Welcome to Maine wildlife. The state’s rocky coasts and inland forests, fields and mountains provide for wildlife diversity.
For those more interested in detail, the people of Maine have been very busy with a meticulous study of their land and the wildlife, flora and fauna it supports. Officially called the Maine Natural Areas Program, experts have classified 104 types of communities that collectively represent two dozen different ecosystems.
The system promotes a two step wildlife management plan. First, Maine remains obligated to protecting the species of fish and wildlife are listed as endangered or threatened under Maine’s Endangered Species Act. Second, the program hopes that the habitat focus improves local level awareness of the local species, thereby allowing for a rational local management plan.
For the more casual summer wildlife enthusiasts, ocean animals from the famous Maine lobster to the marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals can be seen in season. The sightseeing goes hand in hand with a tour of the Maine lighthouses.
The list of Maine birds passed the four hundred and fifty species milestone and the Black-capped Chickadee stands at the top of the list as the official state bird. They inhabit the state on a year round basis and are a common visitor to back yard feeders.
Maine’s bird diversity comes from both the north and south. It’s one of the last stopping points for many of the spring’s migratory birds.
Less well known is the fact that it’s a winter resting ground for another handful of bird species.
Consider the Common Redpoll. It’s a small finch with a very hardy nature. They breed in the high north and Arctic, then migrate south to the northern areas of the United States for winter. People in Maine also enjoy them at the feeder during the winter.
Maine’s long coast line means that a variety of birds share the rocky and sandy beaches with Maine residents and tourists. It’s a great place for birds and birders. Even more fortunate, Portland, the state’s largest city and the arrival point for many tourists is also a birding hot spot.
According to the Maine Bird Trail Guide,
Straddling the boundary between the beach-and-marsh coast of the south and the rocky bay-indented coast of the north, this region is home to the state’s most diverse coastal birdlife. Urban parks are often magnets for migrant songbirds.
Choose your bird and then choose from one of ten nearby birding hot spots.
Often the beach birds are organized by family with species from common families such as cormorants, gulls and terms present for the breeding season. Maine coastal areas are also great areas to see the lesser ranging Atlantic Puffins (pictured), Razorbills, Black Guillemot and Murres.
Less common water birds such as Common eiders also take to Maine waters with some frequency. They are a northern species of sea duck.
The state lists about twenty birds as threatened to endangered. Most are shorebirds or ocean birds. It’s not a fact that these same species are listed as such across the United States. It’s more of a case that a changing landscape has made the state less habitable for the species.
Common Loons are a familiar and cherished part of the Maine wildlife scene. They can be found on freshwater lakes during the spring through fall. During the winter they migrate to coastal areas.
Situated along the northern border of the United States means that Maine has a small but relatively evenly divided population of amphibians and reptiles.
In the amphibian category, there are eight salamanders/newts and ten frogs/treefrogs/toads. If the amphibian has a warty body and a stripe down the back, you can easily guess it’s the American toad, Maine’s only toad.
American toads are present in most areas of the state from the spring warming season through fall.
Maine residents also keep a keen eye out for their flora. With over one hundred years of documented finds, experts currently track about three hundred and fifty plants that are endangered, threatened or general species of concern.
From rare to common, an abundant number of native wildflowers can easily be found near roadsides and other common spaces, depending on the season.
Spring is a great time to see Windflowers popping up. Summer brings beauties such as the pictured Wood Lily. Fall is generally a time for the likes of goldenrods and asters.
As the site grows, more information covering Maine will be added. Until then, press any of the following buttons to learn more about Maine nature.