19th Annual
Acadia Birding Festival

Mount Desert Island
Bar Harbor, Maine
(Acadia National Park)
Keynote Speakers 2017:
Pete Dunne, Nancy McAllister, and Luke Seitz
June 1-4, 2017

Don't miss our special dedicated PELAGIC SEABIRD BOAT TRIP - Saturday morning (June 3, 2017).


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   2016 Bird Lists
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   2010 Festival Report
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   2006 Festival Report

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Bruce Barker began watching birds as a young boy growing up in Portland, Maine in the 1950s. After a brief hiatus during the mid to late teen years, his interest was rekindled after enrolling in an ornithology class in 1972 at the University of Maine, Orono. Over the years, he has participated in Breeding Bird Surveys, the Maine Breeding Bird Atlas, "point count" surveys, and Christmas Bird Counts, as well as leading and co-leading bird walks. He has a particular interest in songs and calls. His work involves supporting people with developmental disabilities and teaching karate part-time. He recently jointed the 21st century by opening a gmail account and signing up for eBird. Bruce lives in Dixmont, Maine with his wife. He has three daughters and four grandchildren, all who currently live in Maine."

Seth Benz lists Gray Catbird and Rough-legged Hawk as "Spark Birds". These species, encountered in childhood, continue to inspire a career steeped in conservation science and ecological literacy. Currently, he heads up the Schoodic Bird Ecology Lab at Acadia National Park, where he combines research and education on bird migration with the study of nature's sequencing of events - phenology - which engages people of all ages in Citizen Science. Seth has worked at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Hog Island Audubon Camp, Audubon Expedition Institute, Project Puffin, Acadia National Park, and Schoodic Education and Research Center. After growing up in Berks County, Pennsylvania, he now lives in Belfast, Maine where he launched Bird Bus tours for the city, and leads trips for Road Scholar, University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Waldo County YMCA, and serves as a volunteer for the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.

Jim Bright has been a commercial lobsterman for forty years. His time on the ocean and his love of the outdoors, in general, has made him a keen observer of Mother Nature. It was the visit of a Green-Violet-Ear Hummingbird to his porch feeder that connected him to the world of avid birders, and the fun has not stopped since. Trips to Arizona and Florida have been made but Jim’s favorite birding spots are the outer islands off the coast of Maine. Jim and his wife, Harriet, live on Mount Desert Island, but still maintain a family home on Little Cranberry Island.

Chris Brown has been an active birder from a very young age; he maintains that among his earliest memories is the first bird he identified without use of a field guide: a Brown-headed Cowbird in his suburban New Jersey backyard, around the age of 5. After beginning his college career at the University of Montana, Chris took several years to gain experience through biological field work. This chapter of his life led him through jobs in 10 states and with multiple bird observatories, including breeding bird surveys in Montana, bird and habitat surveys in several other Rocky Mountain States, breeding bird atlas work in Ohio and counting migrating hawks and seabirds in Cape May and Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  He is now a professional guide with Wildside Nature Tours.

Edison Buenaño was born in Riobamba, Ecuador, and earned his degree in Tourism Management and has been working as a birding guide for over twelve years. His passion is birding, and his knowledge of bird vocalizations is second to none! He guides Wildside trips in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Edison is fluent in English, French and, of course, Spanish.

Bruce Cole has had a lifelong interest in wildlife and ecology with a particular curiosity for birds. It all started when his grandmother pointed out a Golden-crowned Kinglet in a nearby hemlock tree. Encouraged from childhood with books including the Golden Press guide to "Familiar Birds of North America" and a curious little book on raptors which referred to the Merlin as the "Pigeon Hawk," the fascination grew. Bruce works here in Maine as an RN, enjoys being outside in his spare time. He states he is interested in every bird he sees and hears, from the common and widespread to the rare vagrant.

Bob Duchesne
became interested in birds in the first grade. Interest grew to passion and today Bob is one of Maine’s top birding experts. He is Vice President of Audubon’s Penobscot Valley Chapter in the Bangor area. Bob is a frequent tour leader and has led trips from Atlantic Canada to the Florida Everglades. In 2009, Bob completed development of the Maine Birding Trail and has authored a guidebook for the state, published on Down East Books. He currently writes a weekly birding column for the Bangor Daily News. Bob recently began a fifth term as a member of the Maine House of Representatives, where he serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and helps direct state environmental policy.

