New Hampshire Partners in Flight
Master Plan

Assembled for the WWW by Dr. Jay Pitocchelli,
Biology Department, Saint Anselm College
for the NHPIF Working Group

NEW HAMPSHIRE PARTNERS IN FLIGHT

DRAFT 

MASTER PLAN

Prepared by New Hampshire Partners in Flight Working Group

John J. Kanter, Co-coordinator, NH Partners in Flight
Carol R. Foss, Co-coordinator, NH Partners in Flight

Dr. Arthur C. Borror
Meade Cadot
Richard Cook
Chris Costello
Diane De Luca
Dr. Richard Holmes
Dr. Peter Hunt
John Lanier
Roger Lawrence
Chris Martin
Dr. Jay Pittochelli
Robert A. Quinn
Judy Silverberg
Ellen Snyder
Rebecca Suomala
Mariko Yamasaki





October 1, 1995


Send correspondence to:

John J. Kanter
NH Fish & Game Department
2 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301



Introduction 

Birds comprise approximately half of New Hampshire's vertebrate diversity, 
and are important components of virtually every significant habitat in the 
state.  Bird populations are highly dynamic in space and time, and are 
influenced by a wide range of environmental factors, an increasing number 
of which are anthropogenic.  Ensuring that native bird species maintain 
resilient populations in an increasingly human-dominated landscape 
requires the coordination of all parties with pertinent authority and/or 
expertise.

 
Problem statement 

Apparent declines in some songbird populations, particularly some neotropical 
migrants, highlight the need for understanding impacts of human activities 
on native bird populations.  Several agencies, organizations, and 
institutions within the state independently have devoted considerable 
effort to bird research, monitoring, management, and conservation 
focused on particular taxonomic groups or particular geographic areas.  
A stable, long-term, cohesive strategy is essential for effective 
conservation of native birds through the coordinated actions of 
existing agencies, organizations, and institutions.


Mission Statement 

New Hampshire Partners in Flight (NHPIF) is a partnership of public and 
private agencies, organizations, and institutions committed to conservation 
of native birds and their habitats. This partnership works through 
inventory, monitoring, research, management, and education, both within 
the state and in cooperation with adjacent states, regional partnerships 
and national coalitions, using existing and additional resources to address 
common goals.

High Priority Species

The NHPIF generated the following list of high priority species based 
on consideration of the following: NH state list of threatened and 
endangered species, Rosenberg and Wells (1995), analysis of state BBS 
trends, Species Prioritization Project of CBO, data from the NH Breeding 
Bird Atlas, and recent data submitted to NH Bird Records.

This list encompasses landbirds only. Although we are currently focussing 
on neotropical migrants, we decided to generate a comprehensive list of 
species in need of special conservation effort in the state. The list is 
separated into migrant and resident categories with migrants including 
all species appearing on any reference list of neotropical migrants and 
a few short distance migrants. The NHPIF action plan emphasizes the migrant 
list. Conservation efforts may address residents at a later date.


High Priority Species

Migrants
	Osprey
	Bald Eagle
	Northern Harrier
	Cooper's Hawk
	Peregrine Falcon
	Upland Sandpiper
	Common Nighthawk
	Whip-poor-will
	Chimney Swift
	Least Flycatcher
	Purple Martin
	Bank Swallow
	Cliff Swallow
	Barn Swallow
	Sedge Wren
	Marsh Wren
	Veery
	Gray-cheeked (Bicknell's) Thrush
	Wood Thrush
	Brown Thrasher
	Golden-winged Warbler
	Chestnut-sided Warbler	
	Blackburnian Warbler
	American Redstart
	Canada Warbler
	Scarlet Tanager
	Rufous-sided Towhee
	Field Sparrow
	Vesper Sparrow
	Grasshopper Sparrow
	Eastern Meadowlark
	Rusty Blackbird
Residents
	Spruce Grouse
	Three-toed Woodpecker

Former Breeders in NH
	Golden Eagle
	Loggerhead Shrike
	Henslow's Sparrow


Species to Watch

Migrants
	Sharp-shinned Hawk
	Merlin *
	Yellow-billed Cuckoo
	Northern Flicker
	Olive-sided Flycatcher
	Cerulean Warbler *
	Song Sparrow 
	White-throated Sparrow

Residents
	Long-eared Owl
	Gray Jay


* peripheral species



Notes:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo shows BBS declines regionally but it is irregular 
in NH and we lacked NH data.

Song Sparrow shows BBS declines regionally but is not listed as a 
neotropical migrant and we lack NH data.

White-throated Sparrow shows BBS regional declines.

