Minutes – April 1, 2021 Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Academy of Natural Sciences is closed due to COVID-19. Zoom Meeting: Instructions for meeting registration and how to use Zoom were announced on website and weekly digest.

7:00 PM The Pre-Meeting focused on lights and bird migration. Currently Bird Safe Philly does not need monitors but if you find a dead bird in the city, please enter it into the Bird Strikes Project in iNaturalist.

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:32pm
Registrants: 47; 40 signed on for the meeting (some had more than one person per device).

Linda welcomed all to the meeting and introduced the officers. She reviewed that the normal meeting timing is 7:30 – 8pm Club Business, 8-9pm program and questions, followed by a virtual “Cherry Street” at 9pm.

Minutes from the last regular meetings on Mar. 18, 2021 were approved.

Committee Reports:

Membership Committee: Bonnie Witmer

New Members: Barbara and Philip Stollsteimer New Applicants: Jen Pierson-Winterle, Gina Strecker, David Singer

Conservation Committee: Anne Becker

The Lights Out Philly Resolution has been unanimously passed by City Council. To help ensure safer passage for our migrating birds, our night skies will be much darker from April 1st through May 31st. For more information, and to see how you can help by reducing collisions at home, by reporting window strike victims when you find them, and to donate to this initiative, visit https://birdsafephilly.org.

We may have a chance to contribute our photos to the signage for the East Falls Development Corporation’s River Landing Project (to which the DVOC allocated funding). They are looking for high quality portrait-style (horizontal) photos of green heron, double-crested cormorant, wood duck (pair) and/or bald eagle (vertical), in a setting that looks similar to the Schuylkill River at that site (though bald eagle in flight is appropriate) Contact Anne at anne_bekker@yahoo.com for more information.

Bob Billings Award: Art McMorris

The  DVOC congratulates Victoria Sindlinger and Debbie Beer, who tied to win the 2020 Bob Billings Big Year award. Tori and Debbie each saw an impressive 272 species of birds in the DVOC program area in 2020, in spite of all the restrictions due to Covid (e.g. no pelagic trips)! The award will be presented to Tori and Debbie at the April 15 DVOC Zoom meeting, with members of Bob Billings’s family present, and Tori and Debbie will give us brief talks about their big year efforts.

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

Field Trips are starting up again. Look for new trips added to the schedule on our website: DVOC Field Trips.

Participants must follow all the COVID-19 Guidelines as posted on the website and must sign a participant release to attend the field trip.

Linda thanked Navin Sasikumar, Communications Committee, for developing the online registration form quickly. Linda also reviewed the upcoming field trips, where we could use more coverage, and asked for more leaders to volunteer.

Banquet Committee: Lauren Diamond

There is a question as to whether the banquet will be in person come November. Lauren is looking for volunteers for promotion, set up, and clean up.

Programs: Gregg Gorton

The next program, April 15th, will be Endangered, Extinct & Little-known Birds from the Collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel: Some Remarkable Stories about Avian Biodiversity The speaker is Jason Weckstein, associate professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES) at Drexel University and associate curator in the Department of Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel. 

More information at https://dvoc.org/wp/activities/meetings/ for this and other upcoming meetings.


John Sigmund: I run public programs with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and am looking for walk leaders in Fairmount and FDR Parks. Feel free to email me at: jsigmund@myphillypark.org

Navin Sasikumar: The iNaturalist City Nature Challenge is in 28 days. It takes place from April 30th to May 3rd:  If anyone would like to lead field trips for the Challenge, let Navin know.

Linda Timlin: Remember to take pictures on all these field trips for the banquet slide show!! It is not too early to start.

Local Notes [via the chat]

Steve Mattan: My place, Southampton, NJ: first warbler of the year, Pine Warbler; Carranza Road, NJ Pinelands, Red Crossbill.

Bonnie and Philip Witmer: We still have Pine Siskins, and Dark-eyed Juncos at our house, Chester County, PA.

Judy Foulke: I still have Dark-eyed Juncos at my feeder. Bucks Co., PA.

Stephanie Petro-McClellan: We have a Cooper’s Hawk pair nesting in our yard.  A few Dark-eye Juncos, East Falls, PA.

Anne Bekker: On 3/30, Pine Warbler and Winter Wren, Carpenter’s Woods, Philadelphia, PA.

Nilesh Shah: On March 29, Pileated Woodpecker, Nike Park, Warrington, Bucks County, PA. White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, Nike Park, Warrington, Bucks County, PA.

Barb Bassett: Barn, Tree and Cliff Swallows have returned in Cape May this past week.  On 3/30, California Gull, Coral Ave Spring Watch, Cape May Point, NJ.  Swallow-tailed Kite, Sandhill Crane fly by at my house in Cape May Point, NJ.

Matthew Halley: Winter Wren, Great Horned Owls, Juncos, Phoebes in Cresheim, Philadelphia County, PA. Female Cardinals are singing a lot recently too.

Martin Dellwo: Rittenhouse Square has not seen a dip in White-throated Sparrows at all, and has had a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos which is unusual for that tiny area.

Evening Program:

Gregg Gorton introduced Moed Gerveni,  a wildlife biologist who’s career began in Philadelphia as a student of Jason Weckstein (Associate Curator of Birds) and Matthew Halley (Doctoral candidate) at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  I have spent the last 4 years moving between the New Jersey Pinelands, Rushton Woods, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Albania (EU), Costa Rica, California, and– now–the  south Texas plains.  Moed gave a fascinating talk about the history of California Condors and his work with the at the Condor Recovery Program in Big Sur, CA.


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 pm.