Chris Martin | New Hampshire Public Radio

Chris Martin

Host, Something Wild

Chris Martin has worked for New Hampshire Audubon for more than 26 years as a Conservation Biologist, specializing in birds of prey such as bald eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons.

Martin has climbed to bald eagle nests in Alaska's Katmai National Park, counted seabirds near the Aleutian Islands, coordinated peregrine falcon restoration at Lake Superior’s Isle Royale, and studied how a southern Indiana forest responded after a devastating tornado.

Since moving to New Hampshire in 1990, Martin has worked frequently with colleagues at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies to recruit and train volunteer wildlife observers. He has advised electric utilities on how to establish safe nesting sites for ospreys, partnered with rock climbers to collect peregrine falcon egg samples to check for contaminants, and studied New Hampshire's only known breeding population of American pipits in the alpine zone on Mt. Washington.

In 2006, Martin received an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Boston for his outstanding efforts in preserving New England's environment. “I love documenting what's going on with wildlife populations in the Granite State, and also providing folks with the skills and tools they need to make meaningful wildlife observations out there on their own. That's why contributing to Something Wild continues to be so much fun.”

Emily Quirk

Spring in New Hampshire is a double-edged sword. On one hand you have longer, warmer days —plants and trees are blooming! On the other hand, the pollen springtime trees produce can present an array of unpleasant seasonal symptoms.

 

Yet pollen is so incredibly important to our survival – we think we should give it the credit it deserves.

 

 

COURTESY BATWRANGLER VIA FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

It’s an unmistakable sound. One that elicits memories, sights and scents of events long ago. It recalls the joy of youth, the possibility of a spring evening. But it can also incite insomnia and the blind rage that accompanies it.

Phil Brown

For some, maple sugaring is a perennial ritual, painstakingly completed as we usher out the bitter wisps of winter, and embrace balmier, brighter days of early spring.

And whether you’re producing maple syrup with just a few buckets, or if you’ve expanded operations with a full-blown sugar shack … you know this much to be true:

 

1) Sugaring is an art

2) Sugaring is a science

3) And a great excuse to be outdoors, with family and friends.

 

Dave Anderson

February in New Hampshire can be a bitter time, weather-wise.

In some places, layers of ice and snow still weigh heavily on conifer limbs, and on the souls of even the heartiest of New Englanders.

But at last, the days are noticeably longer. So take heart winter-weary friends. The first pulses of springtime arrive in the smallest of signs.

flickr

Here at Something Wild, we don’t have a problem with winter. Aside from the snow and the cold and the freezing rain…okay, maybe we have a couple issues. But we have sweaters and hot cocoa and Netflix. Trees, however, do not. As the snow piles up, you may see trees bent over with their crowns nearly touching the ground, leafless and haggard. They can’t escape or hide from the cold, so how do trees survive?

Dave Govatski

Each year, bird enthusiasts across North America eagerly await the Winter Finch Forecast. Published every fall since 1999, the Winter Finch Forecast predicts when and where, and even IF fan-favorite finches like Evening Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls will grace our backyard bird-feeders, or make an appearance on a brisk mid-winter hike.

Steve Mirick

Sometimes called a Marsh Hawk, the northern harrier is currently one the rarest birds of prey nesting in the Granite State.

 

Unlike many of our more common hawks, harriers shun the forest, opting instead to hunt in wide-open spaces like fields, brushy areas -- even in marshes.  And get this --they build their nests on the ground.   

Peculiar preferences indeed, and ones that have made it a challenge for them to survive here. 

___________________________

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

This time of year, you're likely to see cars and pickup trucks heading home on the highways with fresh-cut Christmas trees tied to roofs or in the truck beds.

Fraser firs, Korean firs, Balsam firs, and Spruce (ouch!)...

So today on  Something Wild we take a look at Christmas tree farms, and the important habitats they provide for New Hampshire wildlife.

