Maine is a beautiful state with a great variety of landscapes to explore. One of the most popular things to do in Maine, other than hiking and fishing, is bird watching. Bird-lovers from around the world flock to the Pine Tree State each year for its diverse bird population. Maine is home to over 400 bird species, some of which live here year-round, while other migratory species pop in for their seasonal visits. No matter the season, there are plenty of bird-watching opportunities for serious and casual birders alike. Use the guide below to discover some excellent Maine coast birding!
The Maine Coast’s Most Popular Birds
Whether you’re an absolute bird-lover or simply excited to see some birds, these 5 should definitely be at the top of your Maine coast bird-watching list.
Here are 5 of Maine’s top must-see birds:
No Maine coast bird viewing trip is complete without taking a boat tour through the 4 nesting islands that Atlantic Puffins call home. These little birds are only about 10 inches tall, but they’re impossible to miss, thanks to their signature brightly-colored beaks and penguin-like appearance. As these charming birds can only be seen offshore, we have a great guide on where to find them right here.
If you’re visiting Maine during the winter season then you’re in for an absolute treat. Often spotted diving for food along the coast, the long-tailed duck is an exquisite winter visitor from the subarctic freshwater wetlands. While small, these beautiful birds stand out from the rest with their elegant black and white plumage and signature long black tails.
The Black Guillemot is one of Maine’s year-round resident seabirds. Their bright red legs make these little black and white birds much easier to spot as they forage close to shore. These small seabirds can be seen during the summer and winter months nesting along the rocky coastline and diving for fish and invertebrates in Maine’s coastal waters.
Common Eiders are among Maine’s largest ducks at an average length of two feet. This year-round resident has a distinctive silhouette and coloring that makes it easy to recognize and a beloved must-see among birders. Their long sloped beak gives them a unique look in addition to the light emerald and pistachio-colored accents that are common among breeding males. These heavy-bodied ducks can be seen by boat or from the shore, floating in massive flocks that can reach well into the thousands.
Weighing 6.6lbs, the Northern Gannet is not only the largest of Maine’s coastal seabirds but the largest seabird in the North Atlantic. Bird watchers can spot these great seabirds roosting in large numbers along the coast’s rocky cliffs.
As these are exclusively found offshore, we recommend taking a boat trip out to the islands. Be sure to keep a lookout for their distinctive soft colors, black-tipped wings, a vibrant blue coloring around their eyes.
Maine Coast Bird Watching Boat Tours
If you’re interested in a more enriching bird viewing experience, there are plenty of boat tours that will take bird watchers through the many seabird nesting islands. You can book a guided tour with one of many tour boat operators along the Maine coast for an unforgettable birding experience.
Get Involved With The Friends of Maine Coastal Islands
Interested in helping protect Maine’s coastal habitats and wildlife? Volunteer or visit us at the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine. Proceeds from our art gallery support our conservation efforts, and you can pick up a full-color decorative map of the seabird nesting islands in our nature store.