Toni Evans divides her time between Brookeville, Maryland and Goose Cove, Maine. She is happiest out of doors and loves every aspect of the natural world. She got hooked on birding at Earlham college where she graduated with a BA in Biology. As a teacher she helped lead student trips to the Peruvian Amazon multiple times. She has traveled throughout the US, Galapagos, Kenya, South Africa, Europe, Panama, and Ireland, bins at the ready. She likes to say that birding is like Christmas morning, there's a gift waiting every time you go out.

Josh Fecteau is a self-taught naturalist who is particularly passionate about observing birds. He grew up in Biddeford, ME, spent a decade in Massachusetts where he dove into nature-based learning, and returned to Maine in 2013 with a deeper appreciation of the coastal and inland sites he explored in his youth. He's been publishing a nature blog and leading bird and plant walks since 2012 and enjoys working with individuals and small groups interested in getting to know their natural surroundings. Josh and his partner Jenny live in Kennebunkport where they can often be found eating wild foods alongside their feathered friends.


Don Freiday currently runs his own eco-tour, writing, photography and consulting business. He has been a wildlife professional for 32 years, with a career including the Cape May Bird Observatory; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; NJ Audubon; Rutgers U.; Hunterdon County, NJ Parks; and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. Specialized in the human dimensions of wildlife conservation, Don also has substantial habitat management, academic, and wildlife research experience. Don operated a MAPS banding station for many years, is a past member of the NJ Bird Records Committee, past editor of Records of New Jersey Birds, and a current board member of the NJTWS. Don has traveled to 24 states, 11 countries, and 5 continents, mostly as a birding tour leader. He has written over 1000 articles, 2 books and 3,000 blog posts, virtually all on some aspect of nature. His free-time pursuits include birding, hunting, photography, traditional archery, canoeing, kayaking and training his Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Daniel Boone. He is especially proud of his three adult children. His blog can be found at http://freidaybird.blogspot.com/ .

Michael J. Good, MS. Biologist/naturalist, President of Down East Nature Tours in Bar Harbor, Maine and Founder of Warblers and Wildflowers Festival (1998-2007), Acadia Birding Festival (2008-present) and the Penobscot Watershed Eco Center, Bar Harbor. He has over 30 years experience studying the birds of North America and brings a wealth of knowledge about Neotropical migrants and the avifauna of the Eastern United States. Michael has traveled extensively in the US, Alaska, Europe, Australia, South America and Cuba. He is a regional business leader promoting sound ecologically practices in business, government and land development. A Registered Maine Guide, Michael has been guiding professionally for many years through his company Down East Nature Tours focusing on avian ecology in the Gulf of Maine. In his spare time he maintains Three Pines Bird Sanctuary in Town Hill, Maine, studying micro-habitat of Neotropical migratory birds on Mount Desert Island, Maine and winter ecology in various Neotropical countries when given the opportunity.

Margot Haertel grew up as a National Park Service “brat”. She learned about birding from an early age, because her mother was an avid birder. Living in National Parks like Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Glacier Bay, Big Bend, Isle Royale, Mt. Rainier, and the Lava Beds in Northern California, she had many opportunities to see and identify lots of birds. Moving to Acadia from Lake Clark N.P in Alaska with her husband Paul, gave her an opportunity to see all those “other warblers.” Alaska doesn’t have many. She and Paul teach birding classes for Acadia Senior College introducing local “Seniors” to the joys of bird watching and much more. She says she wished she had paid more attention to birds when she was a teenager, but because of her mother’s insistence on hiking to Boot Springs in Big Bend, she can say, “Colima warbler? Got that!”

 Paul Haertel - From the time he was quite young Paul watched his uncle, Harold, carve decoys, waterfowl and shorebirds. Perhaps this and his dad’s love of the outdoors led to Paul’s passions for outdoor activities and a career with the National Park Service. His career included ranger and park management positions within some of our best national park treasures. In 1994, he was reassigned from Alaska to Maine, as the Superintendent of Acadia National Park and he retired in 2002. Today, he continues to appreciate and enjoy a broad array of outdoor activities with birding and bird study being an important part of each day’s activity.

