Birds | New Hampshire Public Radio

Birds

Spring Birding in N.H.

Mar 26, 2021
NH Audubon

We explore ways to attract birds and the best birdwatching spots in the state. We also discuss more casual birding and ways to start if you've never done it before. 

Air date: Monday, March 29, 2021.

Bob Basile / NH Audubon

New Hampshire Audubon has a new study on the status of the many migratory and local bird species that are commonly found across the state’s varied habitats.

It shows conservation measures that have been effective to improve some species’ populations, as well as the pressures from climate change and human development that threaten others.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in northern New Hampshire, the pandemic broke a decades-long streak of field research. Now, scientists there are adapting with new technology – recording the sounds of the forest, which they hope will transform their long and influential record of a changing world.  


File photo

A new study from the Audubon Society says climate change could push some state birds out of their home ranges – including New Hampshire’s purple finch.

The report, released Thursday in a major follow-up to a less detailed 2014 Audubon study, says even a moderate warming scenario could push the iconic finch out of much of New Hampshire.

But senior conservation biologist Pam Hunt with the state Audubon society cautions that the true climate picture for birds may be more complicated than that.

Scanning N.H. Skies: Diminishing Bird Numbers

Oct 8, 2019
File photo

Birds are a good indicator of environmental health, and a recent study shows a drastic decline in the North American bird population - with three billion birds gone since 1970. The numbers were drawn with help from the birdwatching community. We see how this decline is playing out in New Hampshire, and look for inspiration from some successes in the Granite State. 

Air Date: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019

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: 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.

Courtesy Jerry McFarland via Flickr/Creative Commons.

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. The snow and ice have muscled out the grass, and the chilly sounds of the north wind have blown away the dawn chorus that woke us this summer. 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.

Something Wild: Terns Thriving on Isles of Shoals

Sep 28, 2018
Chris Martin/NHPR/NHA

We started the day on Appledore Island, just outside Portsmouth Harbor. The Shoals Marine Lab, resident there, traces its history back to 1928. Among the biologists spending the summer there this year were Dr. Elizabeth Craig, Tern Conservation Program Manager. "There are three species that I’m hoping we’re going to see today; the common tern, the roseate tern and the arctic tern." In her orientation she walks through the differences among the species, but all three are long lived, which for birds, means 10-30 year life-spans.

Courtesy Allen Forrest via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Kirk Dorsey wanted to be an ornithologist, so he went to Cornell University. “But I was not a particularly good student at ornithology…all the biology classes. But I was taking history classes for fun.” And in his junior year he found himself in a US Foreign Policy class.

“There was a half a sentence in a text book, that in 1916, the United States and Canada negotiated a treaty to protect migratory birds. And I thought, ‘wow, I had no idea. I need to learn more about that.’” So, in graduate school, that became the subject of Dorsey’s dissertation.

Courtesy dimitrisokolenko via Creative Commons.

Labor Day weekend is often summer’s last hurrah – or at least our last chance to participate in those uniquely summer pastimes. So we thought we’d go out with some sun, surf and a nice breeze by exploring another of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods. And once again we take a tour of great place to visit, but a hard place to eke out a living.

Evans-Brown/NHPR.

Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown, joined us in the field this week at Something Wild. We were in Sutton, NH tracking some turkey vulture chicks, because Dave discovered some vultures living among the rocks in a nearby cliff-face.

In today's episode, we're talking about species that thrive... and some that don't. First, an American lobster discovered in European waters raises some important questions: is it invasive or just non-native? Then the story of two birds: one universally reviled and the other an avian celebrity. 

There are different kinds of lobster… you know this, right? You’ve seen Blue Planet.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Spring in New Hampshire means black bears are emerging from their dens to search for food – including around your backyard bird feeder.

And warming winters are bringing the bears out sooner. So state officials now want people to bring in their bird feeders earlier than ever.

Kelly Dwyer lives in a big, airy house nestled up against the woods in Hooksett. Being back here, she says, has its perks:

“The surprise of what is going to show up that day – what’s going to fly in or walk in – it’s really exciting,” she says. “And just the peace and tranquility.”

