The Rangeley area is a wonderful place to see birds and other wildlife. Because we have such a diverse set of ecosystems within a huge wilderness area, just about any bird that comes to the northeast can be found here, even those that are rare and endangered.
The first, most popular way to see birds is to put out feeders and houses. If you are lucky enough to spend an entire season or two here, you will see many visitors to your feeders…sparrows, finches, grosbeaks, doves, chickadees, jays, nuthatches, juncos, cardinals, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and more. Swallows, bluebirds, vireos, and wood ducks will nest in your boxes. Phoebes, starlings, and robins will nest in your yard.
If you don't have the opportunity to stay for awhile, then take to the woods. The Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Hunter Cove is a good place to start. Listen for what you don't see; sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised. If you are very quiet, you may come upon a grouse or a family of grouse walking ahead of you. If you are in a really remote place, you may notice a pair of Canada jays is following you in the trees, looking for a handout. Or you may hear the screech of a hawk as you enter its territory. If you are camping in the woods, the crowing of a pileated woodpecker may awaken you. If you are out about dusk, you may see or hear an owl, starting its nightly rounds.
If you've gone for a long birding hike, then you need to get a canoe or kayak and check out the waterfowl and shore birds. Do a small trip on the Kennebago River or Dead River to look for kingfishers, cranes, and herons. Paddle or walk around Haley Pond to check out the several species of ducks, Canada geese, and redwing blackbirds. A motor boat ride on Rangeley or Mooselookmeguntic Lakes will soon turn up common loons as well. Bald eagles frequent the area, as well as osprey. There isn't anything more exciting than to have one of these birds swoop down and grab a fish out of the water right in front of you.
And the many fields attract another set of birds…the ground nesters, bobolink, thrush, killdeer, woodcock, and more. Several types of hawks patrol the skies looking for them, as well as the ever-present kestrels.