Originally published in Seasonal Guide, April 12, 2012
For the birds
Enjoying the wildlife of spring
by Jessica Brophy
It’s springtime. The trees are budding, flowers are pushing their way to the surface, and the birds are singing. If a worn guidebook and a pair of binoculars are near the window, you likely don’t need to be told the excitement that spring brings for birders.
“Starting in early May, you see all the migrant birds coming up from Central and South America with their colorful spring feathers,” said Leslie Clapp, president of the Downeast Audubon Society. Clapp has been birding “seriously” since 1999, when she took a trip to Africa.
Every year is different, said Clapp, and spring is a great time for beginning birders. Learning about birdsongs and migration patterns is a good introduction. The only tools a beginning birder needs are a pair of binoculars and a guidebook to identify birds. “Now there are apps for phones with birdsongs,” said Clapp.
Birdwatching with a friend is a great way to spend time outdoors, get exercise and “see spring in all its glory,” said Clapp. Joining a birdwalk is also a good introduction to birdwatching. Downeast Audubon hosts birdwalks, and has a schedule of events on its Web site, downeastaudubon.org.
The popularity of birdwatching is “growing in leaps and bounds,” said Clapp.
Clapp said Blue Hill Mountain is one of the best spots to birdwatch. “You have field, forest, all sorts of different habitats,” she said. Other key spots are Caterpillar Hill in Sedgwick and Scott’s Landing in Deer Isle.
“Every place has it’s own specialty,” said Clapp, “whether it’s warblers, wading birds or raptors.”