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  1. 1. April-June 2011 Volume 27, Number 4H A B I TATThe Value of Vernal Pools News, events, and activities from Maine Audubon By Christian MilNeilT he sounds of frogs calling out to attract mates is, for many, one of the signature sounds ofspring. Head out into the woods on amild April evening and follow your ears for birds, reptiles, and larger mammals like deer and moose. And yet, as much as they teem with life in the early spring, most ver- nal pools are dry and quiet by the sum- young frogs and salamanders no place to go when the pools dry out for the summer. In 2006, Maine Audubon’s staff biologists and advocates worked with—chances are the sounds will lead you mer months, when the wildlife they’ve state agencies and legislators to craftto the edge of a forest pool, flooded nursed to life ventures out into sur- new rules that designated Maine’s mostby the spring snowmelt, that you don’t rounding woodlands. The temporary important vernal pools and their sur-remember being there last summer. rounding woodland habitat as “Sig-If you stand still, so as not to startle nificant Wildlife Habitat,” or habitatthem into silence, the chirping calls of that deserves protection under Maine’shundreds of frogs ring in your ears. If Natural Resources Protection Act. Theyou’re lucky, you might see a parade of rules have some flexibility, but if a de-salamanders marching down from the veloper wishes to build within “signifi-surrounding forest to breed. cant” vernal pool habitats (which in- The sights and sounds of these clude the woods around vernal pools),spring wetlands—formally known as they are directed to work with the De-“vernal pools”— are one of the great- partment of Environmental Protectionest spectacles of Maine’s natural world. to minimize harm to wildlife.But that’s only one small reason why Thanks to Maine Audubon’s out-these remarkable habitats are worth Get out with Maine Audubon this spring reach efforts and the strong record ofprotecting. Vernal pools are critical to to visit a vernal pool, watch warblers, scientific research that demonstratesa number of rare and endangered spe- or join a day camp. Check out our trips vernal pools’ value to Maine forests and programs listings on pages 6-9.cies, like the Blanding’s and spotted tur- and wildlife, the vernal pool protectionstles, as well as to several keystone spe- passed Maine’s House of Representa-cies in Maine’s forest ecosystems, like nature of vernal pools makes it easy tives with 128 votes in favor—and onlywood frogs, spotted salamanders, and for people to overlook them. Tradition- one vote opposed.numerous insects. These animals rely ally, vernal pools have fallen through During the past two springs, Maineon vernal pools for feeding, breeding, the cracks of wetland protection rules, Audubon assisted citizen scientists toor hibernating. which were written to protect larger, survey and map vernal pools, and iden- Vernal pools themselves are also an more permanent wetlands. tify the “significant” pools that deserveimportant source of food for the rest And so, as development has crept extra protection. The project aimed toof Maine’s forest wildlife. In the early into Maine’s woods, untold numbers of engage landowners, community leaders,spring, when animals are recovering historic vernal pool habitats have disap- town officials, and residents in a deeperfrom the long winter, vernal pools pro- peared. Other pools have been cut off understanding of the pools’ value, tovide a convenient source of nutrition from surrounding woodlands, leaving determine which pools are “significant” Continued on page 12
  2. 2. Thank you Peony Circle!Maine Audubon works to protect Maine’s wildlife andwildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education,conservation, and action.Habitat, in print and onlineChristian MilNeil, EditorLaura Duffy, Layout Editor One of the most rewarding aspects of lead-E-mail: ing Maine Audubon has been meeting the thou-Staff Directors sands of members and supporters who come to-Ted Koffman, Executive DirectorSue Cilley, Business Administration Director gether to enjoy and conserve Maine’s spectacularOdette Galli, Director of Advancement wildlife.Robert Savage, Property Management Director This spring, we’ll host our annual celebra-Sally Stockwell, Conservation DirectorKara Wooldrik, Education Director tion of some of the most devoted members ofOfficers, Maine Audubon Board of Trustees that community. Each year at Gilsland Farm Audu-Alexander K. (Sandy) Buck, Jr., President bon Center, we hold our Peony Bloom and IceCharles (Kip) Moore, Vice PresidentJeff Skaggs, Treasurer Cream Social to thank the people, businesses, and organizations thatFrancesca Galluccio-Steele, Secretary have supported Maine Audubon for 20 years or more. These loyalFull list of trustees and staff at supporters make up our Peony Circle of Friends, as reliable as the pe-Maine Audubon Headquarters rennial flowers that bloom every June in the historic peony gardens20 Gilsland Farm