This story was originally published in April 2017.

Birdsong announces spring, sure. But what exactly are you hearing? Who makes up the chorus?

I’m only starting to learn, but it’s pretty cool when you can actually picture the birds serenading you. And it’s even better when that knowledge helps you spot the birds, and in my case, photograph them.

The best way to do that is go for a walk and be observant (a pair of binoculars or a camera with a good zoom function helps). You can also listen to the songs of certain birds on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website to get a head start.

Here are a few birds I heard (and photographed) recently while on the public trails of Essex Woods in Bangor:

Red-winged blackbird

Listen here:

Song sparrow

Listen here:

Bohemian waxwing

Listen here:


Listen here:

Also while walking in Essex Woods (for about 2 hours during the afternoon), I spotted a few different types of ducks, and a furry friend:



Hooded Mergansers

Male (with white on head) and female (brown)

A muskrat!

I like to return to Essex Woods several times throughout the year to see how the wildlife community changes. Later in the year, the wetlands will attract a variety of wading birds, including herons and egrets. People have reported also seeing Virginia rails, soras and a wide variety of warblers and ducks. I’ve also seen hawks near the wetlands (likely hunting). You never know what you might see!

Watch more:

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...