A Pine Grosbeak perched on a wood plank.

Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Maine: An Insider’s Guide!

Maine is a wonderland for birdwatching enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes and a diverse range of bird species. From forests to wetlands to coastline, Maine’s birding spots are essential destinations for bird lovers everywhere. If you’re keen to experience an unforgettable birdwatching adventure, read on to discover the top birdwatching hotspots in Maine.

Key Takeaways

  • Maine is a popular destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.
  • The state boasts diverse habitats that lure a wide variety of bird species.
  • This article highlights the prime birdwatching spots in Maine for an unforgettable birding experience.
A Belted Kingfisher perched on a tree branch.
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Maine

The top birdwatching hotspots in Maine are a haven for birding enthusiasts. From the majestic Acadia National Park to the picturesque Scarborough Marsh and enchanting Monhegan Island, these locations offer diverse avian habitats.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Mount Desert Island and the variety of Kennebunk Plains. Witness unique bird species at Wells Reserve and Baxter State Park. With its stunning natural wonders, Maine beckons birders to explore its captivating landscapes and discover a world of avian beauty.

Understanding Maine’s Birdwatching Appeal

Maine’s birdwatching appeal is attributed to several factors that make it a popular destination for birdwatchers across the United States.

Firstly, Maine’s diverse habitats are home to numerous bird species, making it an ideal location for bird enthusiasts. Visitors can explore forests, wetlands, and the coastline to spot a wide range of birds.

Secondly, Maine has made significant efforts towards conservation, preserving bird habitats, and ensuring that visitors can enjoy birdwatching in a sustainable manner. This ensures that birds continue to thrive, and visitors can observe them in their natural habitat.

Finally, Maine has developed an excellent infrastructure for birdwatching, including trails, observation points, and designated birding areas that provide visitors with optimal birdwatching opportunities.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the best places for birdwatching in Maine. The park covers over 47,000 acres of land, including rocky shorelines, mountains, and forests. Its diverse ecosystems provide habitats for a wide range of bird species, making it a prime birding destination.

Some of the bird species you can expect to see in Acadia National Park include warblers, northern saw-whet owls, and barred owls. You might also spot bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and the park’s iconic seabird, the Atlantic puffin.

For birdwatchers, some of the best locations in the park include the Jordan Pond Path, the Cadillac Summit Loop, and the Schoodic Peninsula. These areas offer a mix of habitats and bird species, and provide great opportunities for birdwatching year-round.

Birdwatching Tips for Acadia National Park

  • Bring binoculars and a field guide to help identify bird species.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather, especially if planning to hike.
  • Check in with the park’s visitor center for information on current bird sightings and any guided birding activities.
  • Visit during the spring and fall migration seasons for the best chances of spotting a variety of bird species.
A Cedar Waxwing perched on a tree branch.
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area

The Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area, located just south of Portland, is a must-visit site for birdwatching enthusiasts. The site boasts an extensive saltwater marsh, providing a rich habitat for a variety of bird species.

Visitors can explore multiple birding trails within the area, including the Eastern Trail, which offers stunning views of the marsh and its inhabitants. Birdwatchers can expect to spot a range of resident and migratory species, including herons, egrets, sandpipers, and ospreys, among others.

It is recommended that visitors bring binoculars and wear appropriate footwear for the wet terrain, especially during the spring and fall migration seasons.

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is situated in the Eastern Maine Highlands and covers over 28,000 acres of various habitats that range from grasslands to forested areas and wetlands.

These environments provide refuge and shelter for a diverse range of bird species, making Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge a prime birdwatching location in Maine.

The refuge is home to over 200 species of birds, including songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors such as bald eagles. Moosehorn’s extensive wetlands also attract waterfowl and wading birds such as herons and egrets.

If you plan to visit Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, the best time to visit for optimal birdwatching opportunities is in the spring and summer months.

The refuge offers a range of birdwatching activities and events throughout the year, including guided birdwatching tours, photography workshops, and bird banding demonstrations.

Trail Guide

The refuge has multiple trails that provide excellent birdwatching opportunities. Some of the popular trails include:

Trail NameDescription
Auto Tour RouteA 7.5-mile route that winds through the refuge’s wetland and forest habitats, providing abundant birdwatching opportunities along the way.
Baring Unit TrailA 1.5-mile trail that passes through a mix of forest and wetland habitats. It offers excellent opportunities to see songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors.
Lily Bay TrailA 2.2-mile trail that leads through forested areas and wetlands. It provides opportunities to see a variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, and waterfowl.

It’s recommended to bring binoculars and wear appropriate footwear when birdwatching at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, staying on designated trails and respecting the refuge’s rules and regulations is crucial to preserving the area’s natural habitats and wildlife.

An Eastern Towhee perched on a branch.
Photo by Daniel Shapiro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/eastern-towhee-16652503/

Monhegan Island

Located 10 miles off the coast of Maine, Monhegan Island is a must-visit destination for birdwatchers. Its location along migratory routes makes it a prime spot for observing a variety of bird species, particularly during the spring and fall.

Visitors to the island can expect to see a wide range of birds, including warblers, thrushes, and other songbirds. On the coast, various seabird species such as Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and guillemots can be observed.

To make the most of your birdwatching experience on Monhegan Island, consider staying overnight to observe the dawn chorus. The island’s limited accommodations and transportation options make it a peaceful retreat for those seeking a remote and intimate birdwatching experience.

When visiting Monhegan Island, be sure to bring your binoculars and wear appropriate footwear for hiking over rocky terrain. Guided birdwatching tours are also available for those looking for expert insights into the island’s bird populations.