Rd., Falmouth, ME 04105 at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.Phone: (207) 781-2330 Peony Circle members will receive a gorgeous peony bloom andVisitor Centers and Wildlife SanctuariesUnless a separate number is listed, call (207) 781-2330 for informa- recognition at the event. You may visit, or visit for descriptions and directions. ny for a complete listing of members.Year-round Programs: As much as we value the people who have been committed toFalmouth: Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, (207) 781-2330 Maine Audubon for years, our mission to conserve Maine’s wildlifeHolden: Fields Pond Audubon Center, (207) 989-2591 requires us to continuously introduce new faces and new generationsSummer-Fall Programs (in-season phone numbers):Elliotsville: Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, (207) 631-4050 to the wonders of nature.Freeport: Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary That’s why Maine Audubon is so strongly committed to educat-Rockland: Project Puffin Visitor Center, (207) 596-5566 ing Maine’s schoolchildren. But it’s also one of the chief reasons whyScarborough: Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, (207) 883-5100 we offer such a rich array of programs and activities year-round. WeLocal Maine Audubon want to connect more people of all ages to nature and this wonderfulDowneast: (207) 664-4400; Maine Audubon community.Fundy: (207) 255-8970; There are few things more rewarding to a conservationist thanMerrymeeting: (207) 729-8661; merrymeeting@maineaudubon.orgMidcoast: (207) 641-1077; witnessing the fascination and joy of someone new to the outdoorsPenobscot Valley: (207) 989-259; identifying their first warbler, or catching their first brook trout, orWestern Maine: (207) 778-6285; taking in the view at the end of a long hike. So this spring, why notYork County: (207) 799-1408; welcome someone new into our community of conservationists? Maine Audubon is an independently funded and We’ve got a full calendar of activities for the spring listed on pages operated affiliate of National Audubon Society, Inc. 6-9 of this issue.Whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-Habitat, the journal of Maine Audubon, ISSN 0739-2052, is pub-lished quarterly. worker, our professional naturalists and guides will do a great job of introducing them to the wonders of Maine’s outdoors. Who knowsTo receive Habitat, join Maine Audubon!Support conservation, and receive membership —they may even come to Gilsland Farm twenty years from now todiscounts and timely insider information about receive a peony bloom of their own.Maine’s wildlife and nature-based activities Please join us at this year’s Peony Bloom celebration on Thursday,at or call (207) 781-2330. June 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Enjoy the beautiful peonies in bloom, the delicious ice cream, and the wonderful company of our Peony Circle of Friends. See you there! member of MaineShare Ted Koffman Maine Audubon Executive DirectorCover Photo: Wood frog Peonies of Gilsland Farm, photo by Kathleen Kelly2 APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
  3. 3. Meet Bob and Sandi Duchesne, IT’S NOT TOO LATE!Peony Circle Members 2010-11 ANNUAL FUND There’s still time to support Maine Audu- When Bob and Sandi Duchesne because we appreciate their science- bon’s 2010-11 Annual Fund .attended their first Penobscot Valley based approach to environmental Your gift supports a sound, science-basedChapter meeting over 25 years activism, and their willingness to approach to wildlife conservation inago to meet like-minded people reach out to Maine’s industrial Maine. Our precious natural resourcesand learn the best birding spots in interests and traditional outdoor are a critical asset to Maine’s economy and quality of place.the Bangor area, they never knew sportsmen to engage them in Give online at, or callthat it would evolve into a lasting joint efforts to protect wildlife (207) 781-2330, ext. 230.relationship with Maine Audubon. habitat. Because so much of Thank you for giving generously! Since that fateful day nearly Maine’s undeveloped land is inthree decades ago, Bob and Sandi private ownership, I think Mainehave been true champions for Audubon’s approach is the rightMaines wildlife. In addition to way to go. I’m very proud to tellbeing members since 1989, both people that I’m a Maine Audubonhave served on the Penobscot member.”Valley Audubon Chapter (PVAC) A state legislator fighting hardand Maine Audubon board of for Maine’s environment, Bob saystrustees. They lead many field Maine Audubons science-basedtrips for the PVAC (and attend approach to conservation willa fair amount too), and lead an always be crucial for the protectionexpert birding team, The Cardinal of Maines wildlife, especially withSins, in each year’s Birdathon the current administration’s recentfundraiser. Currently, Bob is attempts to roll back importantserving as both a Maine Audubon environmental regulations.trustee and as PVAC president Bob and Sandi have been birding(again!), and Sandi is the PVAC for as long as they can remember,secretary. and love to share this passion Sandi admires Maine Audubon’s with novice birders. Check Mainecontinuing efforts to develop Audubon’s website for programsa workable conservation plan and trips led by these dedicatedfor the Northern Forest that all environmentalists. It’s sure to bestakeholders can support. She one you’ll remember.says, “We support Maine AudubonSandi and Bob Duchesne APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG 3