Ed Hawkes, of Bar Harbor is a master bird carver and avid birder watcher. He started birding at the age of twelve in Southern Maine. And since moving to Mount Desert Island in 1977, Ed has become well-acquainted with his backyard, Acadia National Park, and has served for 12 years as a volunteer ranger with the park's Peregrine Watch in the spring/summer and Hawk Watch in the fall. After retiring from teaching, Ed has found more time to pursue his lifetime fascination with birds. And while birding, his thoughts quickly turn to creating his lifelike wooden sculptures, with such fine detail you expect them to take flight. Whether birding or carving, one passion feeds the other. Ed and his wife, Debbie, regularly lead birding hikes for their Downeast Audubon Chapter. And leisure time means off birding -- whether on Mount Desert Island or further afield such as recent trips to Florida, Arizona, Southern California, Alaska, Newfoundland, and Costa Rica.

Debbie Hawkes, of Bar Harbor works as a paralegal at Smith & Collier Law Firm in Bar Harbor. She retired from the board of the Downeast Chapter of Maine Audubon after serving as chapter president for eleven years. Like her husband, Ed, Debbie is always birding -- while on her noon exercise walks, biking the carriage trails of Acadia National Park, tending her flower gardens, or perhaps off following a 'hot bird' report. She and Ed, regularly lead birding hikes for their Downeast Chapter. And when Debbie takes time off from her job, they are off birding -- on Mount Desert Island or further afield such as recent trips to Florida, Arizona, Southern California, Alaska, Newfoundland, and Costa Rica.

Billy Helprin Billy is the Director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary (right behind Festival Center in Somesville). Before working for the Sanctuary, Billy was the Mt. Desert Island Steward for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, managing Preserve properties and monitoring many conservation easements. He has a Master of Science degree from Utah State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Billy has enjoyed leading wildlife explorations and studies in the Rocky Mountain region for Great Plains Wildlife Institute, the Teton Science School, and Abercrombie and Kent; and in Kenya for the School for Field Studies. He has been involved with avian research and inventory projects in Ohio, Maine, Wyoming and Guatemala. Whenever possible, Billy enjoys getting out with friends or on his own to see and hear which bird species are nearby and what they are up to.

Doug Hitchcox, a Maine native, grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. The year he graduated, he travelled to every corner of the state trying to observe as many species as possible in what is known as a ‘Big Year.’ He ended the year having seen 314 species in the state, a new record for Maine. Throughout college Doug worked at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center running their store and leading walks and tours. Doug was hired as Maine Audubon’s Staff Naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job” for him. In his free time, Doug is one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv, York County Audubon board member, and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

When Casey Hynes turned fourteen he went to work at a Wild Bird Center, and a part-time job turned into a profession and passion almost two decades later. His interest and knowledge of birds was cultivated at his brother's elbow, usually much too early in the morning or much too late in the evening for his tastes. Casey loves living in Maine because of the incredible natural beauty that can be found everywhere around the state, and loves the diversity of bird species that can be found in Maine's northern forest and along (and off) its coast. He was a member of the Maine Big Day record setting team in 2010. Casey has had a Northern Shrike in his yard TWICE, and he thinks that's pretty swell.

Craig Kesselheim lives in Southwest Harbor on MDI, and has been birding ever since he was hooked by a college ornithology course in 1973. He has lived and birded elsewhere in North America, but Craig has been a Maine-based birder for about 25 years. He currently logs most of his birding time and eBird lists in Acadia NP, although his work requires extensive travel throughout the State (what a perk!). Craig is a big fan of citizen science and eBird. Professionally, Craig is a career educator employed by the Great Schools Partnership in Portland, Maine.

David Ladd became interested in Birds in the mid 1980s while working on agricultural pesticide studies in the mid-west. This experience prompted almost every vacation since then to have an element of birding associated in it. David has traveled extensively through Mexico and Central America birding and backpacking. He currently lives in Oakland and as an “empty nester” is once again able to ramp up his wildlife photography and birding activities.

Erin Lehnert - An Upper Michigan native, Erin has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Ecology and has pursued her dream job as a wildlife biologist. She has always had a passion for all creatures great and small, and her love for birds has sent her to work in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges across the country. Erin's work with birds has seen her counting raptors, banding owls, conducting breeding bird surveys, and studying nesting success for Piping Plovers, Loons, Peregrine Falcons, and a variety of wading birds. Erin currently works as a Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but she also likes to travel and see as many new birds, ecosystems, and places as she can! She is already looking forward to the next big adventure, is happiest exploring new environments with a pair of binoculars in her hands, and hopes to bring her enthusiasm for nature to the people she meets on the way!