Ecoregions

The NHPIF elected to adopt the U.S. Forest Service biophysical 
descriptions for New Hampshire, using the subsections of that 
classification system as ecoregions, as follows (see Figure 1): 

	A. Connecticut Lakes
	B. Mahoosuc
	C. White Mountains
	D. Sebago-Ossipee
	E. New Hampshire Upland
	F. Vermont Upland 
	G. Northern Connecticut River
	H. Southern New England Coastal Plain
	I. New England Coastal Lowland


Ranking of High Priority Species by Physiographic Region

To facilitate efficiency of effort, we ranked the importance of each 
physiographic region to each species of concern.  Ranking categories 
were based on best available knowledge of current and historical 
distributions and abundances of pertinent species.

Ranking categories for high priority species by physiographic region 
(see Figure 2.)


0	No evidence of current or historical population
	Opportunity for management essentially nonexistent

1	Historically present but currently sparse or absent
	Restoration would involve major reintroduction effort
	Possible opportunities to protect suitable habitat in 		
	anticipation of natural recolonization

2	Peripheral area for current population in New Hampshire, 
	more common elsewhere in state
	Limited opportunity for effective management

3	Current population sparsely scattered
	Management opportunities diffuse

4	Current population widespread
	Opportunity to reverse negative trends

5	Concentration area for current population
	Opportunity to protect important habitat and best 		
	opportunities to build from current population

6	Sole area of current population, protection essential to maintain 
		species in state
	Only opportunity to build from current population


General Habitat Associations of High Priority Species

Breeding Season

Forest

High elevation spruce-fir - Bicknell's Thrush
Mature coniferous or mixed forest - Blackburnian Warbler
Moist low to mid-elevation forest - Veery
Mid-to late successional forest - Cooper's Hawk
				  Scarlet Tanager
Mixed age forest with large standing hollow trees - Chimney Swift
Mid-successional hardwoods - Least Flycatcher
			     Wood Thrush
			     American Redstart
Dense hardwood or mixed understory - Canada Warbler
Shrublands - Brown Thrasher
	     Rufous-sided Towhee
	     Blue-winged/Golden-winged warblers
	     Field Sparrow
Barren ground - Common Nighthawk
Mosaic of dry woods and open areas - Whip-poor-will
Early successional hardwoods - Chestnut-sided Warbler
Cliffs - Peregrine Falcon

Grassland

Extensive open fields - Eastern Meadowlark
			Upland Sandpiper
Extensive dry, weedy fields - Grasshopper Sparrow
Edges of dry, patchy fields - Vesper Sparrow
Extensive grassland/scrub complex - Northern Harrier
Open lands with structures for nesting - Barn Swallow

Open water/wetlands

Large water bodies with large nest trees nearby - Osprey
						  Bald Eagle
Open areas near water - Purple Martin
Gravel banks near water - Bank Swallow
Boreal forest ponds and wetlands - Rusty Blackbird
Cattail marshes - Marsh Wren
Wet meadows with dense sedges and grasses - Sedge Wren
Open areas with shallow water and structures - Cliff Swallow

Urban

Flat-roofed buildings - Common Nighthawk
Chimneys - Chimney Swift


Migration
[This section is still under development]
Habitat Categories

There are four broad habitat categories associated with many of the 
species on New Hampshire's priority list.

1. Species Declines Explained by Land Use Changes

The rarity and decline of several species are easily associated with 
changes in land use. There are many examples of species' responses to 
the changes that followed European settlement. The species on NH's 
priority list that fall into this category include the following:

Grassland - all species
Shrubland - Brown Thrasher
            Rufous-sided Towhees
Forest - Chestnut-sided Warbler
         Whip-poor-will
Open water - Purple Martin          


2. Species Rarity explained by historic pesticide use or low historic density

Species in this category were historically rare and provide classic 
examples of susceptibility of large predators to human perturbations.  
Intensive monitoring and management will likely always be required to 
ensure that populations of these species are represented in New Hampshire. 

Open Water/Wetlands- Bald Eagle
                     Osprey
Forest - Peregrine Falcon
         Cooper's Hawk (may also be effected by land-use changes)


3. Declining Species that have a significant portion of their distribution 
in New Hampshire (see Wells and Rosenberg, CBO, and BBS data) Research 
conducted by Holmes, et al. at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest provides 
some explanations for declines in American Redstarts and Least Flycatchers.  
More intensive research on the other species (* see separate Bicknell's 
Thrush discussion below) and greater geographic coverage of these species 
will be required to develop conservation strategies.

Forest- Bicknell's Thrush *
        Veery
        Blackburnian Warbler
        Scarlet Tanager
        American Redstart
        Least Flycatcher
        Wood Thrush

*	Bicknell's Thrush is unique among these species because of its 
	recent recognition as a separate species and its relatively 
	limited distribution in the Northeast. A significant portion of 
	its range exists in the White Mountain National Forest.  
	These areas are largely removed from active forest management, 
	but are subjected to intense recreational use. Potential impacts 
	from recreational use should be evaluated as part of the development 
	of any conservation strategy.  Pollution, climate change, and 
	other large scale environmental problems have the potential to 
	effect the availability of Bicknell's Thrush habitat.  Research on 
	the influence of these factors should be reviewed and related to 
	their potential impacts on Bicknell's Thrush habitat.