  4. 4. Conservation Updates State House Update For over 40 years, we at Maine Audubon have been help- helped to mobilize hundreds of Maine Audubon supporters ing lawmakers craft careful and common-sense policies that to attend hearings, write letters, and make phone calls to leg- are protecting Maine’s water, land, and wildlife, and the natu- islators. With additional financial support from our members ral legacy we hold dear. These efforts have been broadly sup- and supporters, Maine Audubon hopes to bolster our pres- ported by legislators from every corner of Maine because we ence and grassroots advocacy in Augusta this spring. all know that Maine’s environment is central to our economic As this edition of Habitat goes to press, the status of vitality and our quality of life. these proposals and initiatives is still uncertain. What is certain Yet today we stand at a crossroads, and the path we is that more threats and opportunities will emerge in the com- choose will impact our future in significant ways. In January, ing months, and that Maine Audubon supporters like you will Governor LePage released and ambitious regulatory reform have a critical role to play proposal that seeks to weaken or repeal many of the envi- in our efforts to maintain ronmental safeguards that Maine Audubon and our friends and improve Maine’s envi- have worked together to enact in the past decade. There is no ronmental protection laws. doubt that these proposals are ill-conceived: they take Maine With your help, we in the wrong direction and put our future prosperity at risk. can keep Maine mov- Later this spring, as legislators tackle the state budget, we ing in the right direction, will face significant challenges to maintain sustainable fund- with a clean environment, ing levels for agencies like the Department of Inland Fisher- healthy people and wild- ies and Wildlife, which protects wildlife and wildlife habitat life, vibrant communities, statewide. All this has kept Maine Audubon’s staff advocate, and a strong and growing attorney Jenn Burns Gray, extremely busy in the State House. economy. Because let’s She’s started a new blog (located at www.maineaudubon. face it, these all go hand- org/act) where our allies and members of the public can get in-hand. Jenn Burns Gray, Maine Audubon an inside view of what’s going on in Augusta. Jenn has also staff attorney and advocate We need your help A single phone call from a voter can make a big difference in how a state legislator thinks about an issue. This spring, Maine Audubon is striving to give its supporters the tools they need to reach out to their leaders in Augusta, including talking points, legislator contact information, public hearing announcements, and ways to get your friends and neigh- bors involved. Here are three things you can do today to have an impact: • Sign up for our online action alerts, and get the latest news from our new advocacy blog, at act. We’re also sharing news and action alerts on our Facebook page, at • Call your state legislators and let them know how much you value Maine’s strong environmental protections. Leave a message for your Senator at 1-800-423-6900, and for your Representative at (207) 287-1400. • Give generously—Maine Audubon is raising funds to dedicate more resources to its advocacy program this winter, and every dollar counts. Give online at, or call us at (207)-781-2330 ext. 230. Our supporters’ voices are crucial to our efforts in Augusta. Thank you for all that you do!4 APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
  5. 5. Common Loons, photo by Linda JellisonHealthy Loons = Healthy Lakes: 2010 Loon Count ReviewedBy Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon staff biologist Why do we care so much about common loons? True The loon population has been growing steadily forto their name, they are fairly common in Maine, nesting on the last couple of years, and the 2010 count showed thatmany of our lakes in the summer, and spending the winter trend continuing, with an estimate of 3,220 adults in thein the frigid waters off-shore. They are so much a part of southern half of the state (roughly south of the line fromour Maine outdoor heritage that we may forget how unique Rangeley to Calais). This is the highest number of adultand special they are. After all, Maine is the only state in the loons ever estimated in the 27-year history of the count,northeast with such a robust and apparently healthy loon and that’s great news, especially in light of the dip in loonpopulation. numbers