Hirundo Wildlife Refuge 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, muskrat, beaver, 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, black bear, bobcat, fisher, and ermine.
Birdwatchers enjoy such breeding and migrating birds as Virginia Rail, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Northern Harrier, Blackburnian and Nashville Warblers, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Great blue heron, Northern Waterthrush, Cliff and Tree Swallows, and Olive-Sided, Yellow-Bellied, Alder, and Least Flycatchers.
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 1976, expanding to its present 2,402-acre size. In 1982 the Refuge was donated as a trust to the University of Maine. It is not supported financially by the University of Maine or any other institution. Hirundo is a living laboratory, where much past research and scientific studies continue.