Seacoast Chapter, NH Audubon Programs

In person programs: 7:00 pm refreshments; 7:30 pm meeting 

Seacoast Science Center, Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye.

Zoom programs: 7:00 pm

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 332-4093,

Program: Woodpeckers: A Unique and Fascinating Family

Wednesday March 13

Come and hear Dana and Bob Fox tell the fascinating story about the woodpecker family of birds. With 233 species in the world, they are found almost worldwide where  trees are abundant. They can't sing like some other birds, but they certainly can make a lot of noise. They don't migrate, but survive on a variety of foods. They are the super craftsmen of the bird world using their bill like a chisel. Their four toes hold them vertically firm on a tree while they carve out their spacious homes and find food. We will go a bit deeper to see how this family evolved, their special biology and how they live in difficult locations. Of course, we have come up with some interesting stories about many of the most interesting species that might surprise you.

Bio: Dana and Bob Fox both began birding in their youth. They have birded the US (list 750 species) and the world (6500 species) visiting 6 continents and over 40 countries. They have given numerous talks in New England about the birds of countries they have visited and on crows, loons and most recently hummingbirds.

Dana joined the South Shore Bird Club (SSBC) in 1951 when she was 12 years old. She has spent most summers in Tuftonboro, NH where she became fascinated by loons. The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) presented her with their Spirit of the Loon Award. She is a past Secretary of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, Past President of the Merrimack Valley Bird Club and frequent speaker. She has written articles on birding and crows in the American Birding Association's Birding magazine and one on the Lawrence Crow Roost in Bird Observer. Dana coordinates the Tin Mountain Conservation Group's Loon Monitoring Project for LPC and helps to train the LPC summer biologists on interacting with volunteers.

Bob, as a student at Harvard and living in Quincy, MA, was an early leader of the SSBC. With Allan Keith, a former member of the SSBC, he co-authored, Birds of New Hampshire, a 477 page book describing the status and distribution of birds known from NH (2013). He has published in Auk and Wilson Bulletin, written species accounts for the first MA Breeding Bird Atlas as well as articles in publications of both NH and Mass Audubon Societies. His MA species list is 451. In the past, Bob collected specimens for five museums including the Museum of Comparative Zoology. In addition, he helped found Manomet Bird Observatory, and is past President of South Shore Bird Club. He received the Goodhue-Elkins Award (2014) from NH Audubon for "contributions to the ornithology of NH."

Program: Exploring the Wonders of a Pollinator Garden through its Insects 

Wednesday April 10

Sometimes, you don't have to leave your backyard to explore the wonders of the natural world. Join Paul Lacourse on his quest to understand the ecology of his pollinator garden through its insects. He will introduce you to the diversity of the plants and insects that inhabit a pollinator garden and the role they play in it. It's a beautiful and sometimes creepy look at an often overlooked world within an arm's reach.

Bio: Paul Lacourse taught Life Science, including a Study of NH Birds course, at Winnicunnet High School for 30 years. He is a former President/Vice President and field trip leader of the Seacoast Chapter of NH Audubon. Over the last 8 years, he has immersed himself in creating and studying a very productive pollinator garden that incorporates many native plants.


Program: Conserving "Our Birds" South of the Border-Scott Hecker

Wednesday, May 8

"3 billion birds gone" headlined a report in 2019. What more do we know, what can we do? As a "Director of Bird Conservation" since the 1980s, it is my job to know and to do. As my colleague Fitz once said, it is not Rocket Science, it's more complicated, but it's not too late and every bird and every acre matters. You will hear about species you love and people on the front lines of bird conservaation in Latin America and beyond who also love "their birds". New  tracking tecnologies and community engagement are making great strides. I hope you will come to hear how simple it is to make a difference. 

Bio: Back around 1990, I spoke for the Seacoast Chapter about conserving tropical habitat in Belize for "our birds". I completed my MS degree in Belize in 1987, then established the Coastal Waterbird Program at Mass Audubon that same year to conserve threatened and endangered Piping Plovers and Roseate Terns. In 2003, I expanded those efforts as Director of Coastal Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society. In 2008, I co-founded Conservian to focus more work on Piping Plovers in the Bahamas. Since 2016, I have worked for the International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC} and ICF US supporting bird conservationists on the front lines in 36 countries.


Program: Identification and Role of Native and Non-native Shrubs as Habitat for Birds

Wednesday, June 12 & June 14

Wednesday, June 12 5:30-8:00pm and Friday, June 14 7:30-10:00am at Pickering Ponds trails, Rochester. Each program will be limited to 15 participants with no repeat registrants. Please click on the link below for more information and to register for the program. 

This event will be held entirely outdoors and will be held as long as it is not raining. Participants should bring their binoculars and clothing appropriate for the weather conditions at the time of the event.