evident in the mid- to late-nineties. It appears our But this is exactly why we do care about loons, and loon population has officially “recovered” and is doing bet-why loons have made such a compelling species of wild- ter than to study over the last 27 years of Maine Audubon’s The estimate for the chick population wasn’t quiteAnnual Loon Count. A healthy loon population is indica- as high. The 2010 estimate was 283 chicks, which is justtive of clean water, vigorous fish populations, high-quality about average (the low chick count was 141 in 2006, andwetlands, and a healthy lake ecosystem. Reasonable regula- the high was 440 in 2007). So what does this mean? Ourtions that have protected shoreland zones, reduced road ongoing Loon Productivity Study (see the Winter 2010-runoff, and maintained high water quality have paid off 2011 issue of Habitat) suggests that there are a lot of loonsin making our lakes healthy places for loons, as well as for out there who try to nest and fail. Although lots of adultpeople. birds are around, many are unpaired “bachelors” looking to The 2010 Loon Count took place on a near-perfect gain some experience on Maine’s lakes before trying to findSaturday morning last July. The only complaint was that their own territory.too much sun made it hard to count loons in the glare off The 2011 Loon Count will take place on July 16th,the water. We’ll take complaints about the good weather, from 7:30 to 8 a.m. For more information or to partici-as it always makes for a more thorough count when volun- pate, visit or callteers aren’t foiled by wind and waves. Project Director Susan Gallo at (207) 781-6180 ext. 216.Wildlife Road Watch Seeks “Adopt A Road” Volunteers This spring marks the one-year anniversary of the Maine Maine Audubon biologist Barbara Charry, who establishedAudubon Wildlife Road Watch, a web-based map that allows the site and has been monitoring its growing collection ofMainers to record their roadside wildlife sightings, in order to wildlife biologists and transportation planners better understand While the “adopt a road” volunteers are expected to pro-how and where wildlife get across Maine’s roads. vide a steady stream of scientific observations in particular In the past year, the site attracted hundreds of registered places, the Road Watch site will continue to welcome occa-users, who have recorded and mapped over 1,000 unique sional users, who provide a rich supply of scientific data andwildlife sightings all over the state. interesting wildlife sightings across the rest of the state. Now, Maine Audubon’s staff biologists are seeking dedi- Guidelines for potential “adopt a road” volunteers will becated volunteers to “adopt a road” for regular monitoring, available this spring, shortly after this issue of Habitat goesto add a more finely-detailed layer of understanding in tar- to press. Visit togeted areas around Maine. Volunteers will be asked to record learn more—orany wildlife sightings on a segment of roadway they travel just to add your—whether it’s on their daily walk through the neighborhood, latest roadsidetheir commute to work, a weekly bike ride, or on the bus ride wildlife sightingto school. to our growing “Surveying specific road segments more intensively, on collection.a regular basis, will give us detailed information about howroad design and surrounding habitats in specific areas af-fect how—or whether—wildlife get across roads,” explains Painted turtle APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG 5
  6. 6. Spring & Summer Wildlife Trips Pine warbler, photo by Kirk Rogers Find additional activity listings and detailed descriptions, online at Prices listed for Maine Audubon members/nonmembers. * Indicates that advanced registration is necessary. Call (207) 781-2330 to register. Unless otherwise noted, Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist, Eric Hynes leads our wildlife trips. *Nature in your Neighborhood: *Grassland Birds of the Kennebunk WEBXtra Announcing Clark’s Pond Trail Plains online registration Clark’s Pond Trail is a new path that In heavily forested Maine, large Beginning May 1st you will be able to covers 1 ¾ miles around Clark’s Pond grasslands are uncommon, and so are and its tributary, Red Brook, in South the birds for which they provide habitat. register for most trips and programs Portland. With some of the rarest breeding birds online. Reserve tickets, pay with your Tuesday, April 26 in Maine, this pre-dawn adventure is credit card, and take advantage of 7 a.m. worth getting up early for. member discounts. Phone-in registra- $10/$15 Saturday, May 14 tions are still welcome. Try it out at 4-8 a.m. Warbler Weeks at Evergreen $20/$30 (add $10 for a van ride from Cemetery Falmouth, 3:15-8:45 a.m.) One of the best places in southern *A “Big Night” Out Maine for a close view of migrating *Monhegan Day Trip If you think you might enjoy finding songbirds—particularly warblers—is For migrating landbirds wandering slimy, wiggling salamanders and hopping Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery. At