Category Archives: Past Programs

Quadcopter Demo

Remote-control Quadcopter Demonstration on Sunday, November 16 ..

was a great success.

Sam Hess, Professor of Physics at UMaine, demonstrated and explained this fascinating technology. We saw the Refuge, and ourselves from above. Take a look at Sam’s previous video of the Refuge:                                                                                Bird’s-eye view of the Refuge

Grant for remote-control quadcopters at UMaine

Sunday, October 26 – Halloween at Hirundo

1 – 4 pm Fall crafts

Join us in the afternoon, 1-4 pm, for fall crafts including preparing and raising a share-crow made from natural materials, mask making, bobbing for apples and testing your strength in the hay bale rolling contest. Suggested donation $5.

... and when evening falls and shadows grow larger, dare to come along on the Haunted Walk, listen to a scary story by the campfire and step into the tent of the Future. 

6 – 7:30 pm – Haunted Walk, Scary Stories and a look into the Future


Saturday, October 18 – 9:00 to 11 am – Guided Walk at the Refuge

Join Gateway Seniors Without Walls for this 2 mile walk along the highest laying (180 feet!) trail at the Refuge.The terrain is nearly level and easy to walk. Fall is the prettiest time of year to explore this beech forest, search for signs of animals and simply enjoy its beauty.

We meet in the parking area at Gate 1, next to Rt. 43. Suggested donation is $5. School-aged children are free.

VISIT our table during the                                  

    2014 University of Maine Homecoming Craft Fair                                         at the New Balance Field House

Craft Fair Hours:    
Saturday, October 18 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunday, October 19 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Great Outdoors

Hirundo Wildlife Refuge joins the celebration of the Great Maine Outdoors Weekend by offering three  programs. 

Saturday, September 27, 9 am – 2:30 pm – “Paddle &  Walk”                                               

This program combines paddling canoes along the quiet waters of Pushaw Stream and a hike along the history- rich Wabanaki Trail. Feel free to join Greg Innes for the entire time or for each individual segment. The canoeing trip begins at 9 am at Gate 3 and returns at 12 pm. At this time you can join the group for the short paddle to the landing side near the Wabanaki trail head. We will break for lunch (bring you own) at the Parker Reed shelter. You may join the group at the shelter. The Trail Walk will begin at 1 pm and lasts for 1 hour. Thereafter we will paddle back to Gate 3.                                                                                                                                                           Call 394-2171 for registration and canoe reservation by September 26. You may bring your own boat. Suggested donation $5 for adults. Children are free.

Sunday, September 28, 1 – 2 pm “Turtles of Maine”

Turtles on a stick by J. Adamson

Turtles on a stick by J. Adamson


Jean Adamson, turtle rehabilitator, will share her knowledge and admiration   for these shy and often elusive reptiles. She will discuss the species of turtles in Maine, turtle biology, dangers facing turtles, and conservation efforts. Jean has a degree in natural resources with a major in natural history and was a founding member of Turtle Homes, a turtle conservation effort. Meet at the Parker Reed shelter in Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, Gate 1.

Call 394-2171 for registration and canoe reservation by September 27. Suggested donation $5 for adults. Children are free.


Sunday, September 28, 2:30 pm – Guided Paddle                                                           “Searching for turtles”

Do you want to see a turtle in the wild. Join us after Jean’s presentation for a paddle along Pushaw Stream. Depending on group size we might travel in 28 foot canoes.

Call 394-2171 for registration and canoe reservation by September 27. You may bring your own boat. Suggested donation $5 for adults. Children are free.

Maine’s Moose – an Update – Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 7 p.m

The program takes place at the Old Town Museum, 353 Main St. in Old Town. Lee Kantar will discuss the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s current research on adult female and calf survival that started this past year with the capture and GPS radio collaring of 60 moose.  His topics will include winter and summer moose capture work, recovery and necropsy of moose mortalities, the role of winter tick and parasites on Maine’s moose as well as the monitoring of adult cows and calves during this past summer. The event is co-sponsored by Hirundo Wildlife Refuge and the Old Town Museum. For reservations, call 394-2171.

Lee Kantar is a Wildlife Biologist and works currently as the Moose Project Leader for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He oversees the management of Maine’s moose population, conducts and oversees aerial survey work as well as biological data collection and analysis, formulation of annual season recommendations, and monitoring disease issues. Lee serves as spokesperson on moose issues.

Natural Dyeing Workshop – Saturday, September 13

Join Kim Robichaud, recent Maine Master Naturalist graduate, to learn how to extract colours  from local plant materials. The program will include a nature walk, lunch (BYO), and wild harvesting of a small amount of dye materials.

