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Wildlife & Plants of the Cold River Watershed

Mammals
Birds
Endangered Species
Plants

Major Wildlife Habitat in the Cold River


Douglas G. Payne's "Resource Inventory of the Cold River Corridor" (August 1996), provides the following description of the river's wildlife:

Spotted SalaMost of the common species found throughout New Hampshire can be found in the ColdRiver corridor . Because little development exists in the river valley and the adjoining uplands, birds and mammals take advantage of the diverse plant communities found here. In the uppermost reaches of the corridor bear and fisher are along the steep wooded slopes as well as many species of warblers and thrushes. In the marshes, moose feed on aquatic vegetation in the summer. Swallows, herons, bittern, and waterfowl also feed in these marshes. Some nest there as well. The border areas around the marshes where alder and other shrubs grow are ideal habitat for woodcock. Two populations of New England Cottontail have been noted historically along the Cold. The first, around Keyes Hollow has not been verified for over 20 years and may no longer exist. Another just south of the confluence with the Connecticut was verified in the 1990s. This species has been in decline over the years and is monitored by New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHF&G) in Region 4.

The heron population found feeding in these marshes and along the rest of the river has a rookery at Middle Pond in Langdon. This is the only known rookery in the watershed and is in a remote area on the side of FallMountain. Other species take advantage of the remoteness as well, like the turkey vultures and ravens nesting in the higher rocky outcrops.

In the river valley as well as on the surrounding uplands are many hay and corn fields. Along with the high energy, shrub covered stream banks, these provide a vegetative "edge" area. Many species prefer these areas including deer, fox, rabbits, sparrows and quite a few other songbirds. Also the hayfield provide a bounty of crickets and grasshoppers, especially after summer haying, for killdeer, crows and young turkey.

Several species of birds listed as endangered or threatened have confirmed sightings either from the Atlas of Breeding Birds in New Hampshire or from the Audubon Society New Hampshire Bird database.

Many of these species have been sighted near the mouth of the ColdRiver in Walpole and include several raptors: the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, Cooper's hawk, northern harrier, and osprey. Both the osprey and eagle take advantage of the fish resource found at the confluence with the Connecticut River. Habitat requirements for Cooper's hawk and the northern harrier exist along the river corridor and though not confirmed, these two species may breed in the region.

One species known to breed in Lempster is the sedge wren. The marshes found in the upper reaches of the ColdRiver are the preferred habitat of this little fellow. Though not documented as breeding here, a confirmed population is present within a few miles. It seems a good possibility that, if surveyed, the sedge wren will be found along the Cold in this area.

Historical records at Natural Heritage Inventory show that the timber rattlesnake has been found on and around FallMountain. While it has been over 25 years since any confirmed sightings have taken place, Crotalus horridus may be found within the river corridor on the south slopes of FallMountain.