Gilford Public Library

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Gilford Public Library

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Bird Nerd Facts

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer, 4/9/2024

Nature Corner: Bird Nerd Facts

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer


Last week’s Spring Nor’Easter brought ice, snow and wind. Despite the battling winds, there was constant bird activity on our deck feeders. Observing them while tucked snuggly inside, I was once again in awe how these small creatures survived and stayed warm in such brutal weather.

Our Avian neighbors who are here all year long, have several strategies:


  1. Winter weight: During the late summer and fall, birds will pack on extra weight in preparation for the cold months ahead.
  2. Winter Wear: While we dig out our warm clothes when the weather get cold, birds will grow extra feathers. Birds can trap air in their feathers, creating a layer of insulated warmth.
  3. Feather Care: The effectiveness of this insulation is dependent on the maintenance of dry, clean and flexible feathers. Preening is the process birds will use to clean their feathers.
  4. Waterproofing: Part of the preening includes waterproofing. All birds have a special gland near their tails which produces oil. Some birds will use that oil to waterproof their feathers. Other species, like mourning doves, grow specialized feathers that eventually dissolve into a waterproofing powder.
  5. Shivering: Like humans, to stay warm, birds will shiver. The rates of their metabolism is much higher than ours and they need to continually eat to maintain body temperatures and energy expenditures. . 
  6. Snuggling: Birds will cuddle in together to share the heat of their bodies. Some will crowd together in evergreen trees, shrubs and vines. Others will use cavities, either natural or nesting boxes.
  7. Protecting Feet: Birds have scales on their legs and feet that are specialized to protect against the cold. Waterfowl have a special adaptation that allows them to isolate the blood flow in their legs, keeping it from circulating and chilling the rest of their bodies. They will also give their feet a break by standing on one foot.


Be Careful & Be Safe

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer, 4/2/2024


Nature Corner: Be Careful & Be Safe - Your Eyes Will Thank You

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer


With all of the excitement over the upcoming Solar Eclipse on April 8, here are some important reminders to keep your eyes safe when viewing this rare event.


Whether or not you are in the “path of totality” (where you’ll be able to see the total eclipse), it is not safe at all to look directly at the sun without specially designed protection for viewing.


The potential for severe damage for your eyes can include viewing through binoculars, camera lenses or even a telescope, unless they have special-purpose filters securely attached. Specially designed “Eclipse glasses”are not like our regular sunglasses and are thousands of times darker and should adhere to ISO 12312-2 standards.


An alternative is to view the eclipse indirectly, which avoids looking directly at the sun. A pinhole projector is one way, where the pinhole projects the image of the sun onto a closely surface. Once again, do not look directly at the sun through the pinhole!


The next total solar eclipse won’t occur until 2044. So if you are excited about seeing this rare event, make sure you put safety practices into place.

A Very Rare Event is About to Happen!

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer 3/26/2024


Nature Corner: A Very Rare Event is About to Happen!

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer


On Monday, April 8, a rare event will be occurring in Northern America, Beginning in the South Pacific Ocean, there will be a solar eclipse, which will begin over the South Pacific Ocean, then travel in a path of totality over the United States into Canada. Locations where the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun, is known as the path of totality yielding a total eclipse.


A solar eclipse is when the moon is positioned between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun and casting its shadow on the earth. New Hampshire is in the Path of Totality, which is where a much rarer total eclipse can be seen. During the peak of the eclipse, which can last 3 minutes and 15 seconds, the sky will get dark, the temperature will drop and stars and planets will appear.


Not all of NH will be able to witness the total eclipse. To see where it will fully happen: 

Signs of Spring Week 1

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer 3/19/2024

Nature Corner: Signs of Spring- Week 1

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer


Tired of Winter? Well, signs of spring are emerging, including the return of migrating birds. The traditional harbinger of spring has been the Robin. But while there are Robins returning from their winter migration, plenty of them now stay around all year, depending on the local food supplies.

Some of the early returning migrators are actually Red-winged Blackbirds, Killdeer, Tree Swallows, Eastern Phoebes and nature’s sanitation workers: Turkey Vultures.

This week, in Gilford, we have seen both the Red-winged Blackbirds who can migrate south up to 800 miles and Turkey Vultures, who migrate shorter distances southward, to North Carolina through Louisiana.

We’ll be keeping an eye out to see who arrives next. You can keep track of new arrivals spotted by birders in New Hampshire on


Daylight Savings Time

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer 3/12/2024

Nature Corner: Daylight Savings Time

by Wendy Oellers-Fulmer


For more than 50 years, Americans have had to either move their clocks ahead or set them back for the bi-annual Daylight Savings Time. But when did this tradition begin and why?


Originally implemented during World War I, the practice was implemented to help our country conserve both fuel and power. At the end of the war, this practice was abolished in most states. 


At one point of our country’s history, there were over 144 different “local time zones”. Trying to build consistency with train schedules, the Federal organization, Interstate Commerce Commission, created a more consistent plan for time management with the Standard Time Act in 1918. Currently, there are 9 time zones: Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, Hawaii–Aleutian, Samoa, and Chamorro.


In 1966, the newly formed Department of Transportation addressed modern day concerns and needs and passed our modern version of this clock change practice with the Uniform Savings Time Act.


Two states, Arizona (except for Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, do not observe Daylight Savings Time.