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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

A New Look for New Hampshire Bird Records

nhbr-spring2013

The Spring 2013 issue of New Hampshire Bird Records has a new, larger format with more room for pictures and articles.

Subscribers have been thrilled with the new format and you can get a sneak peak on the web site.

Last spring was the year with the Memorial weekend snow storm in the North Country and you can see photos and read about the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that swarmed around Betsy Fraser’s feeders in the free article on the web.

Volunteer for Mountain Birdwatch

Battell Mountain Overlook, Vermont

Do you enjoy hiking, and would you like to use your birding skills to support conservation? Mountain Birdwatch is a long-term monitoring program for Bicknell’s Thrush and other high-elevation forest birds, and we seek volunteers to conduct a dawn survey in the White Mountains this June. Wake up to a Bicknell’s Thrush serenade, delight in frenetic Winter Wren song, and seek out the “rattlesnake” bird, the Blackpoll Warbler, as you collect important data. Volunteers survey a mountain route on a morning in June; these pre-dawn surveys start 45 minutes before sunrise and include up to 6 point counts along a montane trail. (To learn more about Mountain Birdwatch protocols, visit http://www.vtecostudies.org/MBW/prep.html.)

All confirmed volunteers are welcome to attend one of our three pre-season training workshops; this year’s workshops will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014 in St. Johnsbury, VT; Saturday, 17 May 2104 in Delmar, NY; and Saturday, 31 May 2014 in Falmouth, ME. For a complete list of dates and locations, visit http://www.vtecostudies.org/MBW/announcements.html.

NH Audubon’s Centennial Birdathon/Bloomathon May 17-18, 2014

Male Magnolia Warbler in a flowering willow – two iconic symbols of spring that might be seen during Birdathon/Bloomathon. Photo by Len Medlock.

As New Hampshire Audubon enters its second century, one thing is clear – conservation challenges require us all to be more mindful of decisions shaping the future of wildlife, natural places, and ultimately, ourselves. The 2014 Birdathon/Bloomathon promises to provide that opportunity. Fun, accessible and inclusive, this year’s fundraising event will entice members and all who are interested to form friendly but competitive teams to search for birds and blooms statewide. Looking back 100 years, birds were the gateway to the conservation movement that still guides our work in education, advocacy, wildlife research, and stewardship/conservation. We invite you to participate in or pledge your support for this great competition! For details, click here.

Read Your Palms

A spring “Yellow” Palm Warbler, taken by Len Medlock, 4/21/13.

Help Us Learn More About Palm Warbler Migration, by Hector Galbraith

Two sub-species of Palm Warbler are known to occur on migration in New England, the Yellow or Eastern Palm, and the Western or gray palm. In the spring most earlier Palm Warblers are Yellow, while Westerns seem to pass through the west of the region later and in smaller numbers.

Right now, for example, in the Connecticut River Valley in Western New Hampshire many Yellow have already passed through and there are now mixed parties of both sub-species. On the coast, most birds seem to be Yellow, and Westerns may be rare. In the fall, the situation seems to flip with Westerns being the normal coastal race and Yellows occurring further inland.

There is a lot that we do not yet understand about the migration of the sub-species of Palm Warbler through our region. This is partly because birders do not typically report the sub-species of birds that they find, calling them simply Palm Warblers. Nevertheless, separation of the sub-species is usually not too difficult; both Sibley and National Geographic guide have good illustrations.

So, a plea: please record your sub-species in eBird. The initial list of species that you see will not show the two sub-species. To find them, simply click the “add a species” option and type in Palm Warbler. You will then be offered the option of Palm Warbler with no sub-species, the Yellow (eastern) sub-species, or the Western sub-species and you can record your birds accordingly. Simple!

Introducing the eBird Location Explorer!

location-explorer

eBird’s new Location Explorer is designed to be a “dashboard” overview for a region, quickly summarizing the information birders find most useful at the regional level (e.g., country, state, or county). You can keep track of recent birding activity, such as what’s happening at your favorite locations, who’s been birding lately, and explore recent checklist submissions. You can help plan your birding trips by discovering the best places to find birds in a region. You can compare your stats with those of other eBirders in a region, and see how your county, state, or country ranks compared to others. We encourage you to explore the world using eBird’s new Location Explorer!

