Downeast Audubon Birdathon 2023 


It's hard to believe that the 2023 Downeast Audubon Birdathon is over! This spring is certainly flying by!
Here are the results in chronological order:

Tuesday, May 23: The Orchard Orioles (Tim Skillin, Molly DellaRoman, Susan Guilford, and Katherine Strater) visited seven local organic farms to walk their beautiful open spaces and tally the birdlife. They ended the day with 70 species, and confirmed that ecologically managed farms can be productive for both birds and farmers. Highlights were a Wilson’s Warbler at 5-Star Orchard, close-ups of a flock of Red Crossbills feeding young at Carding Brook Farm, seven Bald Eagles soaring over the Blueberry fields at Stoneset Farm, Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows in nest boxes at Blue-zee Farm, lots of Killdeer and Bobolinks at Horsepower and King Hill Farms, and big numbers of Savannah Sparrows nesting in the chicken pasture at Rainbow Farms.  Above all, though, was the opportunity to chat with all the wonderful host farmers who readily shared their love and appreciation for the natural spaces they manage.


Tuesday, May 23-Wednesday, May 24:  Team Wing-Nuts (Sue Shaw, Nancy Patterson, Maggie Williams, Sherrie Downing and Laurie Yntema) had two beautiful, albeit windy and cold, days for their birdathon this year.  Starting in the afternoon at Nancy’s camp in Ellsworth with an American Crow and ending on Sears Island the following day with a Yellow-rumped Warbler, the team’s species list totaled 88.  Although short of the target 102, the ‘Nuts had a wonderful 24 hours of birding filled with friendship, laughter and camaraderie.  Cheri Domina was sorely missed, but she will be back in ’24, when once again the search for 102 species will resume!

Thursday, May 25:  The Acadian Flycatchers (Rich MacDonald, Don Lima, Kyle Lima, Roberta Sharp, Katherine Strater, Greg Benz and Donna Reis) had a great day and tallied 105 species, making their third highest count since they started in '05. Rich has been tracking all the birds they have observed during the MDI birdathon over the years and the magic number is 179! Brown Thrasher and Red Crossbill were new to the list this year. Rich started at midnight, biking in the Wildlands and met the rest of his team later on MDI. Colder temperatures and windy conditions meant that they missed some expected species like Common Nighthawk and American Woodcock.

Thursday, May 25-Friday, May 26:  The Lame Ducks (Leslie Clapp, Zach Holderby, Ann Brayton, Cathy Rees and newcomer James Longo) put in 21 hours of fairly aggressive birding this year, trying to beat the 2019 record of 126 species. They succeeded with a total of 129! They started their Big Day "across the bridge" at Sandy Point, continued by bicycle (and scooter!) on Sears Island, then eventually settled down in tents in the Wildlands for 3 hours of sleep. The cold dawn came early and the team found themselves paddling on breezy Muskrat Bog by 4:30am. Stops in Surry, Blue Hill, Brooksville, Sedgwick and Brooklin were made before finishing up on Deer Isle. The highlight was finding the Chuck-will's-widow singing in Leslie's yard! The bird hadn't been heard in the Wildlands for days, and what a coincidence one (the same one?) chose to hang out in Blue Hill for a couple days!              

Saturday, May 27: Becky's Biking Birdathon (Becky Marvil) started at 4:30am and ended at 5:30pm with 79 species.  She biked 20 miles and walked 7 miles around Yarmouth, and this year she also added some paddling! She kayaked 5.5 miles on the Cousins River out to Casco Bay. She had a lovely, sunny day in southern Maine before heading to MDI to head up the Acadia Birding Festival. Way to go Becky!

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL TEAMS! A more complete report will appear in our fall newsletter.

So far the chapter has brought in $31,135, exceeding our $25,000 goal for this year.  If you made a pledge to one of the teams, now is the time to send in your donation!  If you haven't contributed yet, PLEASE consider making a donation to help us fund our important education programs, provide nature camp scholarships and continue our conservation projects. Giving is easy!  Go to and push the DONATE BUTTON on our home page or send in a check to PO Box 1212, Ellsworth, ME, 04605 and please note the team you would like to sponsor!