Examining 'pellets' can tell you what a bird has been eating
Here at the farm for the past several winters, we have had what we refer to as a "year-round resident red-tailed hawk." We haven't seen it as often this winter as in previous years, but it usually has appeared once a week. This bird also has a favorite white pine tree fairly near the outlet of our now "abandoned" beaver pond. Beneath that tree we have frequently collected "pellets" and have examined them to see what "Brother" red-tail has been eating.
Chris Martin of NH Audubon has reported that New Hampshire's portion of the 2014 National Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey Day has again set a new state record high for the number of bald eagles seen. Faced with freezing rain and glare-iced roads over most of the state on the observation date Jan. 11, 2014 many dedicated observers rescheduled their "Survey Day" to Jan. 12, 2014 which found 76 volunteers who located 67 individual eagles, eclipsing the previous high of 61 birds, roughly a 10 percent increase. The Lakes Region observers tallied 20 eagles; the Connecticut River region found 19 eagles, and the Merrimack region was third, with 14 individuals. Martin reported this was the 34th consecutive year that NH Audubon has coordinated New Hampshire's part of the National Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey. (Starting with the winter of 1980-81.) This year on "Survey Day," the observers found 41 adult bald eagles and 26 immatures exceeding previous records of 61 in 2009, 2010, and 2013.
Reference made in last week's column to crabapple seedling prices was unfortunately outdated. Also, three species of shrub favored by wild turkeys in winter are unavailable for sale or importation into New Hampshire. The barberry, multiflora rose, and bittersweet are considered invasive species. Phone numbers were included for several large nurseries; and information may also be obtained from the NH Forest Nursery, Boscawen.
Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey 03446.
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