The 11 Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine

The 11 Best Locations for Birdwatching in Maine

Maine is legendary for a few things: Stephen King and beautiful scenery. Outdoor life in this state is fantastic and hard to top, providing birdwatchers with plenty of amazing opportunities to see gorgeous species with minimal difficulty. Thankfully, there are many different birding spots that you can take advantage of if you live in or plan on visiting this state any time soon.

The following destinations are among the most popular places for birders to visit in Maine. They each provide the chance to see various species that are hard to spot elsewhere. Birders visiting these areas also get easy access to multiple amenities and comfort items, including picnic tables, benches, and more. Check out these options to find one that makes sense for your birding needs.

Monhegan Island

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Monhegan Island
Monhegan Island, Maine
Image By Rorythomasoconnor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
  • Address: 10 Miles Off the Coast From Lincoln County, Maine
  • Cost: Varying ferry prices
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: Island harbor master, 207-542-9345
  • Birds you’ll see: Eider, Loon, Black Guillemot, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Iceland Gull Band-tailed Pigeon, and Calliope Hummingbird

Monhegan Island is a popular tourist destination off the coast of Lincoln County. Though under two miles long, it provides plenty of birding opportunities. Many ocean species flock here because it allows for a resting and breeding ground with plenty of feeding opportunities.

Typically, peak periods through this area are May and September, though October also has plenty of beautiful birding options. You can walk along the coast and spot many birds or even the roads, as the island is thoroughly modern and has multiple shops, restaurants, and much more.

You can also stay on the island at one of the many hotels or bed and breakfast destinations. Campgrounds are also available, though you can book ahead of time. This spot is very popular, and finding places to stay is often challenging for many birding fans.

Scarborough Marsh

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Scarborough Marsh
  • Address: Throughout Scarborough, Maine
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: N/A
  • Birds you’ll see: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Virginia Rail, Belted Kingfisher, and Saltmarsh Sparrow

Scarborough Marsh is a 3,200-acre marshland close to Scarborough, Maine, and is the most extensive spread of salt marsh throughout the state. The Audubon Center on Pine Point Road in this city includes information about the best spots to check out birds and various trail options.

You can even check out the nature trail off this Audubon Center and rent canoes and kayaks to explore the area. While exploring this region, you’re also likely to hit other trails and access points that provide you with more unique opportunities for seeing various species throughout your area.

Natural history programs, shops, hands-on activities, an aquarium, and other activities make this a pleasant destination for birding fans. You can either go out on your own or consider a guided trip, which often makes it easier to find birds without a lot of excessive work.

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Biddeford Pool/East Point Sanctuary

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Biddeford Pool
Biddeford Pool/East Point Sanctuary
Image By MagicpianoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Address: 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth, Maine 04105
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: 207-781-2330
  • Birds you’ll see: Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Purple Sandpiper, Razorbill, and Black Guillemot

Biddeford Pool is close to Biddeford, Maine, and is part of the East Point Sanctuary. Getting here requires following Highway 208 South before parking at Hattie’s Restaurant and walking carefully to the tide pool along the path. Once you’re here, you can see many different birds.

There are a few parking spots along this area, including at Orcutt Avenue and elsewhere. It’s free to visit, but you typically don’t get any professional assistance. Make sure that you have a spotting scope, hiking gear, and comfortable clothing to ensure you travel safely.

Furthermore, there are quite a few private areas in this area, meaning you need to pay close attention to property lines. Thankfully, most residents put up signs and fences that make it easier. Trespassing in these areas is not recommended, as there are plenty of public places you can visit.

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Acadia National Park

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Image By Plh1234usCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Address: PO Box 177, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
  • Cost: $30 for a day for a vehicle
  • Hours: Free
  • Phone: 207-288-3338
  • Birds you’ll see: Common Eider, Red-throated Loon, Great Cormorant, Black Guillemot, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Scoters, Osprey, Peregrine Falcons, and Bald Eagle

Acadia National Park is one of the most popular birding destinations in Maine. It is an extensive park with a variety of different environments, including coastlines, forests, and much more. As a result, Acadia gives you easy access to multiple birds, including some hard-to-spot species.

