Articles by Chris Corio


A birding trip that doesn’t go as expected

By Chris Corio on Aug. 19, 2011, at 3:32 p.m.
A birding trip with a friend this past weekend to look for migrating shorebirds didn’t turn out quite as planned. It would have, had I paid closer attention to the tide schedule (and my own). A receding tide, which exposes mud and sand flats to the probing beaks of hungry …

Breeding, migration seasons mixing

By Chris Corio on Aug. 12, 2011, at 2:19 p.m.
The waxing month of August heralds many changes in bird populations. Shorebird migration is in full swing, having started back in July, and there are reports of gathering songbirds and appearances of warblers not normally seen in certain areas during the breeding season. For other birds the breeding season is …

One good tern gets its supper

By Chris Corio on Aug. 05, 2011, at 4:18 p.m.
Living close to the ocean has many advantages. In my case, it does a lot to support my hobby of bird-watching as there is almost always something to observe; the sea supports a variety of birds and lately it has been teeming with life. About a month ago I began …

Feathered friends bring neighborhood together

By Chris Corio on July 16, 2011, at 11:58 a.m.
I’ve always been more of a country and nature girl than a city girl. But there is something to be said for having a good neighborhood around you, especially when it includes people who share your interests. A few weeks back, I was reminded of this while out on my …

Sounds an important identifier for feathered friends

By Chris Corio on July 01, 2011, at 5:05 p.m.
I heard the song, it took me a minute to place it and I almost couldn’t believe my ears. I hadn’t heard it in years, and a neighborhood is the last place I’d expect to hear it. The maker of this song is a bird of northern spruce-fir forests. In fact, if I …

A fruit-tree filled with songbirds

By Chris Corio on June 10, 2011, at 2:05 p.m.
It was one of those moments that birders covet but can never really expect to have — at least not 100 percent.  Birds being what they are — quick and highly mobile, and dependent upon conditions such as wind, cloud cover and temperature, which in turn affects many of their food …

Return of the raptors

By Chris Corio on April 22, 2011, at 10:34 p.m.
As April in Maine creeps along, the trickle of returning migrants has become a steady stream. Ducks, herons and egrets are increasing in number, and we have an out-of-range trumpeter swan in Biddeford. Sparrows multiply daily, and even swallows and the first warblers, as well as other songbirds, are making an …

Turkey vultures’ appearance betrays their significance

By Chris Corio on April 15, 2011, at 8:46 p.m.
Waiting for the light to turn green at an intersection, I glanced at the sky when two dark birds high up caught my attention. I quickly identified them as turkey vultures based on their mode of flight: Due to the positioning of their wings, which arc up from their bodies in …

Familiar sounds herald onset of spring

By Chris Corio on April 08, 2011, at 5:13 p.m.
As is always the case at this time of year — especially in Maine — I rely more on the behavior of wild birds as an indication of the season rather than on current climate conditions. The first full day of spring brought a few inches of wet, heavy snow and …

Cemetery walk yields bird sightings

By Chris Corio on Feb. 18, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.
Arelatively mild break in a frigid weather pattern recently brought me to Evergreen Cemetery in Portland for a walk with a friend. She had explained it was a great place to walk during the winter as the roads bisecting it are kept clear of snow and ice. Its 239 acres, …

A visit from an old friend: the sparrow

By Chris Corio on Feb. 12, 2011, at 7:58 p.m.
The calls reached me across the snowy meadow, sweet little notes that sounded as if they were drifting through the air from different directions. It was hard to tell if they were coming from the trees to the left of me or from a thicket of shrubs straight ahead. It …

Birds still come out despite cold conditions

By Chris Corio on Jan. 28, 2011, at 6:46 p.m.
A biting onshore wind brought tears to my eyes as I ran into it, and I upped my pace in an effort to keep the cold at tolerable levels. I had wanted to take advantage of the late-day light and go for a short run, as I had been indoors …

Saw-whet steals educators’ show

By Chris Corio on Jan. 24, 2011, at 11:07 p.m.
The little saw-whet owl and I peered intently into each other’s eyes as she perched barely 6 inches from my face. She seemed to be studying me, sizing me up, and I found myself wondering whether I passed muster. After a few more moments of silent communion, the owl turned …

Rare goose a first for bird count

By Chris Corio on Dec. 24, 2010, at 5:01 p.m.
Thin bands of altostratus clouds were turning pink and gold in the eastern sky as the sun began to rise on the cold morning of Dec. 18 — the day of National Audubon’s 111th Christmas Bird Count in Greater Portland. We had started our count at the Falmouth Town Landing. …

New year, new start for bird seeking

By Chris Corio on Dec. 17, 2010, at 7:13 p.m.
As birdwatchers go, I tend to be more laid-back than some. When I first took up the hobby more than 10 years ago, I was quite passionate and more involved in the birding community than I have been of …

Gillys, mergansers make for a good outing

By Chris Corio on Nov. 26, 2010, at 7:33 p.m.
It was late in the afternoon as I went in search of seabirds in the waters of Casco Bay.

Seabirds cooperate on coastal trek

By Chris Corio on Nov. 19, 2010, at 8:34 p.m.
Short trips to good birding spots in the area yielded some great results recently.

Generalist habits good for survival of plover variety

By Chris Corio on Oct. 29, 2010, at 7:03 p.m.
A walk on my local beach isn’t always conducive to good bird sightings, unless conditions are just right. Those conditions usually include low or midtide, cool weather (thus the absence of beach-goers) and the absence of dogs. Only two of those conditions were met the last time I birded along …

Springlike weather brings out the birds

By Chris Corio on Oct. 22, 2010, at 7:43 p.m.
The springlike weather we had last weekend seemed just right for birding a few choice spots.

The familiar sound of the ‘butterbutt’

By Chris Corio on Oct. 15, 2010, at 8:05 p.m.
It was a gorgeous fall day, the slight chill in the air lessened by the bright sun shining from a sky streaked with wispy cirrus “mare’s tails” clouds. I was walking during my lunch break at work, hoping to see some interesting birds. I wasn’t disappointed. The pathway I was …