Christmas Bird Count Season Approaching
Harriers' year-end party to follow Peterborough CBC
Be a part of one of the oldest bird census projects in the country! For over a hundred years, citizen scientists have been helping to monitor bird populations by recording every winged thing they see on a particular day in mid-December. The Harriers will take a section in the Peterborough CBC on Saturday, December 14th, beginning at 8:00. We'll adjourn about 2:00 to the Harris Center for some hot cocoa, food, and a year-end celebration of the Young Birders Club. We'll elect our officers for 2014 and take care of other Club business. We'll also get to meet The General, a 12-year-old Red-tailed Hawk, and watch him in flight. Put the CBC on your calendar today, and let us know you'll be coming!
Harriers Have A New Sponsor!
The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, based in Holderness, NH, will be giving their organizational backing to the Young Birders Club. Starting this fall, the Science Center's umbrella will expand to include the club, which will continue to operate by and large independently. The Harriers will have a part in helping to expand the Center's educational outreach efforts to interested students statewide. Iain MacLeod, Executive Director of the Center, was himself, as a young man in Scotland, a member of a Young Ornithologists Club run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. “The YOC program was so important in my early birding career. Having an opportunity to spend time in the field with experienced birders, learning field craft and where the bird hot spots were, was so important. I later became a YOC leader and passed on my knowledge to younger kids,” said MacLeod. He added, “I am delighted to help support the YBC in New Hampshire and help shape the next generation of birders and conservation professionals of the future.”
Join The Harriers!
Do you like the outdoors? Do you like exploring in woods, fields, tidal pools, swamps? Are you interested in seeking out the birds and wildlife that live there, and learning them by name? Do you think you might be half-bird yourself? Join The Harriers and connect with other kids who feel the same.
New Hampshire’s Young Birders Club will open up to you some of the region’s most ecologically rich and diverse habitats. If you’d like to see new birds, learn to identify them by sight and by sound, and understand more about how they fit into the larger web of life around us, sign yourself up!
The Harriers welcome all kids under the age of 18 who live in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, or Massachusetts. You don’t need to pass any test! If you’re interested in the natural world, we’d love to have you. Ask your parents if you can get involved, and have them contact the club's coordinators to find out more about us.
Because the Young Birders Club (YBC) is run by kids, there are plenty of chances to play a leadership role within the organization. Your photographs and writing are needed for the website; your ideas for group excursions make our field trips happen. And by becoming a member, you will become one of your school’s “Lead Birders,” with the chance to be in charge of collecting and recording data about the bird-life on and around your campus. By comparing that information with that of other schools, we can get a more complete picture of what’s happening, year by year, to New Hampshire’s avian species.
Join the Harriers!
Membership in the Harriers lets you attend any and all of our field trips. Annual dues are $25, which help make our events possible. When you become a Harrier, you’ll also receive:
- Your own copy of the brand-new Stokes Field Guide to Birds (Eastern Region) [$20 list price]
- One "Rite-in-the-rain" notebook for your field notes and observations
- A checklist of New Hampshire’s birds
- A subscription to the YBC’s newsletter, The Harrier
- A membership sticker featuring the Harriers' logo
- Best of all, you’ll be able to participate for free in any YBC event you like: look for nesting peregrine falcons in the White Mountains; watch young loons on New Hampshire ponds; hammer together nest-boxes for wood ducks; learn how to band migratory songbirds…the opportunities are endless! Check out our list of upcoming events to learn more.
What’s a Harrier, anyway?
The Harriers include a number of species of birds of prey (Latin genus name, Circus). At least one type of harrier is native to each continent other than Antarctica. They are long-winged birds with acute senses of sight and hearing. They usually hunt their prey (which includes small rodents, reptiles, or birds) by flying very low over a patch of open ground, such as a marsh or stubble field, looking and listening for any movement beneath them. In New Hampshire, our native harrier is the Northern Harrier, which used to be called the Marsh Hawk. It is a species of some concern, as populations appear to be declining in parts of the country, including New England. Adult males are very pale gray, with black wingtips, colors which give them the nickname “Gray ghosts.” Females are brown above and pale below. A young harrier’s plumage is like the adult female’s, only its belly is a luminous rusty-orange color, making it one of the few species in which the juvenile birds are more colorful than their parents. Birders will do well to take after this gorgeous animal!