What’s happening with the birds this winter? Have fun counting birds and helping NH Audubon at the same time. Take part in the annual Backyard Winter Bird Survey on Saturday, February 12, and Sunday, February 13. Biologists need assistance from citizens all over the Granite State to get a clear picture of what is happening with our winter birds.
Anecdotal reports indicate that there are fewer birds at feeders compared to last winter. People are contacting NH Audubon asking “Where are all my birds?” said Survey Coordinator Rebecca Suomala. Last winter there was a “super flight” of winter finches – northern birds like Pine Siskins or Common Redpolls, that come south in years with poor northern food crops. Last winter the huge White Pine cone crop in southern New Hampshire also attracted record numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches. This winter food supplies are better to the north and NH Audubon biologists will be watching to see if any northern visitors appear on the Survey.
Biologists will also be following the ongoing rise in southern species that have extended their range northward. The Survey was originally started to monitor two of these species, the Northern Cardinal and Tufted Titmouse, both of which hit record highs on the 2021 Survey. Two other southern invaders, the Carolina Wren and Red-bellied Woodpecker, “made huge gains in 2021,” according to NH Audubon’s Dr. Pamela Hunt. Cold winter temperatures can impact these species and the Survey data will tell Biologists if that happens, so it’s important to have reports from across the state.
NH Audubon needs your help to track all our winter feeder birds. All New Hampshire residents are encouraged to take part. Anyone can participate in the Survey by counting the birds in their own backyard on the Survey weekend and reporting online or sending the results on a special reporting form to NH Audubon. To receive a copy of the reporting form and complete instructions, e-mail your name and address to email@example.com or call 603-224-9909. Forms are also available on-line or results can be submitted online.
Find more information about the survey at https://nhbirdrecords.org/backyard-winter-bird-survey/.
Each year 1,500 observers or more across the state count the birds coming to their feeders.
Reports of a lack of birds are just as valuable as reports of many birds. “If everyone reported only when they have a lot of birds, we wouldn’t be able to see the declines,” says Suomala. The most important thing is to participate each year regardless of how many or how few birds you have. Data from the Backyard Winter Bird Survey help biologists track changes in the distribution and abundance of our year round resident birds. Results from past years are on the web site.