3/25/14 Workshop – Introduction to eBird

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Workshop – Introduction to eBird
Tuesday, March 25, 7:00-8:00pm, NH Audubon’s McLane Center, Concord, NH

eBird is an on-line system for reporting bird sightings in New Hampshire and elsewhere. This workshop is designed to help eBird beginners learn how to get started and enter their sightings. There will be a presentation showing the basic step by step process of how to enter sightings using a live on-line example and then hands-on help to enter your own sightings on your own laptop (computers will also be available for participants without laptops).

Class size is limited so please e-mail Becky Suomala to register, rsuomala@nhaudubon.org. A donation of $10 would be appreciated.

Superbowl of Birding Adventures with the “Twitchers in the Rye”

The 2014 Twitchers in the Rye (Pat Myers, captain Pam Hunt, driver Becky Suomala, and rookie Peg Ackerson), January 25, 2014. Photo by Rick Dumont.

The annual tradition continued on the morning of January 25, 2014, with the “Twitchers in the Rye” beginning the “Superbowl of Birding” at 5:00 a.m listening for owls. The weather, although cold to start, moderated during the day and was one of the milder days in recent weeks. Highlights from the day included two five-point species: Brown Thrasher and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a Fox Sparrow and a Great Blue Heron, both new for the Twitchers. A Snowy Owl at Rye Harbor State Park was a treat, although somewhat expected given how many are being seen in New England this winter. The final total was 58 species and 104 points, and the team raised more than $1,000 in pledges for New Hampshire Bird Records and NH eBird (two projects of NH Audubon’s Conservation Department). Many thanks to our sponsors!

How Many Birds in Your Backyard? NH Audubon Needs Your Help on Feb. 8th and 9th for Statewide Bird Survey!

CORE at feeder

Stock up those bird feeders and dig out your binoculars for New Hampshire Audubon’s Backyard Winter Bird Survey. This annual statewide survey will take place on Saturday, February 8, and Sunday, February 9. Biologists need assistance from citizens all over the Granite State to get a clear picture of what’s really happening with our winter birds.

Anyone can participate in the Backyard Winter Bird Survey by counting the birds in their own backyard on the survey weekend and reporting on-line or sending the results on a special reporting
form to NH Audubon. To receive a copy of the reporting form, call New Hampshire Audubon (603-224-9909). Forms are also available at NH Audubon centers in Auburn, Concord and Manchester, and on-line. For more information about the survey, instructions and forms, or to report on-line, click here http://www.nhbirdrecords.org/bird-conservation/backyard-winter-survey.htm.

Twitchers in the Rye and the Superbowl of Birding – January 25, 2014

Photo shows Twitchers in the Rye 2013 team of Pam Hunt, Becky Suomala, Andrea Robbins, and Pat Myers with their surprising 2013 win of the "Rockingham Rocks" award.

The “Twitchers in the Rye” will be taking part in the Superbowl of Birding on January 25 and spending the entire day in Rye, NH. The Superbowl is a competition that takes place on the last Saturday in January – but this Superbowl has nothing to do with football. It involves looking for as many bird species as possible in 12 hours and is run by Massachusetts Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center.

“Twitchers” is Pam Hunt, Becky Suomala, Pat Myers and Peg Ackerson in 2014. Help spur them on by pledging – and support the collection of bird data for conservation at the same time.

Learn about Winter Warblers in New Hampshire Bird Records

Varied Thrush - Photo by Christine Sheridan, 2/14/13, Nashua, NH.

Warblers are usually a feature of spring, but New Hampshire has occasional sightings each winter, such as the Townsend’s Warbler that was at Odiorne Point State Park in mid-December this year.

Read about which species are most likely to occur in winter in the Species Spotlight feature of the New Hampshire Bird Records Winter 2012-13 issue – now available on the web as a free article by Ben Griffith and Lauren Kras.