Saturday, May 15, 2010

Down East Hosts Seventh Annual Birding Festival This US Memorial Day Weekend

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The Down East Spring Birding Festival, in Maine’s Cobscook Bay area, is accepting registrations for its seventh event on May 28- 31, 2010. Guided bird walks, boat rides, and presentations will be available for advanced, intermediate, and beginning birders alike. Over two hundred different bird species have been spotted during the festival’s first six years. Join us and see how many different birds you find! This year, the festival is being organized and administrated by the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott, Maine.

Participants can sign up for the whole festival for $60, and there are day passes available for $15 or $25 for the family for residents of Washington (ME) and Charlotte (NB) counties. “We are promoting the day passes locally and encouraging area residents to enjoy a day or more of the bird festival,” says program Director Kara McCrimmon. A day pass includes all the hikes and events that take place during a given day. Some events, such as boat trips and meals, have an extra charge associated with them, while events on the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge are free and open to the public, though registration is still required.

The birding festival begins at noon on Friday, May 28, at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (MNWF) in Baring. Kicking off the festival on Friday afternoon will be one of the favorite presentations from past years, Birding by Ear, by Bob Duchesne, who is a trustee and a frequent field trip leader for Maine Audubon, as well as author of Maine Birding Trail.. Immediately following the presentation, Duchesne and others will lead hikes in the refuge to give birders an opportunity to practice identifying birds by their calls.

Saturday, May 29, will offer a fun, full and free day of activities at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, and will be a great chance for families to get out and bird. In addition to a series of morning hikes, which begin at 6:45 am, kids birding activities will start at 10:30 am with Stephanie Allard. The festival is also offering the opportunity to observe live raptors up close during two live raptor presentations, 11:30 am and again at 12:45 pm, with staff and birds from the Chewonki Foundation. Saturday will also feature a presentation on birding optics by Carroll Tiernan of Maine Audubon at 2:30 pm, a presentation on global warming and bird migration at 3:30 by Dr. Herb Wilson of Colby College, guided eagle and osprey viewing with Andy Slater at 5 pm, and evening hikes with MNWR staff beginning at 6 pm. All of these events are free, though pre-registration is recommended.

The Down East Spring Bird Festival continues through Memorial Day weekend and events are spread across the region to allow participants a chance to experience the diversity the area has to offer both in terms of bird species and the varied terrain and topography. The festival is headquartered for the first two days at the MNWR and at the Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Trescott for the second two days. Guided birding walks take place in Eastport, Perry, Baring, Topsfield, Edmunds, Lubec, Cutler, Trescott, and Campobello Island.

For more information, or to register for the Down East Spring Birding Festival, visit the festival website at:, call the CCLC at: (207) 733-2233, or email Early registration is recommended, as some events fill up early.

For those interested in an extended experience, please consider joining us for an associated Exploritas (formerly known as Elderhostel) program that runs concurrent to the Down East Spring Birding Festival (from May 28 – June 2, 2010). Exploritas folks participate in many of the same events as festival goers, and have the benefit of an experience that includes all meals and transportation, the services of a resident guide throughout the program, specially crafted local exploration as well as birding experiences during the program, and the opportunity to meet and spend time with fellow birders from all over the country. Find out about the birding Exploritas program on Campobello by visiting and searching for program number 12733RJ.

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