Birds

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.

Outside/In: Go Big or Go Home

Oct 28, 2016

In this week's episode, the rise and fall of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a quaint New England tradition that took a dark turn when riots broke out during the 2014 festival. Plus, the calmest extreme sport you'll ever witness: bird-watching. Sam answers a listener question about some rather nefarious crows and we travel to the most glamorous outdoor spot you've likely never noticed and discover it is teeming with microscopic life.

Recently the Something Wild team went for a hike. One thing to bear in mind when walking with knowledgeable biologists like Chris and Dave, is that hikes take longer than they might if you were walking on your own.

Heading South: Bird Migration and Human Impact

Sep 30, 2016
Kelly Colgan Azar, Flickr.com

It's not uncommon at this time of year to look up and see the familiar shape of geese migrating south, or the broad wings of raptors riding the wind currents. We discuss the different species of birds, including songbirds, who make an annual migration, and how they equip themselves for their journey. We also examine how humans have influenced the abundance of the species, and what we can do to help lessen our impact here on the ground in New Hampshire.

Chris Martin / Courtesy of NH Audubon

November is a great time to spot golden eagles. They are a rare sight in New Hampshire, but they do pass through the state on their annual migration. Right now they’re on their way south to winter in the central Appalachians. They’ll pass back through the state in March on their way to Labrador and northern Quebec to nest. Golden eagles are sometimes confused with young bald eagles, but there are differences. When bald eagles are in flight, they hold their wings flat like a plank, but golden...

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. First off we know there...

A Kettle of One

Sep 6, 2016
David Maher via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2PWhTk

Each autumn, New Hampshire birders are treated to abundant flocks of broad-winged hawks beginning to migrate south. This September, Word of Mouth’s favorite bird dude Eric Masterson will be biking across five time zones, 40 degrees of latitude and 5000 miles tracking the migration of the raptors. Why? Well, despite the hawks’ impressive numbers, little is known about their migration.

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. A "scatter hoarder" hides food in a bunch of different places within its territory. The gray squirrel is a classic example, gathering acorns and burying them in trees or in the ground. Not all squirrels are hoarders. Red squirrels are ...

NHPR

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center . Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack . He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.”

Wild Turkey
John Mizel / Flickr Creative Commons

There is a common misconception that wild turkeys were once extinct in New Hampshire but have since returned. Extinction is often confused with extirpation but they are actually two different concepts. Extinct refers to species no longer in existence, having no living representatives – gone everywhere. Things like the brontosaurus, which no longer occurred as of 10's of millions years ago, the wooly mammoth 10-thousand years ago, or the passenger pigeon only 10...

Flkr Creative Commons / US Fish and Wildlife

Talk of turkey is usually relegated to the month of November as we stuff ourselves with eating yams and cranberry jelly, and watch college football. And the misperception about Ben Franklin proposing the wild turkey as our national bird, is usually not far behind.

Ed Yourdon via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7umThC

To catch a thief, you have to think like one. To prevent a crime, you have to case a joint like a potential infiltrator and find the weak spots. Today, an architecture and design critic gives us a burglars eye view of the built environment Plus, humans respond to architecture on measurable cognitive and physiological levels - which means boring cities take a steep toll on our bodies and our minds.

Matt Ward via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/7BuupJ)

Is there a song that has stuck with you for years? Maybe a tune your parents sang to you as a child, the notes imprinted on your mind and became a part of your being. As Chris and Dave shared the melodies imparted to themselves, the conversation turned (as it often does) to birds. Is our musical learning similar to that of our avian neighbors?

4.12.16: Jackson vs. Trump & Birds, Birds, Birds

Apr 12, 2016
PROscreenpunk via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4JiDy2

Imagine a political outsider who's thin on policy and big on celebrity. He's crude. He draws enormous crowds, and his popularity has party leaders panicking. I'm talking of course about presidential candidate Andrew Jackson. Today, we'll look at some parallels between the elections of 2016 and 1824. Then, New Englanders are cautiously optimistic about the end of a mild winter - with one devoted group especially keen to see what the spring brings – birdwatchers.

Courtesy Duncan Hull via Vlickr (https://flic.kr/p/bA7FsW)

For the past 20 years, peregrine falcons have shared the cliffs in Rumney with the rock-climbing community, and Chris Martin has been directing the monitoring of these birds since they arrived. In addition to tracking the progress of the falcons as they emerged from their endangered status, Chris and the Forest Service work closely with the climbing community to support recreation and maintain the safety of the falcons.

capegirl52 via Flickr

Right now the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. Light enters our atmosphere at a much shallower angle and for fewer hours each day. To put it simply, it's cold in New England. And as sure as January's cold the usual grumblings from residents about the plunging mercury abound. It isn’t surprising when you consider how poorly adapted we humans are for living in the cold. However, adaptations in other species in New Hampshire have allowed them to flourish. Chickadees, for instance...

