Where there are birds, there will be birders – and with spring in full swing, Acadia National Park is an avian hotspot. So it’s no surprise that bird lovers from around the country will be converging for the 16th annual Acadia Birding Festival, held on May 29-June 1, 2014.
Set in a unique location – where land meets sea, and the boreal forest overlaps with eastern deciduous woodlands – Acadia is a patchwork of different habitat types, and as such it hosts an impressively diverse set of birds. Ranging from Atlantic Puffins to Boreal Chickadees to a rainbow array of warblers, more than 300 species have been recorded in and around the park.
The Acadia Birding Festival offers a chance to explore this bird haven with the expert guidance of 30 or so of Maine’s top birders. Its choose-your-own-adventure format allows participants to either register for the whole four-day festival or sign up for individual events. Festival-goers can do their birding on foot, by canoe, from the comfort of a van, or all of the above. They can also opt for a half-day voyage aboard the 112-foot catamaran Friendship V, chartered from the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., for a rare opportunity to go birding on the open ocean alongside knowledgeable guides.
Additional festival highlights include this year’s keynote addresses by birding luminaries Jeffrey Gordon, the president of the American Birding Association, and Greg Miller, the real-life counterpart of Jack Black’s character in the 2011 Hollywood film “The Big Year.” (Miller once competed with two other ace birders – portrayed in the film by Steve Martin and Owen Wilson – to see the most North American bird species in a year; all three broke the astonishing 700 mark.)
In between lectures and excursions, festival participants can take part in workshops to sharpen their birding skills, socialize over a lobster feast, peruse vendor booths, and more. For more information about getting a birder’s-eye view of Acadia National Park this spring, visit www.acadiabirdingfestival.com. Participants are asked to preregister online.