This program, by Matt Tarr of UNH Cooperative Extension, will teach you how to identify the most common native and non-native shrubs that comprise many bird habitats in NH. We will identify each shrub species, discuss how each species functions as bird habitat, and which shrubs you want to encourage on your land to benefit birds. We will also be looking and listening for birds (of course!) and sharing our tips for how to identify the birds we encounter during the trip.

Bio: Matt Tarr is Extension Professor, State Wildlife Habitat Specialist for the University of NH Cooperative Extension. Much of Matt's research and work is focused on determining how non-native shrubs function as habitat for songbirds and on how birds respond to land-use and habitat management practices at different landscape scales. Matt is an avid birder who enjoys photographing and recording birds.

Missed some of our recent online programs?  You can access them below:

Zoom Program: Wildlife of the White Mountains

December 2023

Watch the recording

Wildlife viewing is a favorite activity of White Mountain residents and visitors. This illustrated program, by David Govatski, US Forest Service retiree, features the natural history of many of our iconic species that we might see along the trail including black bear, moose, snowshoe hare, bobcat, Canada lynx and American marten. We will also learn about interesting and unusual insects, reptiles, amphibians, and birds that make the White Mountains their home. We will discuss trends in wildlife populations such as range expansion and contraction.

Bio: David Govatski retired from the US Forest Service after a 33-year career as a Forester and Silviculturist. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Silviculture from the US Forest Service. He has a keen interest in forest and wildlife conservation and he co-authored “Forests for the People: The Story of the Eastern National Forests.” His articles and photographs have appeared in several magazines and he is a frequent guest speaker and trip leader.

Zoom Program: Caught in the SNOWstorm: 10 Years of Snowy Owl Research

Janaury 2024

Watch the recording.

The winter of 2013-2014 saw the largest invasion of Snowy Owls into the eastern United States in perhaps a century and marked an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about these mysterious Arctic hunters. Author and researcher Scott Weidensaul will share the story of Project SNOWstorm - how a huge collaborative effort focused on Snowy Owls came together in a few frantic weeks, funded with the help of people from around the world, and continues to make discoveries and unexpected insights into the life and ecology of this great white raptor.

Bio: Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist "Living on the Wind" and his latest, the New York Times bestseller "A World on the Wing". Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon and writes for a variety of other publications, including Bird Watchers Digest and the Cornell Lab's Living Bird. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society and an active field researcher, studying Northern Saw-whet Owl migration for more than 25 years, as well as winter hummingbirds in the East, bird migration in Alaska, and the winter movements of Snowy Owls through Project SNOWstorm, which he co-founded.

Zoom Program: There's Something About Owls 

February 2024

Watch the recording.

Owls are much loved in the bird world and seeing any owl is indeed a thrill. The secretive lives of owls are part of their mystique and can make them very difficult to find in the wild. "There's Something About Owls", presented by Gina Nichol, founder of Sunrise Birding LLC, goes beyond the incredible adaptations of owls and reveals strategies to increase your chances of seeing owls in your backyard, local patch, and beyond. Preparation for your search, ethical field practices, skills, and tactics for success are discussed and illustrated with anecdotes and experiences from the field. Suggestions for what you can do to help owls are also included.

Bio: In 2005, Gina Beebe Nichol founded Sunrise Birding LLC, a company offering personalized, authentic, affordable birding and wildlife tours around the world. A naturalist and birder for more than thirty years, Gina first became fascinated with the natural world in rural upstate New York where she spent most of her childhood exploring the outdoors.

She received her B.S. in Environmental Education from Cornell University and her M.A. in Educational Technology from Fairfield University. She began her career as a Naturalist at the Rye Nature Center in Rye, NY. Gina's interest in human/wildlife interactions then took her to Volunteers for Wildlife in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. There she coordinated the operation of a 24-hour Wildlife Crisis Hotline and developed programs dealing with wildlife rehabilitation.

In 1987, she became Program Director for the National Audubon Society in Greenwich, CT. In that capacity, she led numerous environmental workshops and local field trips. Also while there, Gina also led ecotours for Audubon Nature Odysseys. Destinations included Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, the Pacific Northwest and Baja CA. Upon leaving Audubon, Gina taught biology, chemistry, physical and environmental science, and computer courses for several years at Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, CT.

Gina's avid interest in wildlife biology led her to the Yellowstone Institute in Wyoming where she studied animal behavior as well as methods for tracking animal movements. She also worked on a research project on the Isle of Skye in Scotland where she investigated habitat requirements of Eurasian otters. In addition, she participated in an Earthwatch study of mountain lions in the Jim Sage Mountains in Idaho.

Her varied interests and love of the natural world have taken her to all seven continents. She has led wildlife tours to Central and South America, Alaska, Antarctica, China, Kenya and countless countries in between.