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Historical tidbits about Peaks Island birds

Old-Fashioned Birdblind on Peaks Island

This blog recaps two of Peaks Island historical bird events that Tim clipped from the archives of Maine’s newspapers: 1) Bangor Daily Whig (1892) and 2) Courier and Lewiston Daily Sun (1927).

3) We then fast forward 89 years to April 9, 2016, to a more peaceful time for our island birds. Instead of shooting a specimen for observation and pleasure, our community now goes to great lengths to save birds’ lives that are in jeopardy.



1) June 6, 1892: Bangor Daily Whig and Courier:




2) March 22, 1927: The Lewiston Daily Sun:


3) April 9, 2016: A bird rescue off Centennial Beach:

Red-necked Grebe off Peaks Island Backshore Photo © Patty Wainright

Red-necked Grebe in Rhonda's bathtub Photo © Rhonda Berg

A Red-necked Grebe (one of our way-offshore winter residents) is stranded on Centennial Beach and is noticed by Rhonda and friends. It is puzzling why this bird is far up on the beach. Grebe legs are placed far back on the lower part of the body (as compared with terrestrial bird species) allowing for more efficient pedal power in the water. The sacrifice for this leg adjustment is that a grebe cannot walk well on land. The rescue party approaches the bird; it is injured - with a broken leg. After a variety of phone calls including an island veterinarian, she is put in touch with someone on the island who is a volunteer for Avian Haven. With instructions from Avian Haven, Rhonda, gently picks it up, places it in a warm, towel-lined box overnight with no food or water, as it will not eat or drink. In the morning she gives it a warm tub-bath. Apparently the grebe appreciates the bath as it begins to swim and drink. After this revival stage, Rhonda places the grebe in the box again. Casco Bay Line’s personnel are happy to receive and gently transport the injured grebe to the receiving arms of Avian Haven volunteers. Avian Haven reports that the bird arrives in good condition; its leg is splinted; the grebe is granted a rapid recovery; and it is released to the sea. Rhonda comments on how appreciative Avian Haven is to receive this Red-necked Grebe – giving them a chance to save it. Thank you Rhonda, friends, and Avian Haven.

Please also see Part 2 of the September bird blog “Eleanor’s story” describing the rescue of a Merlin on Peaks Island.


Contributors: Tim Murphy (historical newspaper clips on birds); Rhonda Berg and Bob Villforth (Red-necked Grebe story).

By Patty Wainright

Reviewed by: Michelle Brown, Marty, Michael LaCombe, Sam Wainright, Rhonda Berg

Thank you for your interest in our Peaks Island birds, and if you have any additional bird sightings you would like to share or questions regarding Peak's bird life, you can send them to:

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The Backshore Bird Blog


The objective of The Backshore Bird Blog is to share the wonder and diversity of bird species seen along the Peaks Island shore.

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