of lumber that was harvested provided Bangor with its wealth and its moniker as the “lumber capital of the world.” Unfortunately, this industry, along with its supporting industries, led to the environmental ruin of the Penobscot and its tributaries. Restoration efforts have brought improvements to the river’s wildlife, which include endangered Atlantic Salmon.
Bangor Bird Walk led by Doug Hitchcox June 15, 2024
Right away, the birding group was entertained by the aerial acrobatics of four Cliff Swallows diving for insects overhead. This species has seen large population declines in the past few decades and was added to Maine’s Threatened and Endangered Species List last year, so it was a treat to see them so well. An adult Peregrine Falcon was perched on the Veterans Remembrance Bridge, a nice reminder of the successes of the Endangered Species Act, as were the four Bald Eagle seen throughout the morning.

Among the lovely group of morning participants, it was a pleasure to be joined by Ron and Lee Davis who each have 60+ years of birding experience. They shared their perspectives on how bird populations have changed in that time. Afterwards the group did some social mingling over cold beverages and lunch, hosted by Geaghan’s Pub and Brewery, located along the riverfront.

Ron and Lee Davis with Doug Hitchcox

In the afternoon, Maine Audubon’s Director of Northern Programs and Operations, David Lamon, and Melissa Gallagher, Education Manager at Fields Pond Audubon Center, led a walk along the Kenduskaeg Stream, a major tributary of the Penobscot. This walk was a partnership with Bangor Beautiful, a local nonprofit founded in 2022 with a mission of making Bangor a more beautiful place to live.

Exploring the Kenduskeag StreamA few dozen participants, ranging in age from ten to seventy-plus, got close-up and hands-on with the plants and animals inhabiting this waterway. Known for its eponymous spring canoe race, the Kenduskaeg is a wildlife oasis in the heart of downtown Bangor. The name Kenduskaeg, meaning “the place where eels gather,” is attributed to the Penobscot Nation people who have inhabited this land for thousands of years. Participants explored the stream finding insect larvae, crustaceans, amphibians, and even an eel! Birds were active in the afternoon as well, and the group had good stream-side views of American Redstart and Black and White Warblers.

Both the morning and afternoon groups were enthusiastic about doing these walks again in the future, so we’ll be scheduling more in the future! Check our Events Calendar and sign up for our e-newsletters to stay informed.