Adrienne Leppold recently graduated from UMaine with a PhD where she was co-director of the Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network and for her doctorate investigated patterns of songbird migration in the Gulf of Maine, specifically, the environmental, physiological, and behavioral aspects of different migration strategies as they relate to regional weather patterns and geographic characteristics. She is a master bander and, before coming to Maine, operated one of the largest and longest-running banding stations in the country. Following multiple seasons working as part of Maine Coastal Islands NWR seabird restoration team, she turned her focus back on to landbird migration. She has just accepted a position working for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as their new songbird specialist.

Don Lima has been an avid birdwatcher ever since his grandfather first gave him a pair of binoculars at age 8. He pursued his passion of wildlife and the outdoors at the University of Maine, Orono, where he received his B.S. in Wildlife Management in 1986. He soon began a career that has, so far, spanned 28 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which has allowed extensive opportunities tolive, travel and bird all over the U.S. Don has conducted restoration projects in grassland and saltmarsh habitats, waterfowl banding for the USFWS and Black Duck Joint Venture, point count surveys, and was an active member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s, Partners for Wildlife Program. His greatest passion is continuing to share his love of birds, wildlife and being outdoors with his sons.

Kyle Lima first discovered his love of birds on a family trip to Florida in 2012; he's been hooked ever since! Kyle has always loved animals and the outdoors since he was old enough to remember. He is currently studying Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine in Orono, planning to form a life-long career focusing on conserving and studying birds and other wildlife. Kyle spends his free time studying birds, birding as much as possible, learning about other animals and plants, taking photos, and simply enjoying nature. He also enjoys participating in numerous citizen science projects, volunteering with various bird research projects, and working for the University of Maine in Orono on a Spruce Grouse study in northwestern Maine.

Kristen Lindquist  is a published poet and freelance writer with a monthly natural history column in the Pen Bay Pilot. She regularly leads bird walks for various nonprofit organizations around the state. She is a past member of the Maine Bird Records Committee, past board member of Friends of Maine's Seabird Islands, and a member of the Conservation Commission in her hometown of Camden.

Kevin Loughlin was raised to appreciate nature while exploring the woodlands of Pennsylvania as a child. At age six, during a family trip through the American West, Kevin became fascinated with photography as well seeing the new and different birds throughout North America. Instilled with a love for travel and seeking new, exciting destinations he felt a desire to share his experiences with others and in 1993 Wildside Nature Tours was founded. Kevin teaches beginning birding and beginning nature photography classes through several adult education venues as well as through seminars and workshops for groups, organizations and schools. Currently the vice president of the Birding Club of Delaware County, Kevin also founded the PA Young Birder’s Club, sharing his love of nature while inspiring kids to get outside.

Becky Marvil lives with her family in Yarmouth, Maine. She has a background in Biology (Earlham College) and in Ornithology and Computer Science (University of Colorado), and runs her own computer programming/webpage design business. She is pleased to be the Executive Director of the Acadia Birding Festival, combining her knowledge of webpage design, organizational skills, and love of birding. She is also the Secretary for the Maine Bird Records Committee, and eBird Hotspot monitor for Maine. During her free time, she helps with local bird surveys, chases after rarities, and she loves to travel and enjoy birds in new locations.

Greg Miller has been birding for over 50 years.... really before he can even remember. It was his father who got him into birding at an early age and he has birded in all 50 states and much of Canada, always smitten by the birding bug. Every trip out is an adventure! In 1998 Greg zigzagged across the continent–traveling 130,000 miles while trying to hold down a full time job at a nuclear power plant–to try to see as many species of birds in one calendar year as possible. It was an incredible experience passing the 700-species mark—an achievement many birders aspire to in a lifetime. But there was competition. Two other birders, Sandy Komito and Al Levantin also did Big Years the same year and also broke the 700-mark. These three competitive quests are documented in the 2004 non-fiction book, The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik, and later in 2011 made into a movie. Greg had the fortunate opportunity to be the Bird Consultant for the movie. Greg now guides for Wildside Nature Tours.

