Gilford Public Library

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Gilford Public Library

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All In the Family

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer, 9/6/2022

Young feathered visitors to our feeders this week led to the identification of juvenile Eastern Bluebirds. At first, we thought they were young robins, but learned that they were indeed Eastern Bluebirds. There’s a reason for this mistaken identity.


Robins and bluebirds have something in common? They are both members of the Thrush family ( Order: Passeriformes, Family: Turdidae) and the babies have a similar appearance with speckled face and chests.


Bluebirds can have two broods each Summer and their babies go through stages in their development:


Hatchling 0-3 days old, naked, eyes closed, completely dependent on parents.


Nestling: 3 plus days….eyes are open, down and some feathers on its body, dependent on parents.


Fledgling: 19+ days. Has all of its feathers, is learning to fly and hope about, dependent on parents


Juvenile: Still has juvenile plumage but can gather food on its own


Adult: The first fall after hatching, the juvenile feathers have now molted and adult feathers in.


Note: In addition to the robins and Eastern bluebirds, New Hampshire has five other different types of thrushes: Veery, Bicknell’s Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush.


To learn more about these beautiful birds and see the different stages

All About Baby Bluebirds From A to Z


Turkeys - Once Gone, Now Thriving

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer, 8/30/2022


A common sight this time of year in New Hampshire are flocks of turkeys, often with their poults (baby turkeys) meandering through our neighborhoods, fields and forests. But did you know, that the fact that we even have turkeys here, is a result of a successful restoration project.


Before the 1970’s, the last wild turkey was seen in Weare, 1854. Overhunting and loss of habitat literally wiped out the flocks of turkeys which usually numbered 30 to 40, when the settlers were here in the 1600’s. In the 1970’s, and with the support of the federal Wildlife Restoration Program, 25 wild turkeys (from New York) were released in Walpole by Fish and Game Biologists.During the next two decades there were fifteen more releases and now there are over 25,000 birds.



For more detailed information

Wild Turkeys


Learning About Loons

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer, 8/23/2022


The baby loons we have been following this summer have gone through dramatic changes in their appearance and behaviors. From the tiny, brown, fluffy chicks to almost full grown, the changes in such a short period of time have been remarkable. One fascinating fact it the tiny babies can walk upright on land. Once they start evolving into the shape of their parents, they lose that ability. 

By 8-9 weeks, they have their full juvenile plumage, can dive well and can capture about 50% of their food. At this point, they begin exercising their wings to learn to fly. 

By 10 to 11 weeks, they can feed themselves, but still like to get tidbits from their parents. 

By 12 weeks, they can be completely independent. The parents can leave them now when they need to head to the coast for the winter. The juveniles won’t get their iconic colors until they reach full maturity for mating season. The parents lose the dramatic colors as well, fading to a dark gray with white breast, belly and wing linings for their winter plumage.



For more detailed information



Picture on left taken yesterday… on right four weeks ago of chicks.


An Iconic Symbol in the Making

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer 8/16/22


Its white head helps us identify one of the most iconic symbols of our country, the American Bald Eagle, (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Yet, its white head takes a while to reach its dramatic glory. 


An eagle is considered in its juvenile stage while still in the nest. Its eyes and plumage are mostly dark brown. Juveniles who are fledging, keep this coloration for about 6 months. At this time, Its feathers turn a lighter brown with white flecking. In addition, Its beak, face, legs and feet also begin to change their color and the beak is a dark gray. 


By 2 1/2 years, the eagle continues to have most of the variable (brown and white) plumage but the eyes begin to change to a lighter brown and its bill begins to turn yellow.


By 3 1/2 years, the eagle’s (sub-adult) plumage begins to transition into what we commonly see in adult eagles. The head and tail begin to turn white (with brown flecking), its bill is mostly yellow, and its eyes are lighter. There is an important field id: a dark band through and behind its eye.


4 1/2-5/12 years: Only 25 % of eagles have adult plumage by 4 1/2 years, but all have it by 5 1/2 years and will keep it for the rest of their lives, a symbol that is both recognized and celebrated.


For more detailed information:

Juvenile and Immature Bald Eagles


The Wonder of Waxwings

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer 8/9/22


Usually found in groups, the sight of exotic looking Cedar Waxwings never fails to delight birdwatchers. Their lemon-yellow and brown feathers are accented by a dashing black mask and red-tips on their wing feathers. Cedar Waxwings are among the few North American birds that specialize in eating fruit, but are arial masters at zipping through the skies in pursuit of insects.


Ever wonder how Cedar Waxwings got their name? The name waxwing comes from the the “waxy” red secretions on the tips of their wings. Scientists aren’t actually sure what purpose they have, possibly another way of attracting mates.


To learn more fun facts about these beautiful birds:

Cedar Waxwing