Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox, 30, is a coordinator of the state’s first-ever Maine Bird Atlas; and Nick Lund, 36, is Maine Audubon’s outreach coordinator. Both are avid birders who have traveled the country to chase rare bird species. They also are among the rare breed of birders who were drawn to the activity before it was a thing among young adults.

Portland Press Herald outdoor reporter Deirdre Fleming interviewed Hitchcox and Lund on stage in front of live audience about the rare birds seen in Maine in the past two years; the public debate about the Maine state bird; and why birders will drive through the night to chase a bird species they may not find.

The public interview even turned to the audience: Asking some of the 165 in the packed house at One Longfellow Square where they think the remains of the much-loved great black hawk – the first ever seen in Maine – should be displayed. The hawk that hailed from South America settled in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park last winter. In January – after the bird was sought by thousands of birders and wildlife fans from across the state and country – it perished. It is now being mounted by a taxidermist and will be displayed in the Maine State Museum.

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