“I have three favorite processes that I am using in my work right now. I would like to share all three with you:         1) Plant Pounding 2) Steam extraction 3) Hot water immersion bath

While you are welcome to bring dyeables from home (natural fibers only, synthetics don’t bind with the dye), you should know, that everything but silk needs to be pre-mordanted in alum and washing soda. I will purchase yardage ahead of time and do this process at the cost of $5 per yard. I encourage you to bring fresh or frozen flowers for experimentation such as goldenrod, black-eyed susans, tansy, etc.. The more choices we have for experimentation the better.

Limited group size – registration and cancellation requested by September 10, 2014, call 394-2171. Fee: $10                                                                                                                                           Meet at the Parker Reed shelter in Hirundo Wildlife Refuge (Gate 1).

Spiders  -  Sunday, September 14, 1 – 2:30 pm

Let Donne Sinderson, a Maine Master Naturalist graduate,  introduce you to the fascinating world of the leggy, misunderstood beings, the Spiders. Did you know that spider silk has different strength depending on the purpose it serves, or that a spider can change its colour from yellow to white with purple spots and back? Meet at the Parker Reed shelter, accessible by Gate 1, in Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. Call for reservation by September 13, 207-394-2171. Suggested donation $5 per adult, school-aged children are free.

Spider web with dew drops by luc.viatour

Spider web with dew drops by luc.viatour


“ Imagine a multidimensional spider’s web
in the early morning covered with dew drops.
And every dew drop contains the reflection
of all the other dew drops.”
— Alan Watts , Following The Middle Way


Autumn Equinox Paddle – Sunday, September 21 at 2 pm

Autumn equinox officially occurs on September 23 but we will be slightly ahead of schedule. Enjoy brilliant reds and yellows dotting the shore line. Bring a friend and binoculars.

We meet at Gate 3 (35 Hudson Road in Alton. Call 207-394-2171 by September 20 to register and to reserve a boat, or bring your own canoe or kayak. Suggested donation $5 per adult, school-aged children are free.


See us at the Orono Festival Day –                                                                                        September 6 from 9 am – 4 pm

Check out the scheduled activities –>  Orono Festival Day

Sunday, September 7 – Canoeing x 2!

Grandparents Day Paddle at 2 pm

Celebrate Grandparenthood, share your hidden paddling talent with your grandchildren or learn a new skill together. Pushaw Stream has quiet, flat water easy to paddle with a stunning scenery, some leaves are already brilliant red. Watch the Osprey and Kingfisher dive for fish and the muskrat move smoothly through the water. It will be a GRAND afternoon. Please call 394-2171 for reservations by September 6 or BYOB. Suggested donations for adults $5, school-aged children free. Meet at Gate 3

Last Full-moon Supermoon Paddle from  6 – 8 pm

Supermoon ?! Celebrate with us this last ‘Supermoon’ this summer. Peak at a very close moon rising above the wetlands and relax after a busy day of work on the quiet waters of Pushaw Stream. We meet at Gate 3. Bring a flashlight, water and a snack. Call 207-394-2171 to reserve your space and canoe by September 6, or bring your own. Suggested donation $5 per adult, school-aged children are free.

Local Supermoon, 2014

Local Supermoon, 2014

Image credit: Stefano Sciarpetti

Family Fun Day – Sunday, August 17, 10 am – 4 pm

  • Electro – fishing demonstration with Rory Saunders and Steve Coghlan
  • Silkscreen your own T-shirt with local artist Kris Sader
  • Catching and Identifying aquatic macro invertebrates
  • Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day. Hirundo Wildlife Refuge will have desserts and drinks at hand.

The event is open to the public and will be held at the Parker Reed shelter accessible through Gate 1, at the Refuge.

Bring your family, pack a lunch and plan to spend the day exploring nature, art and old technology.
Family Day kicks off at 10 a.m. with hands-on silk screening workshop led by local artist Kris Sader. Buy a t-shirt, choose one of her two bird designs and make your beautiful wearable art! All other supplies will be on hand. Silk screening is lots of fun and something you can do at home.

During the activities and demonstration that follow, visitors will learn about the fish species in Pushaw Stream and collection methods, including electrofishing with fish experts Rory Saunders and Steve Coghlan. Meet the local aquatic insects with Greg Innes, enjoy guided walks, test your skill in the obstacle canoe race (canoes & gear provided), and experience paddling a 28-foot war canoe.

