Rangeley Birding Festival Logo

June 9-11, 2023 | The Best Boreal Birding In Maine


Since 2019, RLHT has proudly presented the Rangeley Birding Festival. 

If you can’t make it in June enjoy the Rangeley Lakes Birding Trail yearround. 

2023 Rangeley Birding Festival

From Boreal Chickadees in our vast forests to Loons on our magnificent lakes to the rare Bicknell’s Thrush in the high peaks above, the Rangeley Region is rich with birds. Add in both migrating and breeding warblers, and you have a unique opportunity to see and learn about birds that are difficult to find in other parts of Maine, all in one weekend!

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust will open daily at 5:30 AM to assist you. When you arrive in town, please check in at Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, the Headquarters for the RBF. We’ll have a nametag, hard copy directions, and answers to your questions.

Transportation:  RBF will not provide transportation. Trips will meet at the site. Refer to the Locations Map (below) for parking specifics.

Group Sizes: Birding Trips are limited to 10 participants and two guides. The one exception is the Rangeley River & Portage Tap House Walk, which can host up to 20 participants.



Trip Directions

Keynote Speaker

Join us Saturday evening at the Rangeley Inn for Cameron’s keynote and the presentation of the John Bicknell Award for Birding Conservation. 

Lessons from a Bird Bum

Birding Tips Learned Through a Misspent Youth

Cameron spent his early adulthood traveling the country in search of birds. He learned the lessons by sleeping on picnic tables to avoid nocturnal snake snuggling, having his most prominent piece of household décor be a license plate, and numerous encounters with bears with designs on his stash of canned chili and yogurt. Amid a few misadventures were thousands of hours of birding and many more hours spent thinking on how to improve as a birder. You can receive a distillation of the lessons he is learning while not having to experience wrathful squirrels or parched mosquitos. Join us for a lighthearted evening of learning.

Get to Know Our Guides

Steve Hale

Steve Hale, holds university degrees in marine biology, evolutionary biology, and ecology. He grew up in Pennsylvania but now has lived in New England for over 25 years. Steve is an experienced naturalist and birder. In 2016 he founded Open World Explorers to share his experience with others.

Nick Leadley

Nick is a professional nature photographer, owner of Touch The Wild Photography, and a Maine Recreational Guide. He has recently published Gavia: Tales From Loon Country. The book pairs his photographs of Common Loons with personal experiences from people around the world. Stop by his shop on 2501 Main Street! 

Pete McKinley

Peter is a research ecologist and conservation planner with The Wilderness Society (TWS) Research Team based out of the TWS Northern Appalachians office in Hallowell, Maine.

Ed Jenkins holding small bird
Ed Jenkins

Ed Jenkins is an avian biologist with the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland, Maine. He coordinates River Point Bird Observatory and studies birds throughout the state. Originally from the UK, Ed has conducted bird research in New Zealand, Australia, China, Israel, and elsewhere.

Doug Hitchcox
Doug Hitchcox

Doug is the staff naturalist at Maine Audubon and the frequently quoted “go-to” expert on wildlife events and news. After graduating from the University of Maine in 2011, Doug traveled throughout the state to observe as many bird species as he could find. He ended the year with 314, a state record. Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the “Maine-birds” listserv.

Derek Lovitch

Derek and his wife Jeannette of Pownal own and operate Freeport Wild Bird Supply. Derek guides throughout the state and has led tours from Alaska to Hawaii. He has authored numerous articles and has written two books, including Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide (2017).

Cameron Cox

Cameron is the owner of Avocet Birding Courses which offers workshops and tours. Cameron is the coauthor of The Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching and an upcoming guide to the Terns of North America. He lives with his wife and a small herd of dogs and cats in coastal Maine.

Looking for Lodging?

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Rangeley Lakes Birding Trail

We’ve identified 13 birding hotspots for you to get the lifers on your list! 


For Festival Inquiries

Current Conditions

Rangeley Region
Rangeley Region
3:53 am, February 1, 2023
overcast clouds
Wind: 2 mph
Pressure: 1019 mb
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 7:02 am
Sunset: 4:49 pm

John Bicknell Award for Conservation & Birding

Purpose and Description | To publicly acknowledge those individuals who have worked to further birding and conserve bird habitat in Maine. This award is intended to recognize those unheralded people who have labored mainly behind the scenes and may have been overlooked and unacknowledged for their contributions. It is presented to no more than one recipient each year (unless we recognize a collaborative effort by two or more people).


  • Outstanding service, professionally or as a volunteer, to promote birding and to conserve critical bird habitat
  • Track record of bringing people together to achieve results in birding and bird conservation
  • Effectively work alone or with others to educate the public on the importance of birds as a critical indicator of ecological health and the importance of conserving habitat.
  • History of fostering or supporting a conservation organization or foundation seeking to conserve critical or intact tracts of land, water bodies, and habitat
  • Extensive and substantial contributions to birding and bird conservation

Required Nomination Materials | Due by May 1 each year

  • Name of nominee and complete contact information
  • Current CV or resume from the nominee
  • Clear and concise statement from the nominator justifying the Nomination and addressing the award criteria
  • Letter(s) of endorsement from colleagues that address the award criteria

Send to| alaliberte@rlht.org, Subject: Bicknell Nomination

Selection Process | The Rangeley Birding Festival core team (minimum of five members) will review nominations and choose a winner by consensus if possible or by vote, if necessary, by May 1 each year. Award will be presented at the annual Rangeley Birding Festival in June in Rangeley, ME.

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