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Finding Acadia’s Early Birds: A Special Maine Birding Excursion (FULL)

May 17, 2023 - May 20, 2023

At left: view of puffins in the blue Atlantic ocean. At right: close-up view of a Blackburnian warbler perched on a tree branch.

We are currently at capacity for this event. Thank you for your interest. If you would like to register for another 2023 Bird Tour, please click here for information and availability.

Schoodic Institute’s bird ecology director Seth Benz will lead this special tour designed to enhance your enjoyment of all birds, especially those that frequent Acadia National Park and its immediate surroundings.

Be among the first to see and hear colorful wood warblers returning to Acadia National Park, and enjoy a chartered boat trip to Petit Manan Island to see an active Atlantic puffin colonyWe’ll visit area hotspots at a leisurely pace while learning about bird song and sight identification, bird habitats and behavior, and we’ll pay extra attention to enhancing your field birding skills and enjoyment of nature. The entire tour will be based out of Schoodic Institute which is ideally situated just a stone’s throw from Schoodic Point, a migration checkpoint that tallies tens of thousands of migratory birds annually. Lodging is in cozy cabins where you are often awakened by birdsong – Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, and Magnolia Warbler. Blue-headed vireos and Northern Parula warblers often serenade you as you walk to Schooner Commons, the Institute’s dining hall. Maine has a way of spoiling birders – and this spring tour is designed to do just that!

Registration is required. The program cost is $985.00 per participant. Space is limited so register quickly!

Day 1: Check-in is at 3pm. “Early Birds” begins on the Schoodic Institute campus at 4pm with introductions and a tour of the Institute campus. The late afternoon will feature the start of field birding with an excursion to a local hotspot or two. We’ll return to campus for an hour of relaxation before dinner. Dinner is from 6:00 to 7:00pm. An evening presentation on puffin restoration efforts will follow dinner in preparation for tomorrow’s special boat trip to an active seabird colony.

Day 2: An optional morning bird walk on campus – think warblers – before breakfast! Breakfast is served from 7:00 to 8:00am in Schooner Commons. We’ll then pack for a day afield and travel 40 minutes or so to the boat launch in Steuben for a 2-hour cruise to Petit Manan Island.

This is our best chance to see Atlantic puffin, razorbill, common murre, and several tern species as we circumnavigate the island, one of just 5 islands in Maine inhabited by Atlantic puffin, thanks to restoration efforts. Seals and other wildlife are also possible. After lunch, which will be a field lunch at a bird-rich picnic spot, we’ll then inspect some nearby blueberry barrens to look for an assortment of birds, including upland sandpiper, vesper sparrow, and American kestrel. Of course, there will be other birds to see along the way. An evening discussion on the day’s experience, identification tips and review, and how to get the most out of eBird use will follow dinner (6-7pm). 

Day 3: Optional campus bird walk before breakfast. We’ll then spend the day investigating hotspots in Acadia National Park as well as the nearby villages of Prospect Harbor and Corea with good prospects for finding spruce grouse. Lunch will be in the field (carefully packed in a cooler along with water). We’ll return to campus by 5:00pm for leisure time before the 6:00pm dinner. Dinner this last night together is your choice of lobster or a delicious alternative. Afterward, we’ll sum up the day and complete a checklist review.

Day 4: Optional before breakfast bird walk. After breakfast, we’ll have the option of a culminating stroll to Schoodic Point. Checkout is at 10:00 AM.

Price of $985.00 is based upon double occupancy. Lodging upgrade options possible while available. To register, contact Michelle Pinkham at 207-288-1356 or fill out the form below.

Price includes lodging and meals, van travel, boat fare, and guiding fees. Not included in price: airfare, trip insurance, alcohol beverages not offered by the host, gas stop snacks, and gratuities. An Acadia National Park pass may be necessary if you will be traveling in the park while not on this tour. These will be available to purchase at check-in or while on campus for $30.


May 17, 2023
May 20, 2023
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Schoodic Institute
9 Atterbury Circle
Winter Harbor, ME 04693 United States
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