Birds of Maine

By Peter D. Vickery


Princeton University Press, 2020

Hbk, 664pp; 150 colour and black-and-white illustrations, 12 colour plates

ISBN 978-0-691-19319-9; £38.00

Maine is the most northeasterly state of the USA and is slightly larger than Scotland. Its mountainous interior and rocky coastline are on the same latitude as southern France; its humid continental climate produces warm, humid summers and cold winters. This book is the first to be published on the state’s birds since the 1940s and is a detailed account of all 464 species recorded to date. It is a large-format book with line-drawings by Barry van Dusen and a smaller number of paintings by Lars Jonsson.

As in the UK, climate change has seen the northward shift in the breeding ranges of several species; for example, Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla, Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius and Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor have all started breeding in Maine in recent years. Species such as Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus and Canada Goose Branta canadensis have greatly increased populations while Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Common Eider Somateria mollissima are all in decline.

This book contains a wealth of information on migration patterns and timing, status and changes in bird abundance, distribution and conservation status. Distribution maps are given for most species that reach their breeding range limit in Maine but personally I would have included maps for all species breeding in the state. That aside, this is a great book.

Keith Betton

Issue 4
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