As we hunker down for the winter weather, we’re frequently too preoccupied with what is in our front yards that we tend not to notice what isn’t there.  And short of finding a postcard in your mailbox from a warm exotic location, signed by your friendly neighborhood phoebe, you probably haven’t thought much about the birds that flitted through your yard just months ago.

Samuel Taylor

By the time the cold weather months hit us,  three of New Hampshire’s eight species of bats have already migrated to warmer places in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions. 

The bat that DO overwinter in New Hampshire have relocated out of their preferred summer roosts in trees (and Dave's chimney), and into winter hibernacula like caves, mine shafts, and abandoned military  bunkers where the microclimate is just right.

David Anderson

Standing dead trees (often called snags) are common in our forests, and it’s hard to overstate just how vital a role they play in a healthy ecosystem. These gray ghosts provide food and shelter for a whole heap of forest critters; a total of 43 species of birds and mammals are specially adapted to nesting or denning inside tree cavities.

Marko Kivela

This episode of Something Wild was produced by Andrew Parrella:

The number of acorns a tree produces in a given year has to do with masting. Not mast like on tall ships, but mast as in masticate, or to chew and it refers to the fruit, seeds or nuts that trees produce and are in turn fodder for animals. Especially in New Hampshire, oak mast follows a boom or bust cycle, which means the amount of acorns varies from year to year. Over time, evolution has favored the oak trees that demonstrate this boom or bust cycle.

Dave Anderson

It's late August, and the leaves are already starting to change. And that flush of red you’re seeing likely comes from the red maple, also known as “swamp” or “soft maple”.

It's an adaptable tree renowned for signaling an impending autumn, and has even earned the dubious nickname: “Judas Tree” – for betraying these late summer days.  

This Something Wild segment was produced by the amazing Andrew Parrella.

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.  

We know…we’ve been remiss, and it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Something Wild, as you know, is a chance to take a closer look at the wildlife, ecosystems and marvelous phenomena you can find in and around New Hampshire. But over the years there is one species in New Hampshire that we haven’t spent much time examining. A species, I think that has been conspicuous in its absence. Humans.

Dave Anderson

Expert wildlife tracker Susan Morse is A LOT of things:

A life-long naturalist…a Shakespearian scholar…an award winning photographer.

What she is not…is easy to get a hold of.  So with some persistence and a little luck, Something Wild's Dave Anderson and Chris Martin tracked Sue down a few weeks back, before her busy season kicked into high gear.

Which is right about now (late winter) as Sue leads dozens of programs across  New England and beyond—teaching everyday people about wildlife tracking and habitat monitoring techniques.

Courtesy Chris Goldberg via Flickr/Creative Commons.

It’s stick season in New Hampshire; the leaves are gone, our landscape exposed; a white blanket covers everything you see. Our trees are dormant. Aren’t they? To look at them, it wouldn’t seem that trees aren’t doing much right now. But it turns out there’s more going on than meets the eye. The phenomenon of photosynthesis is well documented, we all know that plants use their leaves to convert sunlight into sugar, or carbohydrates. But that’s not the only place photosynthesis happens.

CREDIT FILE PHOTO

  When we think about the kinds of people making important contributions to science, we might imagine someone in a white lab coat, squinting into a microscope, or pouring over reams of computer data.

 

Truth is, good science can also be accomplished by everyday people-- citizen scientists-- volunteering in both large and small collaborations.  

Emily Quirk

Standing dead trees (often called snags) are common in our forests, and it’s hard to overstate just how vital a role they play in a healthy ecosystem. These gray ghosts provide food and shelter for a whole heap of forest critters; a total of 43 species of birds and mammals are specially adapted to nesting or denning inside tree cavities.

Emily Quirk

Autumn in New Hampshire is a wonderful time to watch and observe some easily recognizable stages of natural cycles: hawks migrating, leaves changing color…bears fattening up as they get ready to hibernate.