Courtesy Vincent Perrone via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Unfortunately, passing the Equinox, doesn't flip a switch on the weather. While we may be ready for spring temperatures and mild breezes, this week's winds and cold are a reminder that winter will not "go quietly into that good night." While it may not feel like spring, take solace from the fact that heading back to New Hampshire from the tropics, right now, are some of the most melodious songsters that we have: the woodland thrushes. 

Courtesy Szoke Hunor via Flirckr/Creative Commons.

Love stories abound this time of year, so what better time to revisit Something Wild’s First Bitten series where we explore the story of what made biologists fall in love with biology? This story is about a boy and a girl, and the great outdoors.

Courtesy of Chad Witko

Rollinsford doesn’t attract many high profile visitors. It’s a rural community on the New Hampshire-Maine border, with a small downtown and modest houses along Main Street. Perhaps the quiet appeal of the place is to thank, in part, for why a rare bird has taken up residence there.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Patriots fans will be rooting against the Eagles in the big game this weekend. But they might have missed another Superbowl last weekend that was all about the birds.

In the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s annual Superbowl of Birding, dozens of birdwatchers flock to the Seacoast and the Bay State’s Essex County for a 12-hour birding blitz. 


Something Wild: Teachers Spread the Nature Bug

Feb 2, 2018

No one knows better than teachers how quickly a bug, once introduced, can take hold. We’re not just talking about head colds and stomach viruses. Today on Something Wild we’re taking a look at how biologists are first bitten.

Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

'Tis the season for Christmas carols but at Something Wild one in particular captures our attention: The Twelve Days of Christmas. There are a lot of birds featured in the song but, like so many of our carols, the lyrics are from old Europe and don’t really speak to life in 21st century New England. So we thought maybe it’s time for an update… a rewrite… a New Hampshire Christmas carol.

NHPR

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. The snow and ice have muscled out the grass, and the chilly sounds of the north wind have blown away the dawn chorus that woke us this summer. 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.

Something Wild: Terns Thriving on Isles of Shoals

Sep 29, 2017
Chris Martin/NHPR/NHA

We started the day on Appledore Island, just outside Portsmouth Harbor. The Shoals Marine Lab, resident there, traces its history back to 1928. Among the biologists spending the summer there this year were Dr. Elizabeth Craig, Tern Conservation Program Manager. "There are three species that I’m hoping we’re going to see today; the common tern, the roseate tern and the arctic tern." In her orientation she walks through the differences among the species, but all three are long lived, which for birds, means 10-30 year life-spans.

Something Wild: Loon Facts and Fate

Sep 15, 2017
National Audubon Society

The iconic call of the loon is one you’ll hear on ponds and lakes throughout the state. We’re checked in with John Cooley, Senior Biologist with the Loon Preservation Committee to learn a bit about the bird and the state of its welfare.

The iconic call of the loon is one you’ll hear on ponds and lakes throughout the state. We’re checked in with John Cooley, Senior Biologist with the Loon Preservation Committee to learn a bit about the bird and the state of its welfare.

Something Wild: Visiting Wings of the Dawn Wildlife Rehab Center

Sep 8, 2017

Something Wild recently visited Maria Colby, director of Wings of the Dawn Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Henniker.

Courtesy dimitrisokolenko via Creative Commons.

Labor Day weekend is often summer’s last hurrah – or at least our last chance to participate in those uniquely summer pastimes. So we thought we’d go out with some sun, surf and a nice breeze by exploring another of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods. And once again we take a tour of great place to visit, but a hard place to eke out a living.

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.

Evans-Brown/NHPR.

Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown, joined us in the field this week at Something Wild. We were in Sutton, NH tracking some turkey vulture chicks, because Dave discovered some vultures living among the rocks in a nearby cliff-face.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Picture unspoiled wild forest, the type of place only animals and Boy Scouts feel at home. Now erase that image from your mind, and picture a power line right of way: one of those ruler-straight strips of utility poles that brutishly slash through the woods. Would anything choose that for a home?

Audubon Field Guide

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is celebrated this year on May 13th in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. 

IMBD, which was created in 1993 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, brings attention to migratory birds’ annual journey between their summer and winter homes.

No one knows better than teachers how quickly a bug, once introduced, can take hold. We’re not just talking about head colds and stomach viruses. Today on Something Wild we’re taking a look at how biologists are first bitten.

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