Where To Go Birdwatching In The State Of Maine – Free & Paid Birding Options

May 13, 2021 // 11 minute read

Birding Locations » US » Birding in Maine

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Maine is such a fantastic state to visit and the birdwatching does not disappoint! Here is the ultimate resource for free and paid birding in Maine. You’ll find the best places to visit, hike, and learn more about your favorite Maine birds.

We’ve provided an in-depth look at the top free and paid birdwatching destinations throughout the region. By the way, click the link for a comprehensive buying guide for birdwatching binoculars under $100 with great information, and here is our birdwatching guide with resources, tips & advice. Are you looking for birding locations in neighboring states? Check out our New Hampshire birding and Massachusetts birding resources.

Did you know that the Black-Capped Chickadee is Maine’s state bird?

Black-Capped Chickadee In Tree
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photo credit: Veronika Andrews from Pixabay

Are you ready to find out more about the best places for bird watching in Maine? Keep reading to learn more about our best-kept secrets.

Bird Watching Destinations In Maine: Free Destinations

Are you visiting in the near future? You’ll soon discover the top free and paid bird-watching destinations in this magnificent state.

Scarborough Marsh – Free Bird Watching & Paid Guided Tours

This gorgeous bird-watching destination is located roughly 10 miles southwest of Portland, Maine. Here you’ll discover the largest expense of saltmarsh in the state, which also happens to be an amazing year-round destination for birding.

Location:

92 Pine Point Rd.
Scarborough, ME 04074
Phone: May – September: 207-883-5100
Phone: October – April: 207-781-2330

GPS: 43.5509° N, 70.3333° W

Hours Of Operation:

Scarborough Marsh is open daily between 9 AM and 5:30 PM starting on June 19, 2021. Prior to that, they will open on the weekends beginning on Memorial Day Weekend on May 29-31, June 5-6, and June 12-13.

  • Black-Crowned Night Heron
  • Roseate Tern
  • Green Heron
  • Snowy Egret
  • Common Tern
  • Least Tern
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • Bobolink
  • Nelson’s Sparrow
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Marsh Wren
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Loon
  • Grebe
  • Diving Duck
  • Little Blue Heron

Bird Walks 

In Scarborough Marsh, you can join in on a fun-filled bird walk that takes place every Wednesday morning until the end of September. The walk begins at the Nature Center, which provides an excellent opportunity to look at many beautiful birds. 

After the walk begins you’ll have the chance to check out many of the local hotspots including Dunstan Landing, Eastern Trail, Pelreco, or Pine Point.

Visitors are not required to register for the bird walk. But a $5 payment is necessary, so make sure you bring cash and exact change because otherwise, you will not get to go on the eye-opening and exciting bird walk.

Kennebunk Plains – Free Bird Watching & Hiking

This wonderful landscape consists of a protected 2000-acre property managed by the Kennebunk Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy. This protected land is home to the Northern Blazing Star, a flowering plant currently threatened with extinction. It’s also home to more than 170 species of your favorite birds.

Location:

Kennebunk Land Trust
6 Brown St.
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Phone: 207-985-8734

GPS: 43.3994° N, 70.6263° W 

Hours Of Operation:

Sunrise to sunset

  • Clay-Colored Sparrow
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Horned Lark
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Wild Turkey
  • Broad-Winged Hawk
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Northern Harrier
  • Black-Billed Cuckoo
  • Bobolink
  • Lark Bunting

Hiking Trails:

Kennebunk Plains has two major hiking trails in the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area for you to enjoy.

The first is known as the Kennebunk Plains Loop. The total length of the loop is 1.8 miles. It’s estimated that it takes 44 minutes to complete the loop walking at average speed.

The second major hiking trail is called the Kennebunk Plains Extended Loop. This trail is a total length of 4.1 miles. And it’s estimated that a person walking at average speed can complete the loop in one hour and 39 minutes.

