There are three animals that I saw on license plates, advertising, stickers, postcards, posters, and signage throughout my time in New England. In fact you could see all three represented on different license plates in Maine. They are: the common loon, black-capped chickadee, and moose.
I had seen the common loon many times before because they spend their winters in the near shore oceans or harbors on both coasts. At this time they are sporting their drab winter plumage and not their iconic black and white checkered patterned breeding plumage which the loons in New England are always represented wearing . The density of loon representations was at critical mass in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. It seemed like every store, inn and bed and breakfast that was anywhere near a lake, had a loon on their sign.
I had only seen loons on the ocean and never on a northern lake. On our Squam Lake pontoon boat tour we saw two small rafts of loons, the adult where still in their stylish breeding plumage. Soon the birds would be leaving the lake as the temperature got colder and the lake begin to freeze over.
Exhibit A, yet another loon sign!
Another bird that I saw on many signs and license plates, especially in Maine was the common black-capped chickadee (Maine’s State Bird). I heard this bird’s well known “chick-a-dee-dee” call in both town and county. In fact the chickadees call was one of the most common calls I heard throughout my trip, except for perhaps the blue jay.
The black-capped chickadee license plate was the most common in Maine.
The last iconic animal of the Northeast is Maine’s official mammal, the moose. This large deer, in fact the world’s largest deer, appeared on more and more advertising, stickers, postcards, posters, and signage the further north I travelled.
Most visitors to Maine only see a moose on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. To see a real, living moose you have to wake up early and travel north as I did to Baxter State Park (More about this in another post).
New Hampshire loves the moose too but I did not see any at Squam Lake.
It was really tough researching this post. This is how you celebrate seeing a moose in the wild!