Welcome

Welcome to Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. Hirundo is a 2,400 acre nature preserve, spanning Pushaw and Dead Streams, Lac D’Or (lake), vast wetlands, including domed bog and maple and juniper swamps, and mixed hardwood and evergreen forests. Only 10 miles from the University of Maine, Orono Campus, visitors paddle canoes free of charge and watch playful river otters, breeding Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, and Osprey in the tranquil beauty. While hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing, one might encounter moose, deer, red and gray fox, muskrat, beaver, mink, otter, black bear, bobcat,  fisher, and ermine.

Birdwatchers enjoy such breeding and migrating birds as Virginia Rail, Sora, Yellow Rail, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Northern Harrier, Blackburnian and Nashville Warblers, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Waterthrush, Tree, and Bank Swallows, Brown Creeper, and Olive-Sided, Great Crested, Yellow-Bellied, Alder, and Least Flycatchers.

Great Blue Heron. Photo by Gary Kramer, USFWS

Hirundo is the Latin word for swallow. Scores of tree swallow nest boxes attract flocks, breeding in the Spring. Hirundo Wildlife Refuge was founded by Oliver Larouche from his parents’ 3 acre camp in 1965, expanding to its present 2,400-acre size. In 1983 Oliver and his wife  June Larouche deeded the Hirundo land to the University of Maine cementing a long-term collaboration. Hirundo is a living laboratory, where much past research and scientific studies continue.

The public is welcomed to visit Hirundo Wildlife Refuge 7 days a week dawn  to dusk. Check Visiting Hirundo for Gate 1 opening hours. Please sign the log book available at Gate 1, Gate 2, Gate 3 or Gate 6.

There are no charges, admission fees, or membership, but donations are strongly encouraged. The public should call ahead for canoes. There is a clearly marked, seven mile trail system on 300 acres. Trail maps are available at Gates 1, 2, 3 or 6, and may be downloaded on the maps pages.

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