the offshore, Monhegan Island is an oasis. wood frogs as they lay their eggs in height of the migration season it’s pos- This trip coincides with the peak of vernal pools, then this trip is for you. But sible to see more than 20 warbler spe- spring songbird migration, when the it requires that we have a spring rain that cies in a single morning. All skill levels concentration and variety of birds using saturates the ground and a night time air are welcome. Bring your binoculars the island as a stopover to rest and feed temperature above 40 degrees. and a field guide and meet us in the often exceeds any comparable place on Thursday, April 7 back of the cemetery by the ponds. the mainland. From Port Clyde (weather date, April 12) Monday-Thursday, May 9-12, May Sunday, May 15 7:30-9 p.m. 16-19 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $10/$15 7 a.m. $75/$90 (add $10 for a van ride from Free/$5 Falmouth, 4 a.m.-6 p.m.) *Plum Island Van Trip At a time when Maine birders are Capisic Pond Park Fridays *Spring Birding Weekend at desperate for the winter doldrums to This small Portland park features a Claybrook Mountain Lodge be over, we will slip down the coast to surprising assortment of habitats. It’s This weekend retreat in Maine’s western Massachusetts to one of the Northeast’s a welcome refuge amidst the suburbs mountains is designed to hone your bird- most famous birding destinations and that makes for outstanding birding. ing skills, whether you’re a beginner or an sample a taste of what is to come. Meet at 7 a.m. the end of Macy Street, expert. We’ll spend the days in the field From Falmouth the narrow dirt road off Capisic Street. finding as many species as possible, and Saturday, April 9 (weather date, April 10) Fridays, May 13 and 20 our evenings reviewing slides and song 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Free/$5 recordings in the lodge. Price includes $55/$70 Membership is the Key *Cliff Island Beach Walk Membership support makes it possible for Maine Audubon Take the early morning ferry to Cliff to offer high quality programs, trips, and day camps to see Island with naturalists George Libby and learn about Maine’s wildlife. and Gary Roberts. We’ll walk to Ken- nedy Beach to watch for returning and Members also receive discounts on programs and resident birds, search for early emerging merchandise, including a member’s only cruise. plants and wildflowers, and check out (See page 7 for details.) the tidepools. Odyssey Whale Watch in Casco Bay is offering Maine Saturday, April 30 (weather date, May 1) Audubon members a 15% discount on all 2011 trips! 6 a.m.-12:30 or 4 p.m. Visit for a cruise schedule. $20/$30 Contact us online at or call (207) 781-2330, ext. 230.6 APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
  7. 7. Find it at Maine Audubon— Something for everyone! meals and accommodations. *Members Only Sunset Cruise to Enjoy Pizza Highland Plantation Stratton Island and Benefit Maine Audubon Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m.-Sunday, May 22, This specially discounted members- On Tuesday, April 12, from 5-9 p.m., at 1 p.m. (stay Sunday night for $95) only cruise departs from the Old Port Flatbread Co. on Commercial St. in $295/$335 aboard The Odyssey for a twilight visit Portland will make a donation to to Stratton Island, one of National Maine Audubon for*Birds of Brownfield Bog Audubon’s Seabird Restoration every pizza sold. Brownfield Bog, in the Saco River’s Program sites. floodplain, is a fascinating complex of Call (207) 781-2330, ext. 234 to small peatlands, ponds, maple swamps, reserve space. and meandering watercourses that Tuesday, June 14 harbors a wide range of Maine’s more 6-9 p.m. Eat in or call uncommon breeding birds. $30 (207)-772-8777 for take-out. Wednesday, May 25 7-10 a.m. $20/30 (add $10 for a van ride from Falmouth, 5:30-11:30 a.m.) Finding a Community As we walked along, Thomas and in a Cemetery Ted greeted nearly everyone by name,*Nature in your Neighborhood: even introducing me to one of my Guest column by George Smith favorite Maine authors, Monica Wood. Kettle Cove The sheltered waters of Kettle Cove Judy Camuso, a wildlife biologist with It seems entirely the Department of Inland Fisheries in Cape Elizabeth often attract appropriate to be lingering seaducks while the mudflats at and Wildlife, was there too. birding in a cemetery. The sense of community apparent neighboring Crescent Beach draw late One look at a Magnolia migrating shorebirds. We’ll also explore there that morning reminded me of Warbler is all you need Rick’s Deli in Winthrop, Dad’s favorite the trails for for signs of the elusive and to be convinced there is endangered New England cottontail. place for morning coffee and melt- a God. Who else could in-your mouth hot muffins, where Tuesday, May 31 create such a beautiful 7 a.m. everybody knows your name. creature? Thirty-three years ago when I $10/$15 More surprising to some would be first got involved with the Sportsman’s the fact that the birder is a widely known Alliance of Maine, the mantra that*Seabirds of Matinicus Rock advocate for Maine sportsmen and avid and Seal Island environmentalists are our enemies was hunter of game. drilled into us. I actually believed that Matinicus Rock is one of Maine’s most A friend and neighbor introduced important seabird nesting colonies, and for a very long time. Now I know it is my wife Linda and me to warblers in not true. we could see a good array of pelagic our yard five years ago, and we’ve been species and marine mammals as well. Consider my Maine Audubon hooked ever since. birding adventures amends for all the Friday, June 10 I knew I’d gone over the edge one 8 a.m.