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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Tuesday 12/23/2008 A white Christmas no dream.

Just a week after, the ground was bare, temperatures hitting 60 degrees, and the Suncook River had flooded twice with not a piece of ice to be seen, that has all changed. We have snow, lots of snow. Close to a couple feet in places. The Suncook River has frozen solid it appears, even though the river is running high yet again. The snow capped the river with a slushy ice that has now frozen to a solid white surface. The Suncook River has now frozen over earlier than most of the last years. It froze over at the very end of December last year and didn't freeze over completely in the winters of 2006 and 2007.

I have seen where the deer are still on the move into some apple trees locally. So not so much snow as to put them into their winter yards yet. But pretty close I would say. This would be very early down this way for them to be into their winter yards compared to most years the last decade. I did see a poor cock pheasant roosting in a tree right next to route 28 yesterday afternoon. I'm sure he can hardly walk in this deep soft snow. His only hope is to get to a backyard bird feeder at this point. This type of deep fluffy snow will be the end of lots of critters in NH. Young of year coyotes and foxes will be stressed to the breaking point under these conditions. Typically 60 percent of the young born this past spring may die given these harsh winter conditions. The pheasant will fare no better. Such is life in New England.

During the storm on Sunday I had a sharp shinned hawk make a kill just a couple feet from my front step. My daughter and her husband called into me as they arrived to pick up the girls to look out the front window. There was the hawk defeathering its prey, then flew away with the unidentified bird hanging from its talons. A circle of feathers and a dimple in the snow was all the evidence left of this eventful moment. Well these birds were at least fat and happy here at my bird feeders. A winter like this will bring more predators in around our bird feeders for some easy pickings. And why shouldn't they. Deep fluffy snowy winters often even bring bobcats in from the wilds to dine on the spoils of our bird feeders. How lucky the folks have been over the years who have reported those sightings to me. I have not been so lucky. But I'll take a hawk any day. The crows have been absent from my feeders for several weeks. I don't know what is going on there. I may need to start putting out more bread.

Here's to wishing one and all a Very Merry Christmas!


   

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2008-12-19 Only hours from our official winter with our first major snow storm minutes away.

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