Baxter State Park – Free Bird Watching & Hiking

Located in north-central Maine, this 326 square-mile state park is filled with beautiful wilderness and some of the most attractive scenic landscapes located in the northeast. If you’re looking to go bird watching within the boreal forest, you’ll find plenty of amazing bird species to watch and entertain you. This wonderful birding hotspot draws more than 63,000 visitors per year.

Location:

64 Balsam Dr., 
Millinocket, ME 04462
Phone: 207-723-5140

GPS: 46.0273° N, 68.9428° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open 24/7/365. The Reservation Office hours are as follows:

  • During the winter, it’s open on Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • During the summer, it’s open seven days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Yellow Bellied Flycatcher
  • White Winged Crossbill
  • Bay Breasted Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • American Three-Toed Woodpecker
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Merlin
  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Boreal Chickadee

Hiking Trails:

Overall, you get to explore over 200 miles of hiking trails when visiting Baxter State Park. The top 10 hiking trails in the region include:

  • Baxter Peak Via Saddle Trail – hard trail, 10.4 miles
  • Little and Big Niagara Falls the Appalachian Trail – easy trail, 2.3 miles
  • Mount Katahdin via Helon Taylor Trail – hard trail, 7.6 miles
  • Chimney Pond, Cathedral, Knife Edge and Helon Taylor Loop – hard trail, 8.1 miles
  • Chimney Pond Trail – moderate trail, 6.3 miles
  • Hunt and Helon Taylor Trail – hard trail, 17 miles
  • Hunt Trail – hard trail, 10.6 miles
  • Abol Trail – hard trail, 7.3 miles
  • Helon Taylor, Knife Edge, Saddle and Chimney Pond Trail – hard trail, 9.8 miles
  • Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop – hard trail, 10.9 miles

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge – Free Hiking & Bird Watching

This wildlife refuge is actually split up in two different parts that are about 20 miles apiece from each other. We’ll focus on the Baring Division, because it’s this location that delivers amazing birding experiences for anyone looking to see boreal and marsh birds in their natural habitat.

Location:

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
103 Headquarters Rd.
Baring, ME 04694
Phone: 207-454-7161

GPS: 45.0560° N, 67.2973° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge is open seven days a week. It opens a half hour before sunrise and closes a half hour after sunset.

  • Osprey
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Purple Finch
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Palm Warbler
  • Virginia Rail
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Sora
  • Bald Eagle
  • Black-Throated Blue Warbler
  • Black-Throated Green Warbler
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Ring-Necked Duck
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Bay-Breasted Warbler
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Boreal Chickadee 

Hiking Trails:

There are plenty of great hiking trails on the premises as well. 

Some popular choices include:

  • Woodcock Trail – this wheelchair accessible trail is only a quarter of mile long and it’s very easy to walk the entire distance in a few minutes.
  • Habitat trail – this trail is 1 ¼ miles long and it teaches about the proper ways to maintain a wildlife habitat.
  • Bird Walk – bird lovers will enjoy this quarter of a mile trail because it’s filled with more than 220 bird species.
  • 50 Miles Worth of Dirt Roads – refugee roads are located all throughout this wildlife refuge. And they are closed to vehicles, which make them perfect places to hike with family and friends as you soak in the wildlife.

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve – Free Hiking & Bird Watching

One of the best parts about this reserve is the number of bird species that can be found here. The protected habitat is the home of more than 240 beautiful birds. Visitors can walk through a saltmarsh loop and seven more miles of different trails.

Location:

342 Laudholm Farm Rd.
Wells, ME 04090
Phone: 207-646-1555

GPS: 43.3390° N, 70.5512° W

Hours Of Operation:

Hiking trails and restrooms open on March 18, 2021. All visitors are required to wear a mask on the Laudholm campus, in the parking lot, inside buildings, and in restrooms.

Restrooms and trails open at 7 AM and close at sunset.