-5 p.m. years I was in the divide and conquer spring when I left my turkey blind to look group. I’ve come to learn that this type $80/$100 for a bird whose call behind me in the of politics harms us rather than helps woods I did not recognize. us. Since retiring from my job as SAM’s This obsession brought me to executive director at the end of 2010, Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery last year I’ve launched a new writing career, for a Maine Audubon outing. At their focused on bringing environmentalists “outdoor café,” Mainers gather in the and sportsmen together by recognizing early morning toting binoculars and what unites us in Maine’s spectacular coffee around the small ponds at the back outdoors, and understanding that we of Evergreen Cemetery to celebrate the are not enemies. I hope you will join living things in the trees—birds. me. I joined Thomas Urquhart, Maine A good place to start would be Audubon’s former director, and Ted Evergreen Cemetery. Bring coffee and Koffman, current Maine Audubon binoculars. And say hi when you see director, to risk serious neck injury by me. spending a couple of hours gazing straight up into the cemetery’s very tall More of George’s outdoor and travel news may trees to enjoy colorful warblers and many be found at other birds. APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG 7
  8. 8. Spring & Summer Activities Find additional activity listings and detailed descriptions, online at Prices listed for Maine Audubon members/nonmembers. * Indicates that advanced registration is necessary. Call (207) 781-2330 to register for field trips and Gilsland Canoeing Scarborough Marsh Farm activities, or (207) 989-2591 for Fields Pond activities. At Gilsland Farm online Audubon Center, Falmouth WEBXtra registration 7 p.m. is coming. Free (donations welcome) Weekly Birdwalks Beginning April 1st, you can register for Every Thursday, April-June Children’s Day at Fields Pond our Live Reptiles and Amphibians family 7 a.m. A day of free programming for children program online. Try it out at habitat.mai- $5/$8 and families, offered as part of the Bangor Area “Month of the Young *Warbler Workshop Child” celebration. Warbler migration is just around the Naturalists’ Forum: Saturday, April 9 corner. Are you ready? Wednesdays, April 27, May 25, June 29 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 7 p.m. Free (donations welcome) 7-9 p.m. Free $15/$25 Photo Journey Through Alaska International Migratory Bird Day Thursday, April 28 *Birding for Beginners Saturday, May 14, See page 9 for details. 7 p.m. These classes and bird walk will cover $5/$6 all the basics. Birdathon Thursday classes April 14 and 21 Saturday, May 21, see page 10 for details. Spring Fest 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14 Saturday walk April 23 Peony Bloom & Ice Cream Social 7-10 a.m. Thursday, June 16 Natural Landscape Design in Maine $40/$50 6:30-8 p.m. Landscape designer Claire Ackroyd shares Free: see details on page 2. her experience as an ecologist, organic *Special Family Presentation: systems agronomist, and educator. Live Reptiles and Amphibians At Fields Pond Tuesday, May 31 A variety of frogs, toads, turtles, Audubon Center, Holden 7 p.m. salamanders and more will be up close $5/$6 and personal for your family to meet 2011 Land Trust Gathering Friday, April 22 Concerned about suburban sprawl? Open Neighborhood Bird Walks 10 a.m. space or farmland in your community Join Bangor area bird walks led by expert $10/$15 adult; $5/$10 child you’d like to see protected? Join the land birders throughout the month of May trust movement! from 7-8:30 a.m. Beginners welcome! Thursday, April 7 Free: see website for details. At Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, Scarborough Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center *Volunteer Naturalist Trainings Canoe Tours on Pine Point Road will be open the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center May 28-30, June 4-5, and daily June weekends of Memorial Day and June 4-5, needs adult volunteers to lead weekday 11-September 5 then daily from June 11 through Labor nature walks in May and June. No prior 10-11:30 a.m. Day. experience necessary. $10/$11 adult, $8/$9 child Check April 25, 26, 28 *Full Moon Canoe Tours scarbmarsh for additional activities, or 9 a.m.-noon June 13, 14, and 15 call us (207-415-8331 before April 15 and and May 12 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. 8 p.m. 207-883-5100 after April 15) to register $11/$12 adult, $9/$10 child for programs. *Snowy Egret 5K Run/Walk *Earth Day Cleanup This fun race benefits Scarborough Help get the center ready to open for the Marsh Audubon Center. Visit season. Refreshments will be provided. to register. Saturday, April 23 Monday, May 30 9 a.m.-Noon 8:30 a.m. $14 in advance, $17 on race day8 APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
