The Harris Center “Kestrels” Place Second in Competition
On January 28, the Harris Center “Kestrels” birding team participated in Mass Audubon’s Superbowl of Birding. In this friendly competition, teams of birders strive to find the most species of birds (and score the highest number of points) within a 12-hour time frame in coastal New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Kestrels stayed within Rockingham County, New Hampshire, which includes most of the Great Bay and the entire Seacoast Region. Late January is not known as a time of bird abundance in the Harris Center SuperSanctuary’s primarily wooded habitats, but along the Seacoast, the Kestrels were able to observe a whopping 83 species, scoring 170 points and finishing in second place.
… But Win Big for American Kestrels
In addition to finding a near-record number of bird species for this event, the Kestrels exceeded their fundraising goal, raising $4,000 for the Harris Center’s new American Kestrel conservation project! Guided by a habitat modeling project led by recent Bird Conservation Intern Will Stollsteimer, the Harris Center plans to construct and install up to 30 nest boxes in appropriate kestrel breeding habitat across the Monadnock Region this spring. A research and monitoring project will help refine this model. We hope our efforts will make a difference for this state-listed species of special concern. Thanks to all those who helped the Kestrels soar!
Kestrel Team Member Phil Brown Recaps the Day:
“We set out at 5 a.m. along the shorelines of the Great Bay in search of owls, finding both Eastern Screech and Northern Saw-whet Owls by call. The morning was full of chasing down rarities – including Greater White-fronted Goose, Western Tanager, and Eurasian Wigeon – as well as finding ducks on the Great Bay, songbirds in fields and woodlands, and even a few surprise feeder birds. The afternoon was a blast down the short New Hampshire coastline, stopping at coastal viewpoints to scan with scopes and binoculars for shorebirds, ducks, and seabirds. We ended the day in Hampton Marsh, a huge salt marsh surrounded by sprawling development, in search of the elusive Snowy Owl, which did end up eluding us this day.”
To observe as many species as possible, the Kestrels started their day in Rockingham County at 5 a.m. (photo © Phil Brown)
Three teams converged in a suburban backyard, tipped off to the presence of a snipe. (photo © Eric Masterson)
For more information on the Harris Center’s kestrel conservation project, please contact Bird Conservation Director Phil Brown by email.