Houlton Region

Houlton Rotarians learn what it is like to be bird watchers

HOULTON, Maine – How often do you ever take the time to notice the other species around you that are busy working and going on with life right next to us each day? 

Sometimes it is forgotten that we share the planet with so many other beings. For instance, there are 400 billion birds in this world and 18,000 different species. Maine has 292 species along with others that pass through occasionally. That’s a lot of variety to be on the lookout for.

On Nov. 4, Houlton Rotarian Devon Cote spoke at the weekly Rotary luncheon about his hobby with bird watching and photography. Cote, who is the branch manager of Houlton’s KeyBank, holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and was asked by Rotarian Meg York to speak on this topic.

Cote explained to us the importance of the different birds in our ecosystem. There are those birds that help with wildlife population control, others that pollinate and act as seed dispersers, and then those that are builders such as the woodpecker; creating homes for other species while eating their lunch.

Depending on where you are in Maine will determine which types of birds you could be finding. There are shorebirds, seabirds, songbirds, raptors, wading birds, waterfowl birds, and game birds. 

Did you know that loons can’t fly very well? They don’t have hollow bones like other birds, so they tend to only go to the ocean on their travels south. They also don’t walk very well due to where their legs are located on their body. Now you know.

If you are interested in seeing more birds and want to pull out your binoculars, February to May is spring migration season. May to June is breeding season, and August to November is fall migration season. If your interested in joining a birding group, there is a local group Aroostook  Birders that will be doing different activities. 

One activity Cote mentioned was the Christmas Bird Count. Those who want to attract more songbirds to their house to watch this winter, they enjoy sunflower seeds, oats, unsalted peanuts, and fruit. Happy watching and listening!

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