  • Piping Plover
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Red-Necked Grebe
  • Common Eider
  • Least Tern
  • Wild Turkey
  • Bald Eagle
  • Great Egret
  • Nelson’s Sparrow
  • Black-Throated Green Warbler
  • Scoters
  • Willet
  • Osprey
  • Snowy Egret
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Bobolink

Hiking Trails:

Wells Reserve hosts a number of different free and paid walking tours throughout the year. Since this section is all about free bird watching, I’ll share the names of the free upcoming walking tours below. They include:

  • Wednesday Walks
  • Explore the Shore
  • Nature Walk
  • Secrets of the Saltmarsh Walk

Bird Watching Destinations In Maine: Paid Destinations

Acadia National Park – Entrance Fee Required

This stunning National Park is located in the heart of Maine. Its beautiful winding trails, rocky cliffs, and rugged shores are filled with northern hardwoods and conifer forests. You’ll also discover more than 230 species of birds throughout the region, which makes it an incredible place to go while birding in this majestic state. 

Location:

Hulls Cove Visitor Center
25 Visitor Center Rd.
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: 207-288-3338

GPS: 44.3386° N, 68.2733° W

Hours Of Operation:

Acadia National Park is always open, 24 hours a day, with few exceptions. They even remain open on all national holidays including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

  • Common Eider
  • Arctic Tern
  • Golden Crowned Kinglet
  • Ospreys
  • Black Guillemot
  • Red Breasted Nuthatch
  • Purple Finch
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Black Throated Green Warbler
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Pine Siskins
  • Common Murre
  • Sharp Shinned Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Bald Eagle
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Northern Harrier

Park Entrance Fee:

  • Per Person – $15
  • Per Private Vehicle – $30
  • Per Motorcycle – $25
  • Annual Pass – $55

Hiking Trails:

  • Cadillac Mountain – moderate trail, round-trip = 8 miles
  • Bar Island Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 2 miles
  • Jordan Pond Path – easy trail, round-trip = 3.3 miles
  • Ship Harbor Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 1.4 miles
  • Sand Beach and Great Head – moderate trail, round-trip = 1.7 miles
  • Ocean Path – easy trail, round-trip = 4 miles
  • Bowl Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 1.9 miles

Down East Nature Tours

Michael J. Good, founder of Down East Nature Tours, has been offering personalized tours for bird watching since 1993. You can go as an individual, a couple, a small group, or a family. The focus of these tours is to learn about fauna and flora in Down East and Northern Maine, but it also emphasizes watching majestic migratory and native birds including Flycatchers, Peregrine Falcons, Ospreys, and More.

Location: 

34 Cottage St. #4
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: 207-288-8128

Programs:

  • Discover the Native Birds of Mount Desert Island and Down East Main – Wood Warblers, Great Blue Heron, Pileated Woodpeckers, Peregrine Falcons
  • Escape to Down East Main – Razorbills, Puffins, Wood Warblers, Thrushes
  • Goldsboro Hills Birding Tour – Boreal Chickadees
  • and many others

Please visit their program page to learn more about all of their upcoming tours.

Cap’n Fish’s Cruises

This team of experts works diligently to provide a high-quality experience for all their customers. They have a tremendous history of conducting trips that are always very successful and puffins sightings happen quite frequently on this tour. They follow their migration patterns, so it becomes very easy to cite these amazing puffins in their natural environment.

Location:

42 Commercial St.
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Phone: 207-613-7339
Phone: 800-613-6638

Hours Of Operation:

Open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Programs:

Besides whale watching tours, Cap’n Fish’s Cruises also has an exciting Audubon Puffin and 

Scenic Cruise. This trip takes you all the way out to Eastern Egg Rock, where you can discover precisely how the National Audubon Society was able to recreate the puffin colony in the region. You’ll also see beautiful lighthouses and other exciting and interesting places.

Find out more about this cruise and others by visiting their program page.

Final Thoughts About Birdwatching In Maine

As you can see, there are plenty of awesome places in Maine for birdwatching enthusiasts to visit. When you visit Maine, or if you live in Maine and are looking for a new birding destination, you should check out the locations referenced here. They provide the best birdwatching opportunities available and you’ll definitely have a great time seeing local birds in their natural habitat with friends, family, coworkers, and other loved ones.

Maine Birdwatching Locations
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