Fall Programs Offer Opportunities for Beginner Birders Across the State

Posted on September 7, 2016

Brush up on birdwatching skills and get tips from the pros before the fall migration

Each year, more and more people attend NH Audubon’s workshops to learn basic birdwatching skills. Professional biologists, trained volunteers, expert guides and highly trained staff members come together to teach – and learn – the best locales to spot rare birds, how to recognize the call of a hawk, the logic behind where a robin builds her nest, how to focus binoculars, and many other nuances that transform a well-loved hobby into a meaningful connection with wildlife and nature.

“If you’ve ever heard a tweet, looked up, and felt that sense of wonder, excitement and appreciation, you are a birder,” said NH Audubon President Doug Bechtel. “Many find great pleasure in watching birds in their backyards, during walks and hikes, or at group programs organized by the team at NH Audubon. We want to make it as easy and fun as possible to get involved.”

NH Audubon has four centers and 10 chapters located across the state – all open now – with staff and volunteers ready to answer your questions about birdwatching. Their expertise varies by training, experience or project goal, but all get the most excited about one thing: helping others appreciate the birds and wildlife that grace the Granite State. Many favorite birdwatching locales are handicap accessible, have terrain suitable for all fitness levels, and welcome children and adults alike.

Few know those locales better than former NH Audubon staff ornithologist and current volunteer, Bob Quinn. He has led hundreds of field trips throughout the U.S. and beyond, and conducts an annual series of three workshops for experienced birders and novices alike in New Hampshire. He calls birdwatching one of the fastest growing activities in the state and offers a laid back introduction to the process, tools, etiquette, safety considerations, and identification skills any birder can use to get the most out of birdwatching. The Beginning Birding with Bob Quinn series kicks off from 6 to 9 pm on Wednesday, September 7. The cost is $35 per person for NHA members and $43 non-members, per session, or $144/$175 for all five sessions. Bob is also offering a free Introduction to Bird Watching on Saturday, September 10 from 1 to 3 pm where participants will learn about the general idea behind birding. For more field trips – including free events – visit nhaudubon.org.

To the east, NH Audubon’s Seacoast Chapter is hosting four free morning bird walks for beginners, starting with an exploration of Pickering Ponds in Rochester from 8 to 9 am on Wednesday, September 7. Visit seacoastchapter.org/programs for information about this event and others throughout the fall.

Raptor observatories across the state open on September 1 in parallel with the beginning of fall migrations for many birds. Check the online calendar for special events, like the Annual Hawk Migration Watch from 10 am to noon on Saturday, September 17 with NH Audubon’s Mascoma Chapter. This popular event provides a good opportunity to watch the wonderful fall hawk migration. Past outings produced overhead views of circling hawks, bald eagles, osprey and other fall migrants. Raptor Festival and Release weekend is September 24 and 25, and culminates with the spectacular release of a rehabilitated migratory bird of prey back into the wild at the height of peak migration.

For those who can’t wait a few weeks for the festivities to begin, NH Audubon created its Bird Watching Guide for Beginners, available free online at nhaudubon.org, complete with the birding code of ethics and a warm welcome to join the more than 50 million birders in the U.S. To learn more about NH Audubon’s lineup of fall birdwatching events or register for a workshop, visit nhaudubon.org.