Bird watchers counting feathery heads this weekend

Bird watchers across Maine are taking part in the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

Tens of thousands of bird watchers across the U.S. and Canada participate in the event each winter to create a snapshot of the whereabouts of more than 600 species of birds and provide a basis to study bird population trends. This year’s count began Friday and wraps up today.

Organizers are encouraging participants to count birds in their backyards, in parks and other locations and report their observations online. The event is organized by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

In last year’s event, Mainers identified 99 species with more than 42,000 bird observations.

More information is available at


Planet Head Day raises funds to help cancer organization

People in northern Maine are getting into the fundraising spirit by having their heads shaved and then painted as planets, dwarf planets and moons.

Saturday was the sixth annual Planet Head Day to raise money for a nonprofit known as C-A-N-C-E-R, or the Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery organization.

The event was held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, which is home to the Northern Maine Museum of Science. In past years, students and others from all walks of life have taken part.

Four barber chairs were available for people to have their heads shaved and painted, while others could choose to don bald caps that are painted. About 65 people participated last year, raising more than $15,000.

This year’s fundraising goal is $30,000.

– From staff and news services

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