Though much of the park is limited in the winter, visitors can still come here and check out various bird species. Camping may not be permitted, so be prepared to stay in Bar Harbor. You can visit the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce in the winter to speak with park authorities about your visit.

If planning on staying at the park, make sure to get camping permits for each site, as well as licenses for climbing, research, and pets. The park provides on-site firewood and encourages people to use this option because bringing wood from elsewhere may spread invasive species.

Maine Birding Trail

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Birding Trail
Hairy Woodpecker
  • Address: Multiple destinations throughout Maine
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: N/A
  • Birds you’ll see: Atlantic Puffin, Terns, Guillemots, Gulls, Crows, Eagles, Albatross, American Robin, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Goldfish, and House Sparrow

The Maine Birding Trail includes 14 different trails spread throughout all of Maine. However, it splits these trails up into four distinct regions, including northern, western, coastal, and downeast areas, where you can spot a variety of other bird species, including some of the most popular in the state.

Each of these regions has different conditions and environments to consider. For example, downeast has large sections of blueberry fields, spruce and fir trees, and coastal areas. On the other hand, the northern region has many forest regions and is one of the most densely forested parts of the nation.

If you’re trying to spot puffins, this trail system is one of the best places to visit! Puffins live throughout the state, and you should easily spot them while on your trip. You can also try to spot whales in the coastal regions, though this can be tricky depending on the season.

Quoddy Head State Park

best places for birdwatching in Maine Quoddy Head State Park
Quoddy Head State Park
Image By It’sOnlyMakeBelieve, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Address: 973 South Lubec Road, Lubec, Maine 04652
  • Cost: $3 per Maine resident, $4 per non-Maine resident
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: 207-287-2400
  • Birds you’ll see: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Brown Creeper, Swainson’s Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, Nashville Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Lincoln’s Sparrow

Quoddy Head State Park is a 541-acre state park near a beautiful lighthouse, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. You can see multiple species along the vast coastal regions, including Osprey in the early summer and Northern Gannet in the late summer.

You can spot various species and visit areas like the lighthouse throughout the inland trails. Note that hunting occurs throughout this area during the fall season, so make sure that you wear safety gear when visiting the park.

The environment throughout this area can vary heavily depending on the region, with multiple unique shrubs, arctic zones, and much more. You can also see a coastal plateau bog or heath where many bird species like to live, mainly gulls that enjoy the wet area and its opportunity for fish.

Kennebunk Plains

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
  • Address: Near Kennebunk, Maine
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: N/A
  • Birds you’ll see: Ruffed Grouse, Least Flycatcher, Horned Lark, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Wild Turkey, Savannah Sparrow, Bobolink, Broad-winged Hawk, and Eastern Meadowlark

Kennebunk Plains is one of the most popular preserves in the state. Its 2,000-acre expanse includes beautiful trees, blueberry shrubs, and rare animals and plants. Visitors may spot various bird species with minimal difficulty, though some may get a bit harder to spot in some seasons.

These plains have minimal amenities and are public land that many people visit every year. As a result, it is vital to follow basic respect rules and etiquette concepts to avoid upsetting others. For instance, don’t leave trash behind and avoid getting in the way of other birders.

Thankfully, these plains are vast and include over 170 different species, meaning it should be easy to find almost any bird in Maine. Also, note that they spread over an expansive area around Kennebunk, Maine, so you can stay in that town if you plan on exploring for a few days.

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine black throated green warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Address: 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells, Maine 04090
  • Cost: $6 per adult when visiting the park
  • Hours: 10-3 pm
  • Phone: 207-646-1555
  • Birds you’ll see: Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wild Turkey, Alder Flycatcher, Veery, Nelson’s Sparrow Piping Plover, Willet, Least Tern, Common Tern, and Bobolink

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve is home to around 240 different bird species, which makes it a must-visit area for the birding enthusiast. Not far from Atlantic Coast regions, as well as various salt marshes, forests, and plains, it gives you plenty of places to visit.