  9. 9. Spring & Summer Day Camp At Fields PondPreschool Stories, games and hands-on explorations of the natural world! Weekdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $200/$250& Day Camps per week. For ages 5-7 *Wild Things, July 11-15 Day Camp At Gilsland Farm For ages 6-7 For ages 8-11*Secrets of the Wild *Sprouts *Fields Pond Naturalist, July 18-22 June 27-July 1 or August 22-26 Tuesday-Friday $185/$240 July 12-15 and August 2-5 For ages 5-11*Nature Exploration $198/$253 *Nature, Up Close, August 1-5 August 8-19, $360/$415 *Curious Cubs *EcoExplorers, August 8-12 Mondays For ages 8-11 June 27-July 18 (no class July 4) Parent and Child Programs*Conservation Kids (ages 9-11) $53/member, $79/nonmember *Pre-School Nature Week July 5-8, $195/$250 July 25-August 15 (New!) A week of explorations for*Water Worlds (ages 8-10) $70/$105 children who have not yet entered July 18-29, $380/$435 Kindergarten and their caregivers. Parent and Child Programs July 25-29 For ages 6-11 for ages 2-5 $10/$15 per day*Nature Detectives *Family Fun $40/$60 per week July 11-15, $185/$240 Mondays*Wonders of Wildlife 9:15-10:15 a.m. or 10:30-11:30 a.m. *Family Night-time Nature Week August 1-5, $185/$240 June 27-July 18 (no class July 4) (New!) Night-time is great for meeting $30/$45 some of our shy wild neighbors. We’ll Drop off for ages 4-5 July 25-August 15 play family games, share stories and*Summer Squash $40/$60 explore Fields Pond at night. Tues./Thurs. or Wed./Fri. July 25-29 June 28-July 7, July 19-28, August 9-18 $10/$15 per day $140/$195 $40/$60 per week April Vacation with Maine Audubon: April 18-22 in Falmouth and Holden Family Nature Programs for Families at Fields Pond: 10 a.m.-noon. $8/$10 per family. . Vacation Day Camps at Gilsland Farm: Explore springtime nature and celebrate Earth Day. $55/$70 per day or $250/$320 per week. Come to Maine Audubon on Saturday, Have a Blast with Birds International May 14, to participate in this global event. Kids will be blown away by this fun series of bird-related games and activities. Migratory *Field Trip to Kennebunk Plains 12-2 p.m. Free Bird Day 3 a.m., details on page 6. *Backyard Birding Basics At Gilsland Farm This crash course covers identification *Live Raptors Presentation of common backyard birds, the habitat The Center for Wildlife will be here with concept and how to apply it to your own a Long-eared Owl, a Merlin, an American property. Kestrel, and a Broad-winged Hawk. 2:30-4 p.m. 10-11 a.m. $10/$15 $10/$15 adult, $5/$10 child At Fields Pond Piping Plover–Least Tern Protection Spring Fest Seminar This year’s celebration will include bird 12-2 p.m. Free walks, children’s activity area, yoga, a live animal program and more. American kestrel, photo by Ray Spencer 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Free APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG 9
  10. 10. Maine Audubits Welcome Laura Birdathon Is May 21st This summer, Laura Minich Zitske joins Maine Audubon’s annual Birda- The Owl Maine Audubon as our new Wildlife thon is a bird watching event during By Kira Wolpow Ecologist and Piping Plover and Least peak migration in which participants Tern Project Director. Laura will be a try to identify as many bird species as familiar face to many as she was a sea- Talons grip the peeling bark possible in their own backyards and sonal biologist on the Piping Plover and Big eyes bore past the layered dark in sites all around Maine. Join dozens Least Tern project during the 2009 sea- of fellow nature enthusiasts, begin- Gliding like water deep and black son. She has a broad conservation back- ners and experts alike, this year on ground and worked most recently as the Swooping down then curling back Saturday, May 21st. Community Outreach Director with Ruler of the ringing woods The Birdathon is also a great fun- Maine’s Project Canopy, and previously Golden majestic bells resound draising event for Maine Audubon, as the Acting Executive Director at the Nature Trust of supporting our mission to conserve The tall and golden trees they flood, New Brunswick. Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Please help us With pure vibrating walls of sound It’s not too late to form a team, reg- welcome Laura ister as an individual, or join up with back to Maine Kira Wolpow is 11 years old and in the sixth an existing team in your area. You can Audubon and grade. She loves to write poetry in her free find detailed information and pledge time, and in the summer, she and her sister look for her on sell their own handwritten poems from their forms at, or call the beaches this driveway. Besides poetry, she loves reading, Birdathon organizer Eric Hynes at summer! school, and animals. (207)-781-2330, ext. 237.10 APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG
