RANGELEY — Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, along with co-sponsor Maine Audubon, has announced the first annual Rangeley Birding Festival, to be held Friday through Sunday, June 7 to 9. The inaugural festival will honor the late John Bicknell.

The Rangeley Lakes region is a birding destination for rare and sought-after species in New England. Deep in the heart of Maine’s boreal forest, Rangeley provides a convenient hub to find northern specialties like the black-backed Woodpecker, spruce grouse and boreal chickadee, as well as breeding warblers, including Cape May, bay-breasted and mourning.

One of the trips offered — a day hike on Saddleback Mountain — will focus on Bicknell’s thrush, one of North America’s rarest and most localized breeds.

One thing that makes this birding festival different from others is the breeding grounds. While other festivals hope to catch birds as they migrate through, in Rangeley they’ve reached their destination and are on territory. This means that birds are more easily spotted and display different behaviors than in migration.

The festival will feature highly skilled guides who will share their knowledge of bird life that flourishes at the intersection of northern forest, lakes and the high peaks of western Maine.

For more information about the festival, the guides and John Bicknell, go to http://www.rlht.org/birding-festival or call Gina Sawin at 207-680-0611.

Blackburnian warbler (Photo by Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust)

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