4. Declining species associated with unique features

Urban - Chimney Swift
        Common Nighthawk
Unique Nesting Features - Bank Swallow
			  Cliff Swallow
			  Barn Swallow

Education can influence decisions effecting these environments. 
An increase in monitoring is needed to establish baseline data and 
target appropriate educational avenues. The association of Chimney 
Swifts to older growth forest stands should be evaluated.

Priority Habitats and Associated Threats
[This section is still under development]


Priority Habitat List

Grassland
Shrubland
Water/Wetland
Riparian/Shoreland
High/Low Elevation Spruce/Fir
Older-aged Forest
Large Forest Tracts
Coastal Marsh and Shoreline

The threats to these priority habitats need to be outlined as well as 
their variation in different geographic regions.



Associated with the threats to habitat are three basic influences 
on the ability of New Hampshire to sustain native bird populations.


1. Fragmentation of Natural Vegetation

Vogelman analyzed the density of people in New Hampshire to demonstrate 
habitat fragmentation.  Not surprisingly, fragmentation is most widespread 
in the southern portion of the state where Boston continues to creep further 
north (Growth Projections). Physiographic regions most heavily influenced 
by fragmentation include E, H, I.  Additional areas around population 
centers in other regions are also subjected to these problems.


2. Demand for Forest Products


3. The Human Factor

Some factors result in direct increases in bird mortality, others have 
a negative or positive effect on habitat for selected species.

Negative impacts
	Waste Disposal
	Domestic Pets
Positive impacts 
	Agricultural habitat management


DRAFT ACTION PLAN


Inventory and Monitoring

Continue on-going efforts
	Conduct annual BBS on established routes
	Monitor breeding Peregrine population
				  Osprey population
				  Bald Eagle population
				  Northern Harrier population
				  Upland Sandpiper population
	Monitor bird populations in high elevation spruce-fir forests
	Monitor forest bird populations in White Mountain National 
		Forest and Nash Stream Forest
	Monitor bird populations at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
	Maintain current list of NH neotropical migrant birds as a part 
		of the Wildlife Information Network of the Granite State 
		(WINGS)
	Maintain a volunteer reporting program for bird species, 
		particularly through NH Bird Records

New initiatives
	Conduct long-term productivity studies in forest, shrubland, 
		and grassland habitats
	Implement monitoring program for wetland bird species
	Implement monitoring program for crepuscular species
	Inventory shrubland birds, focussing on utility corridors 		
		and remaining natural habitat
	Implement monitoring program for grassland birds, based on 
		results of current grassland bird inventory; 
		inventory grassland & agricultural habitat
	Conduct inventory for bank-nesting birds in major river corridors; 
		design and implement monitoring program
	Determine status and species' use of lowland spruce-fir
	Implement monitoring program on state and other protected lands 
		within each ecoregion
	Utilize new technologies to update old growth forest inventory; 
		monitor breeding bird populations in selected stands & 
		compare with mature hardwood stands
	Establish a pilot project to identify important migration stop 
		over locations using banding stations
	Facilitate communication between data collectors (ex. NH Bird 
		Records) and statewide databases that serve as a reference 
		for research and environmental reviews


Research

Continue on-going efforts
	Connecticut River Migration Study
	Hubbard Brook Studies
	University of Maine fledgling bird study
	U.S. Forest Service projects
	Northeast Forest Experiment Station studies

New initiatives
	Investigate breeding bird distribution patterns and habitat 
		associations in old-growth hardwood forest 
	Investigate pH and aquatic insect populations of former and 
		current Rusty Blackbird wetlands
	Investigate relationship of forest bird productivity with road 
		and residential housing densities
	Relate bird population trends to ongoing forest inventory data
	Promote utilization of existing historical data for long-term 
		breeding season studies


Management 

Continue on-going efforts
	Work through existing networks to guide management actions on 
		public and private lands by providing updated information
	Work with forest landowners to protect osprey nests during timber 
		harvesting operations
	Work with the rock-climbing community to protect active peregrine 
		eyries from human disturbance
	Work with Pease Development Authority to maintain suitable 
		upland sandpiper habitat and protect breeding colony 
		from human disturbance
	Extension Forester Training
	US Forest Service Management guidelines
	NH Forest Resources Plan
	NH Forest Sustainability Standards Work Group
	Ecological Reserve Project
	NH State Lands Management Team
	NH Comparative Risk Project

New initiatives
	Participate in management planning processes for public lands
	Prepare information packet for owners of buildings supporting or 
		with potential to support nesting common nighthawks
	Identify and pursue opportunities to manage utility ROWs for 
		shrubland birds
	Identify and pursue opportunities to manage and maintain habitat 
		for grassland birds
	Provide local and regional planning officials (eg. Conservation 
		Commissions) with information on integration of neotropical 
		migrant habitat protection into land use planning efforts

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