  11. 11. Chapter UpdatesA New Roost for SwiftsFrom Merrymeeting Audubon Chapter For years after the last students left, Brunswick’s oldhigh school building on McKeen Street hosted an an- Above: Chimney swift in flight. Background: the new swiftnual springtime reunion of roosting chimney swifts who tower at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.rested in the old school’s chimney near the end of theirannual long distance migrations from South America. will be more attractive to swifts this year. As the largest documented chimney swift roost in the Allen’s interest in swifts goes beyond the birdsstate, the old school’s chimney was a resource that Merry- themselves—he’s clearly inspired at how they can bringmeeting Chapter member Ted Allen worked hard to pro- a community together. He points out that in Portland,tect, even as the old school came down to make way for Oregon, hundreds of people come out on pleasant Sep-the new Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School (now tember evenings to watch clouds of Vaux’s Swifts comeunder construction on the same site). to roost in an inner-city school’s chimney. Allen worked with school and town officials to make “It shows people that urban places can be more thansure that a similar swift-friendly chimney would be part pigeons and raccoons,” says Allen. “Watching the swiftsof the new school’s plans—and that it would be up on the come to roost can be a community event—people comesite of the new school by May 1st, in time for the earliest out with picnics to sit on the grass and enjoy a nice eve-migrants. The new chimney and interpretive signage for ning watching the birds swirl around.”the school were funded in part by TogetherGreen, a na- Allen’s initiative has also catalyzed a small commu-tional Audubon project with funding from Toyota. nity of swift enthusiasts in the Merrymeeting region. He “The builders were very responsive,” says Allen. “It credits more than a dozen volunteers who are now ob-was the first thing built on the site—there was just a serving chimney swifts and cataloging other major roostscleared lot, and a chimney. Of course, it was still a con- and nesting sites throughout the state. Middle school stu-struction zone. On May 5th we saw 23 swifts enter the dents in Bath are now investigating locations where theychimney, and five minutes later we saw 23 swifts fly out.” can build their own roosting tower. By this spring, construction on the new school should If you’d like to get involved in this spring’s Swiftbe substantially complete. Without cranes and half-fin- Watch, contact the Merrymeeting Chapter at (207) 729-ished walls on the site, Allen thinks that the new chimney 8661 or APRIL-JUNE 2011 WWW.MAINEAUDUBON.ORG 11
  12. 12. Cover story continuedunder state law, and to encourage voluntary conservation ef- wildlife, your voice needs to be heard (see page 4 to find outforts. how you can help). 162 Maine Audubon volunteers received training and As much work as there is to do in Augusta, though, re-went out into ten different Maine communities to survey hun- member to take an evening this spring to walk into a forestdreds of vernal pools. Survey data will be used to build more near you, listen for the sounds of Maine wildlife awakeningsustainable communities, with development focused in areas after a long winter, and remind yourself why Maine’s vernalthat would be least harmful to natural resources. pools are worth fighting for. Thanks to this volunteer effort, communities have gaineda new appreciation for the valuable habitats in their backyards,and forest wildlife gain new protection without putting an un- FSC logodue burden on development. But earlier this year, newly-elected Governor Paul LePagetargeted the new vernal pool protections in his proposed pack- Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postageage of “regulatory reforms.” Given the bipartisan and collab- PAID Portland, MEorative nature of the original rulemaking process, this came as 20 Gilsland Farm Road Permit No. 92 Falmouth, ME 04105an unwelcome surprise to Maine Audubon and its partners. “We worked hard—with members of both parties, withstate agencies, with University of Maine scientists, and withmembers of the public—to craft a workable set of protec-tions based on solid science,” says Jennifer Burns Gray, MaineAudubon’s staff attorney and advocate. “Now that the Gover-nor proposes to undo that work, we and a lot of our support-ers naturally are standing up to defend vernal pools and all ofthe work we’ve put into protecting them.” This spring, Maine Audubon will be working hard to re-mind legislators from both political parties why they and theircolleagues supported these important protections five yearsago. We invite you to join us in this effort: if you value Maine’s