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Freeport Wild Bird Supply announced the start of the eighth annual “Winter SnowBird(er) Contest,” which was introduced as a way to encourage people to get outdoors in the depths of winter. Just because it’s cold out does not mean there aren’t a lot of great birds to see. Winter is the prime birding season when sea ducks, such as common goldeneye, bufflehead and scoters, can be spotted. The southernmost wintering flock of Barrow’s goldeneyes on the east coast usually resides in the lower Harraseeket River in South Freeport; visit Winslow Park and the Freeport Town Wharf to enjoy this beautiful duck. And, if this winter turns out to be another “irruption” year, residents may observe snowy owls, pine grosbeaks and other species of birds.
While FWBS runs free Saturday morning bird walks throughout the year, it is much easier to entice people to participate in May when warblers are around, or July when it is nice and warm. The contest runs through March 25, and more than $150 in prizes will be awarded.
To get birders interested in winter birding, there is an extra incentive: participants accumulate points based on the temperature at the start of the bird walk – the colder the morning, the more points awarded.
The person with the most points wins the grand prize, which is a brass Quick-Clean tube feeder, along with a 20-pound bag of D&J’s Maine Mix bird seed. The runner-up will receive a $50 gift certificate to BLUE in Portland.
The third-place finisher will receive a $25 gift certificate to Mid-Coast Growers greenhouse in Bowdoin. Their specialties include locally produced spring annuals, vegetable seedlings and fall garden mums.
“There are some mornings in mid-winter that can make it tough to get out of bed,” Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply said. “So we hope to add a little extra motivation. The real prize of course, is the birding our area offers in the depths of winter.”
For a recap of what’s been seen on recent bird walks, visit http://bit.ly/2h2efCG.
Birders meet at the store, located at 541 Route One, at 8 a.m. for a short carpool to a local site, rarely more than 10-15 minutes away. The group returns to the store by 10:30 a.m. for free shade-grown, organic, bird-friendly coffee and a look at what’s happening at the feeders. Bird walks are free and do not require advance registration.
The Freeport Community Library at 10 Library Dr. is featuring the artwork of France Shea during the month of December. For library hours, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Located in the library’s main reading room, Shea’s images are all about the beauty of simple things. A seasoned photographer who learned her craft at the former Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, her work is inspired by the intricacies of the natural world; winter ice clinging to a tree branch, the curves and crevasses of a flower, the elegance of a seashell, the colors of a red barn in a golden field. Shea’s images often leave viewers wondering about the details and asking questions. Are they photographs or paintings? The answer is yes.
Send Freeport, Pownal and Durham community notes to Kathleen Meade at email@example.com.