A Festival for the Birds

Blue bird green background Acadia Birding Festival
Photograph by Mark Bilak
Since 1998, the Acadia Birding Festival has grown from a get-together for binocular-wielding locals to a grand to-do that draws diehard birders from across the country. Late spring brings out both year-round species and migrants — real snowbirds — that return to Mount Desert Island for the summer. This year’s festival takes place June 1–June 4, and while mainstays such as the spruce grouse keep feather followers coming back every year, there’s also an element of surprise. Some birds get blown hundreds of miles off course and land on the island, much to festivalgoers’ delight. Visit acadiabirdingfestival.com for more festival information. — Joel Crabtree


Number of species spotted at the 2016 festival, including some rare ones, like the bunting lark, normally found out West.


Miles off course a flock of six black-bellied whistling ducks were when they landed in the pond at MDI High School during the 2013 festival.


Approximate number of birders who attend the festival every year.


An average egg-lay for the indigo bunting, which breeds on MDI every year. The female is brown, but the male (pictured here) is brilliant blue.


Number of herring gull sightings at last year’s festival, most of any bird. We non-ornithological types know them better as plain old seagulls.


Largest estimated wingspan, in inches, of any bird spotted at the fest — a bald eagle. Festivalgoers spot the species every year.


The age at which Pete Dunne, one of the keynote speakers invited to this year’s festival, received his first pair of binoculars and a bird book.

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