But while we tend to think of cycles as a circular, repeatable pattern, unfolding year after year-- we should note that there are varying degrees of “cyclical” activity that can be quite complicated.

The main reason for this?

A common theme on Something Wild is breeding. (Which is why we always sip our tea with our pinkies extended.) Seriously, though, we talk about the how, when and where because there are a lot of different reproductive strategies that have evolved in nature. Today we take a closer look at two such strategies through the lens of "how often": semelparity and iteroparity.

Robert Taylor via Flickr

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.

  

Something Wild: Smell that Olfactory

Aug 2, 2019
Courtesy Tony Alter via Flickr/Creative Commons.

We know…we’ve been remiss, and it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Something Wild, as you know, is a chance to take a closer look at the wildlife, ecosystems and marvelous phenomena you can find in and around New Hampshire. But over the years there is one species in New Hampshire that we haven’t spent much time examining. A species, I think that has been conspicuous in its absence. Humans.

Something Wild: Eye of the Turtle

Jul 19, 2019
Courtesy j van cise photos via Flickr/Creative Commons.

New Hampshire benefits from the presence of seven different turtle species. This week on Something Wild we’re taking a closer look at two of the most common species you can find all over the state: painted turtles and snapping turtles.

  

Courtesy Heidi Asbjornsen

The specter of drought is often raised in these early days of summer. And for good reason, though water levels have returned to normal around the New Hampshire, state officials are still warning residents to remain cautious after last summer drought. And while we often fret about the health of our lawns and our gardens, Dave (from the Forest Society) wanted to address drought resistance among his favorite species, trees.

Something Wild: NH Brooks Brook Trout

Jun 7, 2019
via Wikimedia Commons

The foam formed eddies on the surface of the pool as Stevens Brook rushed down and through this particular crook in the waterway in the shadow of route-89 in East Sutton, New Hampshire.

Something Wild paused here recently to talk fish with author and fish historian, Jack Noon, who is unapologetic about naming his favorite fish. The eastern brook trout is that for a smattering of reasons. First it’s a family thing. Noon, learned to fish at the elbow of his grandfather, who had a clear preference for brook trout.

Something Wild: Warbler Fallout

May 10, 2019
Courtesy Tom Benson via Flickr/Creative Commons.

As spring tentatively unfolds around the state, (and the more diligent of us celebrate International Migratory Bird Day - 5/11) the familiar nuisance of black flies also reappears. And as annoying as we find them, as we’ve discussed earlier, they are a sign of healthy eco-system. The presence of black flies means there are sources of clean fresh running water nearby. Black flies are also among the explosion of insect protein in the northeast this time of year, which signals the arrival of more colorful residents…neotropical migrant songbirds.

Tom Murray via BugGuide.net

We often think of the “food chain” in the natural world in linear terms: this eats that, which in turn, is eaten by the other. But today’s subject proves that chain is a little more like a web. The species we’re talking about today feeds on the most dangerous game, the apex of apex predators…us. And the species that prey on us? Mosquitos, of course! We recently spoke with Sarah MacGregor, an entomologist and founder of Dragon Mosquito Control, help us learn more about them.

Something Wild: Balds Are Everywhere!

Apr 12, 2019
Courtesy Shawn McCready via Flickr/Creative Commons.

On a recent edition of NHPR’s The Exchange, Chris and Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of the Squam Lake Natural Science Center were on hand to discuss one of their favorite species.

Chris marveled at how bald eagles are everywhere in the state these days. “They’re nesting in Pittsburg; they’re nesting in Hinsdale; they’re nesting in Newcastle.” And they’re noisy, if you listen carefully you can hear their calls all over New Hampshire.

Courtesy batwrangler via Flickr/Creative Commons.

It’s an unmistakable sound. One that elicits memories, sights and scents of events long ago. It recalls the joy of youth, the possibility of a spring evening. But it can also incite insomnia and the blind rage that accompanies it.

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