If you came to Maine to spot wildlife, it’s likely you won’t be disappointed – especially if you know where and when to look.
There are hundreds of thousands of acres of protected wilderness in Maine. These preserved areas and other forested regions all around the state are home to the famous Maine moose. While the moose is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when visitors think of wildlife watching in Maine, there is a tremendously abundant variety of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles living in the Maine woods. As the New England state closest to the Arctic Circle, Maine is also home to a number of species that are rarely spotted below the northernmost perimeter of the lower 48. These species include the snowy owl, the American marten, and the Canada lynx.
While some animals are harder to catch a glimpse of than others – like the stealthy black bear – visitors with a little luck and a careful eye can often spy those common in Maine including white-tailed deer, bald eagles, beaver, otter, fox, snowshoe hare, and wild turkey. You don’t have to go too far into the wild to experience a sighting, either. Quiet exploration along a well-marked hiking trail can uncover a porcupine snacking in an apple tree or a mink diving beneath a pile of leaves to pursue a spotted salamander.
Two of the best ways to increase your chances of sighting Maine’s creatures of the forest is to embark on a wildlife safari group tour or enlist the aid of a Registered Maine Guide to create a personal adventure tailored to your specific area of interest.
While uncovering the secrets of the forest holds its own special allure, let’s not forget about the creatures waiting to be discovered within the rich salt marsh ecosystems and sparkling ocean waters of Maine’s coast. Come to the coast to see soaring osprey, harbor seals, humpback whales, piping plovers, diving sea ducks and other rare and wild wonders of the animal kingdom.
Tidal marshes are best explored by kayak or on foot via the scenic and easy-to-walk trails maintained within the state’s salt marsh preserves. Naturalists and paddling outfitters that specialize in salt marsh ecology offer organized tours to ensure wildlife enthusiasts get the most out of their visit.
To help visitors get up close and personal with creatures of the deep, whale watching excursions regularly depart out of resort town harbors from late spring through early fall. People also travel from far and wide to take seabird-focused boat tours. Taking to the sea is the only way to experience the lone colony of nesting Atlantic puffins in the U.S. These boat tours also offer the best chance to spot ocean-dwelling birds like the Northern Gannet, one of the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic.