How Well Do You Know Your New Hampshire Birds?
If you want to know how, when and where to find some cool birds, then check out the new book, Birdwatching in New Hampshire, by Eric Masterson of Hancock.
It’s not a guide to identifying birds – there are plenty of good field guides for that. It’s a masterfully written and illustrated guide to finding the “good birds,” the unusual birds, the hard-to-find rarities that occur in certain places at certain times.
Birds like red-throated loons, which you might spot along the seacoast in the winter. Or spruce grouse that you might see in Pittsburg. Or thousands of broad-winged hawks you can see from Pack Monadnock Mountain.
Masterson shows with clear maps, handy timelines and regional descriptions how you can have a productive birdwatching trip, whether you’re an expert checking off a life-list or an amateur just wanting to see some amazing birds. A read through his book will also give you a greater appreciation for the birds that visit or spend their lives in New Hampshire. Some of our seasonal birds, for instance, travel thousands of miles on their journeys, sometimes spending a day here or months.
To whet your appetite for birding and Masterson’s book, here’s a little quiz, pulled from its pages.
- Big storms, like hurricanes, can wreak havoc for birdwatching: True or False?
- One of these things is NOT on the birding code
a. Promote the welfare of birds and their environments.
b. Make sure feeders are safe and clean.
c. Always promote the presence of a rare bird.
d. Stay on roads, trails and paths, otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.
- The arrival of songbirds from their tropical
winter homes peaks in:
d. early fall
- One rare bird you may see off New Hampshire’s
coast in the winter is:
a. Atlantic puffin
b. Bicknell’s thrush
c. ruby-throated hummingbird
d. gray jay
- Canada geese flying through New Hampshire in the
spring are usually heading for:
b. South America
c. the Bahamas
d. eastern Canadian provinces
- The only staffed raptor observatory in New
a. on the Isles of Shoals
b. on Pack Monadnock Mountain
c. on Mount Washington
d. in Concord, at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium
- The best time of year to see golden eagles in
New Hampshire is:
a. late-October through early November
b. during spring migration
c. in mid-summer along the coast
d. never. They don’t pass through New Hampshire.
- If you were to take a day off of work to see the
annual hawk migration, the best time to do it would be:
a. in the spring, around May 15
b. near the end of the migration in November
c. between September 16 and 19
d. it’s too erratic to pick a date
- Most species of songbirds migrate during:
a. the night
b. the day
- Birds that we can see in New Hampshire can be
migrants from as far away as:
a. the Florida Keys
c. Long Island Sound
- False. Some of the best birdwatching opportunities can come after big storms, which sometimes leave exotic birds in their wakes. For instance, Masterson notes that tropical species were seen all along the East Coast, deposited by the hurricane. In New Hampshire, that included sightings of white-tailed tropicbird and sooty tern.
- C. Promoting the presence of a rare bird. There may be a few good reasons to not promote its presence, especially if the promotion might endanger the bird.
- C. May, usually during the middle of the month. It’s coming right up!
- A. Atlantic puffin. You can see these beautiful birds in February in places like Jeffrey’s Ledge, many miles off the coast, if you can actually get out there.
- D. Eastern Canadian provinces, including Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland or Labrador. Some individuals will go as far north as Greenland.
- B. On Pack Monadnock. The site has been fully covered by a staffer from New Hampshire Audubon each fall since 2005. On average, 9,895 raptors have been counted each fall, many of which are broad-winged hawks.
- A. Late-October through early November. Though you might spot a golden eagle in New Hampshire during its spring migration, you stand a better chance in the fall.
- C. Between September 16 and 19. If you were to draw a bell curve for the best date, it would be around September 18.
- A. the night. They will often make landfall before dawn, then spend the day resting and refueling.
- D. Antarctica. In fact, the Arctic tern flies from its Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back, sometimes passing through coastal New Hampshire during their journey.