Aroostook State Park Celebrates Annual Birding Festival on Saturday [UPDATE]
Aroostook State Park was supposed to host its 5th annual Birding Festival on Saturday, June 8 - there has been a change.
UPDATE: This event has been cancelled due to the weekend weather forecast. The Aroostook State Park has not rescheduled this event.
This year's festival will feature guided bird walks, netting and banding demonstrations, hands-on use of spotting scopes and optics, as well as a talk on Maine's wild turkeys and a presentation with live owls.
Park Manager Scott Thompson called it a great family event. "It's for anyone who enjoys nature and being outdoors and wants to expand their knowledge of birding," said Thompson. "There will be opportunities for beginners to learn some birding basics, and also for experienced birders who want to add to their life lists."
Early risers can catch the first guided bird walk of the day at 6:00 a.m., followed by 7:30 and 9:00 walks with members of Aroostook Birders bird watching club along Echo Lake and through the park’s wooded trails. Typically, around 40 different birds have been recorded throughout the day at past festivals.
According to Thompson, as many as 100 different species of birds such as woodpeckers, songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl inhabit or pass through Aroostook State Park in a given year. Once again this year, a pair of bald eagles has taken up residence at the park.
Beginning at 8 a.m., Dr. Jason Johnston, Wildlife Ecology Professor at the University of Maine at Presque Isle will have mist nets set up and offer ongoing demonstrations on how researchers capture and band songbirds.
At 9:30 a.m., the topic is "About Wild Turkeys," a talk by Regional Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife describing the biology of these amazing birds and their presence in northern Maine.
At 11 a.m., educators from Maine's Chewonki Foundation will bring "Owls of Maine" to the festival — an opportunity for kids and others to handle real wings, skulls, feathers and feet, and to have a close-up view of a number of different live owls. This special presentation is sponsored by Aroostook Birders.
A nominal fee is charged for entrance to the park: $2 for adults, $1 for children ages 5-11, senior citizens and children under 5 get in free. Those who attend are eligible to win various door prizes. Participants are advised to dress appropriately and bring personal birding equipment such as binoculars, books, as well as insect repellent. Several pairs of binoculars will be available for use.
The festival wraps up at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.
The Aroostook State Park Birding Festival is a rain or shine event. Contact the park office at 768-8341 for further information.