Throughout the region, there are seven miles of trails, such as the Salt Marsh Loop, the Forest Interpretive Trail, and the Little River Trail. These destinations take you to beautiful viewing areas and provide you with plenty of chances to see beautiful birds in their natural habitat.

While visiting, you can also check out the Visitor Center to learn more about the park and the species in the area. Note that you can’t bring things like drones, pets, or bicycles to the park, nor can you camp or set fires while there. Follow these rules to enjoy your trip more fully.

Baxter State Park

Best places for birdwatching in Maine Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park
Image By Fredlyfish4CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Address: 64 Balsam Drive, Millinocket, Maine 04462
  • Cost: $16 entrance fee, $34 for tent camping, up to $142 for a six-person cabin: winter rates decrease
  • Hours: 8-4 pm
  • Phone: 207-723-5140
  • Birds you’ll see: Spruce Grouse, Philadelphia Vireo, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bicknell’s Thrush Northern Goshawk, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, and Northern Saw-whet Owl

Baxter State Park is a 326-square-mile region in northern Maine that protects various areas, such as the 5,269-foot Mount Katahdin. This mountain is easy to spot when visiting, as it sits right in the center of the park and is among the most beautiful mountains in the region.

You can explore over 200 miles of trails throughout the area and camp in multiple ways, including in inexpensive tent sites, bunkhouses, or cabins. In this way, you increase your chances of seeing bird species by immersing yourself in the environment and exploring at your leisure.

There are also available bathrooms for more comfort, benches and tables for outdoor dining, and much more. All of these options make this a lovely state park. Note you can also rent canoes and purchase bundled firewood while camping to make your trip even more fun.

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Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

Best places for birdwatching in Maine Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Address: 103 Headquarters Road Suite 1, Baring, Maine 04694
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 8-4 pm
  • Phone: 207-454-7161
  • Birds you’ll see: American Woodcock, American Black Duck, Tundra Swan, Osprey, Spruce Grouse, Ring-necked duck, Black-backed Woodpecker, Blue-headed Vireo, and Hermit Thrush

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge consists of a few different regions and provides access to multiple bird species. Boreal species as particularly popular here because it’s further away from the coastal regions than some other birding destinations, which gives you plenty of forest-based areas to explore.

There are multiple trails throughout this region, including a handicapped-accessible option. That trail is one of the most popular in the area because it’s one of the few that offers this amenity. As a result, it is an excellent place for older birdwatchers with limited mobility, as well as for more extensive trips with group homes.

The American Woodcock is the refuge’s specialty bird, as it flocks here in high numbers throughout April and May. This courtship flight is one of the largest in the nation and is a sight to behold. If you have yet to see the Woodcock or want to see thousands in one go, this is the park for you.

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Todd Wildlife Sanctuary

Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine Todd Wildlife Sanctuary
Blackburnian Warbler
  • Address: 12 Audubon Road, Bremen, Maine 04551
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Phone: N/A
  • Birds you’ll see: Blackburnian, Woodpeckers, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Black-Throated Green Warbler, Multiple Thrushes, and Various Nuthatches

Todd Wildlife Sanctuary includes a 30-acre mainland section and a further 330 acres on Hog Island, providing birding fans with plenty of unique places to visit. You will see second-growth spruce and fir, large oak trees, white pines, and comfortable plains areas where you can spot birds.

If you plan on visiting Hog Island to see some of the harder-to-find thrushes (which typically nest here), you need to bring your own boat. There are no ferries, and you’re allowed to launch and land on small vessels on the beach. There are no fees, but no one watches your boat while you’re there.

Thankfully, these areas are well maintained by park officials and include multiple trails. These are typically anywhere from a half mile to one mile on the mainland and five miles on Hog Island. In addition, there are benches where you can rest while walking, giving you time to refresh before spotting your favorite bird.

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Wrap Up- Best Places for Birdwatching in Maine

We hope these trails and spots inspire you for your next birdwatching adventure in Maine!

best places for birdwatching in Maine

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