Sebasticook River

The Sebasticook River is a popular birding location in Maine, known for its rich riparian habitat that attracts a wide range of waterbird species. This river, part of the Kennebec River watershed, offers birdwatchers the chance to observe herons, egrets, ducks, and other water-loving birds in their natural habitat.

One of the best ways to experience birdwatching along the Sebasticook River is by accessing one of the several bird blinds available.

These blinds are strategically placed for optimal viewing of birds and allow visitors to observe the birds without disturbing them. Additionally, kayaking along the river offers a unique perspective and may allow for closer observations of birds in their natural habitat.

For a truly immersive birdwatching experience, visitors can explore the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, which offers multiple trails for birding.

The trust’s Bird Sanctuary Trail, located at the Corundel Wildlife Management Area, features a diverse array of habitats, including marsh, shrubland, and forest. This trail offers visitors the chance to observe both resident and migratory bird species.

Mount Desert Rock

Mount Desert Rock is a small island located approximately 25 miles offshore from Mount Desert Island, making it one of the unique birding spots in Maine. The island is a significant nesting site for various seabird species, and boat tours or research activities that allow visitors to observe seabird colonies are available.

The most commonly observed seabirds on Mount Desert Rock include Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Atlantic Puffin, and Razorbills. Visitors may also see Common Eider Ducks and Peregrine Falcons. A key attraction for birdwatchers on the island is the opportunity to observe the seabirds’ breeding behavior up close.

Boat tours to Mount Desert Rock typically leave from Bar Harbor or Northeast Harbor. Visitors should plan for a full day trip, as the boat ride takes around two hours each way, and time on the island is limited. As the trip takes place on open water, precautions should be taken for motion sickness.

Hen Harrier
Image by Iulian Ursache from Pixabay

Baxter State Park

Baxter State Park is a must-visit destination for birdwatching enthusiasts in Maine. The park’s vast wilderness areas, including mountains and forests, provide habitat for a variety of bird species, making it a popular location for birdwatchers.

Visitors can expect to see species such as spruce grouse, boreal chickadee, and gray jay in the park’s northern forests, while the southern forests attract a range of woodpeckers, including the black-backed woodpecker and American three-toed woodpecker.

One of the best ways to experience birdwatching in Baxter State Park is by exploring the park’s many trails. The Katahdin Stream Trail is a popular choice for birdwatchers, with species such as the northern waterthrush and common yellowthroat often spotted along the trail.

Another option is the Chimney Pond Trail, which offers opportunities to observe species such as the yellow-bellied flycatcher, white-throated sparrow, and Bicknell’s thrush.

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge located in northern Maine is an ideal birding destination. The 5,400-acre preserve features a mix of wetlands, bogs, and upland forests, providing habitat for a diverse range of bird species.

Visitors to the refuge will find over 200 bird species, including raptors, waterfowl, and songbirds. Some of the most commonly sighted species include the American bittern, common loon, and the northern harrier.

The best time to visit the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is during the spring and fall migration seasons, when visitors may have the chance to spot a greater variety of bird species. Trails such as the Caribou Bog Boardwalk and the Greenlaw Brook Trail offer visitors the opportunity to observe birds up close.

In addition to birdwatching, visitors to the refuge can enjoy other outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Guided walks and educational programs are also offered to visitors throughout the year.


Maine is a birdwatcher’s paradise, boasting a diverse range of habitats and a rich variety of bird species. From Acadia National Park to the Sebasticook River, each of the birdwatching hotspots mentioned in this article offer unique opportunities to observe nature’s beauty.

Remember to always respect wildlife and follow guidelines set by parks and wildlife refuges to ensure that these ecosystems remain healthy for generations to come.

A Northern Flicker perched in a tree.
Photo by Hal Moran: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photograph-of-a-northern-flicker-15307877/

FAQs: Best Birdwatching Hotspots in Maine

Why is Maine a favored destination for birdwatching enthusiasts?

Maine is a favored destination for birdwatching enthusiasts due to its diverse habitats, including forests, wetlands, and coastline, which attract numerous bird species. Additionally, the state has dedicated conservation efforts and offers birdwatching infrastructure such as trails and observation points.

Which national park in Maine is known for birdwatching?

Acadia National Park is known for birdwatching due to its diverse ecosystems, from rocky shorelines to mountainous regions, which attract a wide range of bird species.

What can be found at Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area?

Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area is known for its extensive saltwater marshes and diverse bird populations. It offers various birding trails, including the Eastern Trail, which provides excellent opportunities to spot both resident and migratory bird species.

What makes Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge a prime birding area?

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is a prime birding area in Maine due to its mix of forested areas, wetlands, and grasslands, which attract a diverse range of bird species.

Why is Monhegan Island considered a top-rated birdwatching spot in Maine?

Monhegan Island is considered a top-rated birdwatching spot in Maine due to its strategic location on migratory bird routes, making it a hotspot for bird spotting during the spring and fall migration seasons.

What can be observed along the Sebasticook River?

The Sebasticook River is known for its rich riparian habitat and attracts waterbird species such as herons, egrets, and ducks.

What is the significance of Mount Desert Rock in birdwatching?

Mount Desert Rock is significant in birdwatching as it serves as a nesting site for various seabird species. Visitors can observe seabird colonies through boat tours or research activities.

Why is Baxter State Park popular for birdwatching?

Baxter State Park is popular for birdwatching due to its vast wilderness areas, including mountains and forests, which provide habitats for a variety of bird species.

What can be observed at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge?

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is known for its wetland habitats and offers the opportunity to observe a diversity of bird species.


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.

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