Diverse and abundant populations of birds, mammals and fish are found in the Bay area. Some of these have been briefly mentioned in previous sections. The following discussion will describe the most significant of these, i.e. those which are important either because they are threatened or endangered, or because they represent a dominant component of the Bay's general ecology, either by virtue of their numbers or their ecological role.
The Merrymeeting Bay area provides habitat for three rare or threatened species: the Northern Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus alascanus), the American Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and the shortnose sturgeon (Acepenser brevirostrum). The Atlantic sturgeon (Acepenser oxyrhynchus) is considered uncommon in Maine. A summary of life history data for each of these is provided.
Three bird species of significance to bird watchers and hunters in the Merrymeeting Bay will be discussed in this section: the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis); the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias); and the Black Duck (Anas rubripes). Except where noted otherwise, data are from TRIGOM (1974).
These brief life history descriptions of several significant species in Merrymeeting Bay indicate the following:
1. Many species depend on the rich aquatic and marsh plant growths. Protecting the adjacent wetlands thus becomes imperative if the attractiveness of the Bay to water fowl and bird life is to be maintained.
2. The Bay provides a resting area for large numbers of diverse species during spring and fall migration periods, usually from April to May and from September to November. Avoiding disturbance from motorboats should be an objective of the Bay area towns and of the state.
3. As more and more of the Bay is developed, and particularly if cropland is lost in the process, it may become increasingly necessary for the state and localities to provide for any additional acreage in spring rye and corn for the migrating birds, if the Bay is to remain a suitable stopover for them.
4. Any activities to the north or south of the Bay which might endanger its natural integrity (oil refineries, oil storage) through accidental discharges should be discouraged due to the national significance of the Bay for wildlife and waterfowl.
LINK to University of Michigan's ANIMAL DIVERSITY WEB
Environment Canada's Hinterland Who's Who - Information on many animals & birds
Intersctive Guide to Massachusetts Snakes