‘Feathers over Freeport’ to feature activities for families and avid birders alike

The fourth annual “Feathers over Freeport” will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27. The event is designed to appeal to birdwatchers of all abilities, especially families and children, according to a recent press release.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki A family looks at a loon display on Saturday, April 30, 2011, during the first "Feathers Over Freeport" weekend-long bird-watching festival at the picnic area of Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki
A family looks at a loon display on Saturday, April
30, 2011, during the first “Feathers Over Freeport” weekend-long
bird-watching festival at the picnic area of Bradbury Mountain State
Park in Pownal.

The two-day event will feature a wide variety of activities and presentations, including live-bird presentations, bird walks for adults and children, a hawk watch workshop and numerous children’s activities.

Events will be held at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal and Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport. Here’s a complete list of the events, starting with Bradbury Mountain State Park:

Saturday, April 26, Bradbury Mountain State Park, 528 Hallowell Road in Pownal

  • 8-10 a.m. Bird Walk:All levels of expertise welcome. Bring your own binoculars. Walk lead by Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply, and others. Meet at the group picnic shelter.
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Educational Displays: Get bird posters while they last, courtesy of the Maine Wildlife Park and Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Taste bird-friendly Birds & Beans coffee. Start planning your summer visits to Maine parks by picking up a Maine Park Passport – a handy pocket-size guide to the parks. Located at the picnic shelter.
  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Hawk Watch: Join a raptor biologist on the top of Bradbury Mountain. Learn how experts observe, identify and count all raptor and vulture species that fly past Bradbury Mountain. Hike to summit is 1/4-mile and steep. Sponsored by Freeport Wild Bird Supply.
  • 10-11 a.m. Bird Walk for Children: Join a naturalist on this beginning bird walk designed just for kids (children must be accompanied by parents or adults over 18). We will help you learn some of the basics of identifying birds. Led by Patty Bailey, retired interpretive specialist of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Meet at the picnic shelter.

  • Courtesy of Freeport Wild Bird Supply People watch for hawks at the top of Bradbury Mountain in Pownal during the 2nd Annual "Feathers Over Freeport."

    Courtesy of Freeport Wild Bird Supply
    People watch for hawks at the top of Bradbury Mountain in Pownal during the 2nd Annual “Feathers Over Freeport.”

    10 a.m.-noon Hawk Watch Workshop: Find out what is so intriguing about hawk watching. Join us on the summit of Bradbury Mountain for an introduction to this facet of bird watching as we cover the basics, such as why we’re all standing around on this particular hill and how we conduct our research. Bring your own binoculars. Program led by Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply. Meet at the summit. Hike to summit is 1/4-mile and steep.

  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Super Saturday Ice Cream Feast: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream scooped up and served, while supplies last, by park volunteers. Ice cream donated by Ben & Jerry’s.
  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Birding Fun & Games: Build a bird house or make a backyard bird feeder while supplies last. Program led by Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands staff and volunteers. Located near picnic shelter and the playground.
  • 1-2 p.m. Live birds presentation “Birds of Prey, Including an Eagle!”: a presentation by Hope Douglas of Wind Over Wings that will feature a golden eagle, American kestrel, red-tailed hawk and a raven who thinks he is a bird of prey. Their stories will be told along with the natural history of each species. Sponsored by L.L.Bean. Held at the picnic shelter.
  • 2:30-4 p.m. Vernal Pool Exploration: Wading into the Woodland Waters: Vernal pools are temporary water bodies which fill from spring snowmelt and rains and provide breeding habitat for amphibians including wood frogs, spotted salamanders and invertebrates such as fairy shrimp. Join wetland scientist Dave Brenneman from Boyle Associates and enjoy wading in the water. We will learn how to identify a vernal pool and the critters that live in them. Be prepared for wet conditions and wear appropriate footwear such as tall boots or “Wellies.” Meet at the picnic shelter.

Sunday, April 27, Bradbury Mountain State Park, 528 Hallowell Road in Pownal

  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Hawk Watch: Join a raptor biologist on the top of Bradbury Mountain. Learn how experts observe, identify and count all raptor and vulture species that fly past Bradbury Mountain. Hike to summit is 1/4-mile and steep. Sponsored by Freeport Wild Bird Supply.

Sunday, April 27, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, 426 Wolf Neck Road in Freeport

  • 8-10 a.m. Bird Walk: All levels of expertise welcome. Bring your own binoculars. Walk lead by Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply, and others. Meet at the group picnic shelter.
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Educational Displays: Get bird posters, while they last, courtesy of the Maine Wildlife Park and Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Taste bird-friendly Birds & Beans coffee. Start planning your summer visits to Maine parks by picking up a Maine Park Passport – a handy pocket-size guide to the parks. Located at the group picnic shelter.
  • 10-11 a.m. Bird Walk for Children: Join a naturalist on this beginning birdwalk designed just for kids (children must be accompanied by parents or adults over 18). We will help you learn some of the basics of identifying birds. Led by David Rodrigues of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Meet at the group picnic shelter.
  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Osprey Watch: Get a close look at nesting ospreys through our spotting scope. Stop by for a quick look or stay as long as you like to ask questions and learn about their life story. Presented by park manager Andrew Hutchinson and park staff. Meet at the osprey sign across from Googins Island via either the White Pines Trail or Casco Bay Trail.
  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Birding Fun & Games: Learn to sing like a bird and birding basics through games, hands-on activities and crafts designed for children and families of beginning birders. On-going activities held in the field near the group picnic shelter. Program led by Maine Bureau of Parks and Public Lands staff and volunteers.
  • 11 a.m.-noon Springtime Plant Walk: Join us for a one-hour stroll to locate and identify common early spring plants of Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. Led by Michael Auger, avid botanist, Maine native and Director of Stewardship of the Androscoggin Land Trust. Meet at the group picnic shelter.
Courtesy of Freeport Wild Bird Supply A golden eagle captivates a crowd during a live bird presentation during the 2nd Annual Feathers Over Freeport in 2012.

Courtesy of Freeport Wild Bird Supply
A golden eagle captivates a crowd during a live bird presentation during the 2nd Annual Feathers Over Freeport in 2012.

  • 1-2 p.m. Live birds presentation “Birds of Prey, Including an Eagle!”: Presentation by Hope Douglas of Wind Over Wings. Meet a little Eastern screech-owl; a bird considered most intelligent of birds, the common raven; a beautiful American kestrel (falcon); and the king of all birds, the golden eagle. Wind Over Wings is a nonprofit environmental education service featuring magnificent birds unable to survive in the wild due to injury. Each bird is an individual and each has a story. Held at the picnic shelter.
  • 2:30-4 p.m. Tracks & Signs of Maine Wildlife: Learn how and where to look for tracks and sign from Joe Wiley, wildlife biologist, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Meet at the group picnic shelter.

The two-day event is sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Freeport Wild Bird Supply. Park entry fees apply; all programs and activities included with park admission. For information, visit http://www.maine.gov/feathersoverfreeport or call Bradbury Mountain State Park at 688-4712 or Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park at 865-4465.

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Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.