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In the wilderness, my soul strums to the rhythm of pure bliss. 


Within Hirundo's 2400 acres many different species live and move amongst the varied natural habitats of the refuge. From bogs to wooded wetlands, from upland forest to vernal pools, from quiet and quick streams and a large pond and meadow this acreage serves wildlife well. Various species require large tracts of unbroken habitat to hunt and Hirundo's location within the "Great North Woods" and "Panjajawoc-Caribou Bog corridor" allows those animals, including bobcats and fishers, to reside here happily and healthily. 

Visitors to Hirundo can spot abundant wildlife including beaver, muskrat, otter, moose, bear, and smaller mammals like fisher, fox, squirrels and chipmunks. Birds are abundant on the refuge including Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher, Barrow's Golden Eye, Barred Owls, as well as many migratory birds. Turtles and frogs of several varieties, as well as alewives, bass, and American Eels enjoy the aquatic areas of the refuge.

Wildlife and Habitat Management
NESTING BOXES

Both Swallow and Duck nesting boxes have been established around the refuge to attract healthy populations of Tree Swallows and Wood Ducks. Tree Swallows can be seen swooping and diving above the field hunting insects, and Wood Ducks frequent the riverfront areas of the refuge. Nesting Boxes for various species of birds are available for purchase from Hirundo upon request. To find out more, email: info@hirundomaine.org .  


GROUND NESTING BIRDS

In order to maintain nesting and breeding habitats for ground-nesting birds and ideal hunting areas for various animals including our namesake, the Swallow, Hirundo actively maintains two large fields on the refuge. Mowing prevents the natural succession of fields growing in with herbaceous plants and shrubs and eventually transforming into forests. Woodcocks live within these fields making nests on the ground and participating in exciting mating dance rituals. Hirundo avoids mowing these fields during certain months each year in order to protect fragile ground nests.


INVASIVE SPECIES MANAGEMENT

Hirundo is actively working to manage the invasive species on the refuge (including Garlic Mustard, Glossy Buckthorn, and Japanese Knotweed)  and promote the re-establishment of native species. Want to join our efforts? Keep an eye out for upcoming Invasive Species Volunteer days in our events calendar. 

CATCH AND RELEASE FISHING

In the interest of protecting the fish populations of Pushaw and Dead Streams, Hirundo maintains a catch-and-release fishing policy with barbless hooks. However, given the presence of Northern Pike, an invasive predator in our waterways, Hirundo recommends the removal of all Pike that are caught. Northern Pike, which can grow up to 30in long and weigh 7.5lbs, eat all other species of fish, as well as amphibians, small reptiles and birds, even small mammals like voles, shrews and red squirrels. Due to the northern pike's ability to over- consume food sources, local fish populations have declined. Beware, they look similar to the chain pickerel, be sure you
know who you've caught!

Trail Cams

A network of trail cams has provided evidence of some of our more people-shy inhabitants. Follow our social media accounts to catch see what we're spotting around the refuge throughout the year!  

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Please Note: Hirundo is not a wildlife rehabilitation center and as such we cannot accept any injured or abandoned animals you find. Here are a few resources  that may help.

Have you found an injured animal?

If you find an injured deer, bear, moose, or turkey, contact a Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife Service warden. For other animals contact the following rehabilitation groups:

Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, Ellsworth, ME – Birds https://www.birdsacre.com

Acadia Wildlife Center, Bar Harbor, ME – Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians: https://acadiawildlife.org

Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife Service:  https://www.maine.gov/ifw/index.html

Have you found a baby bird?

Nestling: 

  • Typically has patches of skin visible

  • Cannot yet fly or stand on their own

If you’ve found a nestling and can return it to its nest, do so. Adult birds will not reject their young if they have had human contact. If the nest has also fallen down, gently place it back up in a nearby tree. If the nest is not intact, make a substitute nest by lining a small container with grass, leaves, and other dry plant matter. Observe the nestling – if the parents do not return to the nest, call a wildlife rehabilitator.

 

Fledging:

  • Fully feathered young birds, older than nestlings

  • Able to stand, hop, and possibly fly for short periods

If you’ve found a fledgling, leave it where it is. If it is injured or in a dangerous location, it can be gently moved into a nearby tree or bush. A fledgling’s parents are often watching it from a distance. Observe the fledgling – if the parents do not seem to be nearby, call a wildlife rehabilitator.