Lena Moser  is a guide for Wildside Nature Tours, Inc., co-leading birding trips to Alaska, Panama, Belize, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Previously, she worked for Field Guides, Inc., and co-guided tours to Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Newfoundland & Nova Scotia, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica, and Australia. Aside from tour guiding, Lena has taught field ecology, environmental science, and biology courses at Choate Rosemary Hall, a private boarding high school in Connecticut. She also taught anthropology, biology, and botany courses as both a graduate teaching assistant and an adjunct professor. Lena completed her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources at Cornell University.

Corky Potter has a graduate degree from the University of Illinois, spent 32 years as a faculty member at Penn State University where he created and directed Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. He is a registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide and member of the licensing Guide’s Board for Maine Fish & Wildlife. In the off-season Corky is an organizational consultant facilitating strategic planning, team building and leadership development for non-profit and corporate groups. Corky has paddled the coast of Maine, Cape Cod, Nova Scotia, Alaska and off the coast of Washington State. He is a kayak instructor as well as a guide, is passionate about birds and natural history, enjoys biking, hiking, birding, music, gardening and spending time with Abbey, his Australian Shepherd.

Rob Speirs' fascination with birds ignited through his Grandmother's kitchen window, riveted by Evening Grosbeaks shelling seeds mere inches from his curious young nose. The excitement of finding a petite Golden-crowned Kinglet, snagged by a burdock, and lifer Redpolls high in a birch, provided the first big sparks. A natural extension of a lifetime of outdoor pursuits, birding has taken Rob to every corner of the state, while cross country trips have provided the opportunity to explore some of North America's premier birding hotspots. An unapologetic “twitcher”, Rob loves the hunt, chasing rarities, and helping others find a new, or rare, bird.

Doug Suitor, a reverse migrant, moved with his wife and daughters to Maine from Fort Myers Beach, FL in 2007. To date he still claims this was a good idea. He became interested in birds while working with Manatees and Sea Turtles in Southwest Florida. He is currently an aquatic ecologist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Lakes Program and enjoys exploring Maine's scenic beauty. A board member of Merrymeeting Audubon he leads trips for the chapter and thoroughly enjoys birding and playing around in the midcoast area.

Terry Towne is a life-long amateur naturalist and USCG Licensed Captain. He uses his outdoor enthusiasm and skills as the Regional Steward for Maine Coast Heritage Trust to steward the islands around Mount Desert Island’s bays and offshore on Marshall Island and Long Island Frenchboro. After learning how to make a living in Maine more than 30 years ago by commercial fishing and municipal government, he is a graduate of the University of Maine. He has introduced many to the beauty and ruggedness of Maine’s islands through his trail building and public awareness programs.

Peter Trueblood is a bird enthusiast who lives in Oakland, California. He has been coming to the Acadia Bird Festival for 5 years and knows the area very well. He also serves as the President of the Board of the Acadia Bird Festival, a not-for-profit corporation.


Raymond VanBuskirk is a 25-year-old New Mexico native who sparked an interest in the birds around his house when he was seven. It wasn’t until a few years later that birds became his number one passion. All it took was a curious male Western Tanager to push him over the edge. Raymond soon became involved in a bird banding project near Albuquerque and within a few years, along side his best friend Ryan, started what is now known as the Sandi Rosy-Finch Project. Raymond was one of the youngest people ever to be voted on the board of the Central New Mexico Audubon Society and he now serves as the President of the chapter. In 2012 Raymond and several friends started Birding Research and Nature Tours (BRANT), a bird tour company dedicated to contributing to bird conservation and education in the areas they visit. Raymond is also a Product Specialist for Leica Sport Optics.

Chuck Whitney has been living and birding in Hancock County since 1978. He was Hancock County Coordinator for Maine’s Breeding Bird Atlas project in the mid 1980’s and has been active in local and state plant, bird and citizen science since. As a science educator for over 20 years, he values exposing people to their natural world as a primary teaching tool. He completed graduate school internship with Acadia National Park, utilizing Acadia National Park as a classroom and resource for local educators. That education has been ongoing for the last 13 summers with visitors from all over the world as a naturalist on The Nature Cruise out of Bar Harbor, Maine.

Fred Yost
started watching birds and enjoying nature as a child while tagging along with his parents, grandparents and the birding clubs they participated in. His interest in birding became more serious during his undergraduate studies at Eastern Connecticut State University where he was exposed to bird banding, birding by ear and tropical biology. Fred has worked for the Fish & Wildlife Service as a fisheries biologist for 18 years. He enjoys sharing birds with birders and non birders, dragonflies, carving, photography and hiking.



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