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 21 st century New England. So we thought maybe it’s time for an update… a rewrite… a New Hampshire Christmas carol. We’ll skip over days twelve through eight – those all have to do with crafts people and artisans – and jump...

Chris Martin / Courtesy of NH Audubon

November is a great time to spot golden eagles. They are a rare sight in New Hampshire, but they do pass through the state on their annual migration. Right now they’re on their way south to winter in the central Appalachians. They’ll pass back through the state in March on their way to Labrador and northern Quebec to nest. Golden eagles are sometimes confused with young bald eagles, but there are differences. When bald eagles are in flight, they hold their wings flat like a plank, but golden...

Courtesy Town of Monroe

You know how New Hampshire likes to be first in the nation when it comes to politics? Well, it turns out we’re stragglers in another category: sandhill cranes. They’ve been nesting in our neighboring states of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, but they never went granite until 2014.

Something Wild: Azure Crescendo

Oct 2, 2015
Kelly Colgan Azar via flickr Creative Commons

Generations ago, when people lived closer to the natural world, more outdoors than in, mild October days were called "bluebird weather." The eastern bluebirds' gentle, quizzical notes were familiar and their distinctive habits recognized. A bluebird family remains together this time of year when most other bird species disperse. They favor field or open habitat, and typically perch on branches at field edge when they feed. Family members take turns dropping down to the ground then return to...

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. A "scatter hoarder" hides food in a bunch of different places within its territory. The gray squirrel is a classic example, gathering acorns and burying them in trees or in the ground. Not all squirrels are hoarders. Red squirrels are...

jjjj56cp via flickr Creative Commons

The bird world quiets down by late summer - but not the American goldfinch, one of the most common backyard birds. September brings the chatter of young goldfinches as they follow their male parent. They beg noisily, perched with head thrown back and trembling wings. Most songbirds switch their diet to high-protein insects when feeding their young, and they nest earlier when insects are most bountiful. For example, chickadees that keep bird-feeders busy in winter disappear in summer as they...

Suzie Tremmel via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/y5VH

Looking to deepen your relationships, professional satisfaction, and personal innovation? Then it’s time to get vulnerable. We speak with TED Talk superstar Brene Brown, whose research says that exposing our secret selves is the most daring way to live. And, while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. Plus, twins separated at birth find each other at last.

NHPR

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center . Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack . He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.”

Paul Cecil at www.permuted.org.uk

There are actuarial tables and plenty of lists to help you figure out whether you've hit middle age. Gray hair, inability to read your phone. Failure to recognize every song on the radio. But as NHPR's Sean Hurley reflects from his home in the White Mountains, maybe middle age is simply noticing a shift in perspective. I wake early from the crows screeching through the different open windows of our house. Chalkboard screams demanding rebates, wanting to talk to the mayor. It's not even six...

NH Audubon

Those of you who keep a close eye on the Peregrine Falcon cam in Manchester, will be well acquainted with the saga these birds have undergone. If you're not, NH Audubon's Chris Martin recorded a quick recap last year.

The song of the veery is a haunting, ethereal song. Males sing at dusk, a time when not many other birds sing and daytime winds have calmed. It's also a time when the air turns damp; dense, moist air transfers sound waves better than dry air. If you listen to the song carefully, you can hear an echo or tremolo effect (more on this below), because songbirds have, essentially, a double voice box that can produce two notes at the same time. (The left voice box is lower pitched than the right one...

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

If you visit Appledore Island during spring bird migration, consider wearing a helmet. “Yeah I mean the herring gulls will hit you and it’s jarring, but the black-backs hitting you can do some serious damage,” says Sarah Courchesne, a sea-gull researcher with Tufts University, as she and her students suit up to go out and catch seagulls. The gulls that nest around the research station get very protective this time of year “They bite and they pinch and then they kind of lacerate you and then...

Warm Weather Heralds Prime Bird Watching Season

May 4, 2015
JD via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/eUKGG8

If this past winter had you longing for sunny days and spending more times outdoors, you’re certainly not alone. As northerly winds make way for the warm southerly breezes, you’ll likely notice quite a few more birds at the feeders and songbirds chirping away out of sight. Spring is prime-time for bird watching and while you may have noticed the return of the Red-winged Blackbirds back in March, and perhaps a surge in waterfowl sightings, there a plenty more feathered friends winging their way north.

Colleen P. via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/nBkdFS

It was a long hard winter – but temperatures are finally climbing and bird song is erupting across New Hampshire. Today is Bird Day and we’ll talk about the sounds of spring migration – and hear how you can keep traveling birds from flying into your windows. Plus, an amateur photographer and creator of the #WorstBirdPic Meme comes to terms with the fact that 99% of his bird photos are blurry. And two spring traditions come together in a new project that’s just sprouted at Fenway Park: an organic rooftop garden.

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