Family Day is held bi-annually in August and January/February. It encourages families to explore nature and learn about the local animals and plants in any season. Volunteer presenters, local business support and Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit organization, make Family Day possible. Suggested donation $5 dollars for adults, school-aged children are free.

Nearly 30 people joined the presenters to silk screen T-shirts, learn about the local fish population & conservation and water conservation issues.

A big thank you to all that prepared, presented and helped. Family Day is a community affair, we could have not done it without YOU.

 Eavesdropping on local  bats –      

                       Friday August 15, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 pm

How do you listen to a bat? Bat sounds are generally at high frequencies undetectable to humans. Katelin Craven has a way to make bat sounds audible for humans to hear. Her presentation also includes bat ecology, Maine’s bat species, the challenges of white nose syndrome and her bat research in Colorado. Meet at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge’s  Parker Reed shelter. Bring flashlight. Suggested donation $5, children free. To register call, 394-2171 by August 14, 2014.

Katelin Craven untangling a bat

Katelin Craven untangling a bat

Katelin Craven grew up in Austin, TX where Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge inspired a fascination of bats as she observed the world’s largest urban bat colony. She took her desire to study the natural world to Colorado where she earned a master’s degree studying ecology and wildlife biology at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research focus was on the effects of forest management on bat species’ foraging patterns. Now living in Maine, Katelin is busy learning about our local wildlife, co-coordinating FrogWatch USA Lower Penobscot Chapter, and being on the Bangor Land Trust Program Committee.


Paddle half-way to the North Pole –                                                                           Sunday, August 3,  2 – 3:30 pm 

Join up with others to see what happens when you cross the 45th parallel at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge.  Along the way, observe birds, forest and wetland plants, mammals and gain insight on the local conservation efforts and learn why the 45th parallel is important. Canoes and equipment are available or bring your own. Please call 207-394-2171 to register by August 2.  Meet us at Gate 3. Suggested donations are $5 for adults, school-aged children are free.

A large group set out to find the 45th parallel paddling up Dead Stream. The unmistakable white round flower

heads of the buttonbush lined the shore. This native wetland shrub provides brood cover for some ducks, the tubular flowers are visited by bees and butterflies (and humans who inhale the fragrance), seeds are food for waterfowl and deer munch on the twigs. Buttonbush is suitable for wetland restoration or riparian zones. Dotting the shore in wet/damp soil, the BRILLIANT scarlet flowers of the cardinal flower are impossible to overlook! Hummingbirds are attracted and suited to feed on the tubular flowers. One rarely sees one violet Pickerelweed flower. This plant forms large colonies rooted in shallow water. It holds stems, leaves and flowers above the water surface. This arrangement allows for greater efficiency at photosynthesis, pollination and seed dispersal. Together with cattails and others, they are categorized as an emergent plant.
Dead Stream narrows and the crowns of silver maple provide shaded areas. We encounter several downed tree in the water. The stream is still navigable thanks to the high water table, unusual this time of year. We reached the 45th parallel safely and collectively decided to try the last leg to the pole at another time. As a mark of accomplishment of the momentous occasion each explorer was marked with purple dots. This purple dot represents the Transitional (Zone) Forest in which Maine is located, between the Boreal Forest to the north and the Mixed Deciduous Forest in the south. We modified the custom of painting the nose of first time visitors to cross the article circle blue, as told to us by Hirundo volunteer, Paul Markson.

On the way

On the way to the 45th parallel

Before ..

Before ..

.. and after

.. and after

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Cardinal flower

Cardinal flower among Royal Fern

Pickerelweed and buttonbush

Pickerelweed and buttonbush

Paddling Excursion – Saturday, July 19, 9 am – 10:30 am

Join Holly Twining and Gudrun Keszöcze, naturalist with Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, as they take you on a tour of Fields Pond. Loons, osprey, and eagles should make an appearance as well as other birds and critters.Location: Fields Pond Audubon Center, Holden. Cost: $5. $5 rental canoe with life jacket and paddles. Children under 10 years old free. Please call 989-2591 to register.

Guided Afternoon Paddle – Sunday, July 20,  2 – 3:30 pm 

Afternoon paddle along Pushaw Stream at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. During the relaxing paddle through the Hirundo’s unique ecosystem, you will learn about the great diversity of bird, aquatic plant communities, conservation issues and efforts, and observe animals. Canoes & equipment are available or bring your own boat. Reservations and cancellations requested by Saturday July 19, call 207-2171. Suggested donations are $5 for adults, school-aged children are free.