Maine’s Songbird Highway

Scientists aim to unravel the mysteries of migration in the Gulf of Maine.

By Kim Ridley
Reader photo submitted by eswanson

The morning air smells of balsam and wet duff as Adrienne Leppold sets out on a narrow trail to check the mist nets she set up before dawn to capture birds in a patch of forest in Orono. A great-crested flycatcher cries “wheep, WHEEP,” one of a dozen or so species calling and singing in the trees.  Leppold doesn’t pause, however, to scan the branches. She makes a beeline for the ne ts, followed by three students she’s teaching the precise and delicate art of banding birds.

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Kim Ridley

Kim Ridley of Brooklin is the former editor of Hope magazine, and her articles on science, culture, and food have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.