Minutes – February 17, 2022

Due to concerns of COVID-19, meetings will continue to be held virtually rather than in person at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Zoom Meeting: Instructions for meeting registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.

7:00 PM The Pre-Meeting discussed identifying predators by remains of the prey, photographers harassing and poking the Saw-Whet Owl in Montgomery County to get pictures with its eyes open, and bird banding. 

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:32 PM

Registrants: 54; 56 members, 6 non-members (37 signed on for the meeting, some with more than one person per device)

Gregg welcomed all to the meeting and introduced the officers. He noted that the club is in touch with the Academy about going back to in-person meetings but it won’t be happening for another 2 to 3 months at least.

The minutes from February 3, 2022 were approved.


Chris Walters gave the annual Trustees report and indicated that the club was in good financial health. 

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Nilesh Shah

New Members since last meeting: James Tornetta, Ethan Kang. One application: Christina Riehl. 

New members at the meeting: David Moyer, Kristen Cooney, Ethan Kang, Katrina Clark

Field Trips – Linda Widdop

Email Linda Widdop, linda@techimpact.org, if interested in leading any winter trips. 

The next field trip will be ‘Winter Gulls at Glen Foerd’ led by Holger Pflicke on February 19. On the 20th, Barb Bassett is leading a trip, ‘In Search of Sandhill Cranes’ at Pedricktown Marsh. Also on the 20th, Robin Irizarry and Leigh Altadonna are leading a joint trip with Wyncote Audubon at the Discovery Center to look for wintering birds, as well as see an origami display by Victoria Sindlinger. On the 26th, there is a joint field trip to Middle Creek with Wyncote Audubon led by Judy Stepanaskie, and on the 27th, there is a field trip to Barnegat with Linda Widdop. See the field trips page for all upcoming field trips: https://dvoc.org/activities/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.

Billings – Art McMorris

Brian Quindlen (“BQ”) is the winner of the 2021 Bob Billings Award with 257 species. The award will be presented to BQ at a DVOC Zoom meeting on April 7th, with members of Bob Billings’s family present, and BQ will give us a brief talk about his Bob Billings Big Year effort.

See https://dvoc.org/about/committees/billings/.


Linda Widdop: The Bird Safe Philly volunteer meeting is scheduled tentatively for March 16th.

Linda Widdop: George Armistead is running a pelagic trip on Sunday, February 20th and there are spots still available. 

Local Notes (from the chat)

Barb Bassett: Female Baltimore Oriole going to her jelly feeder at Cape May Point. On February 16th, there were 12+ Razorbills and 3 Horned Grebes off Coral Avenue, Cape May Point.

Martin Dellwo: Saw Thick-billed Murre at Barnegat Inlet on February 11th; which was a “lower 48” lifer (and state bird) for him — and the last reasonably expected seagoing bird that he needed for New Jersey. He also had a fair number of gulls over Rittenhouse Square; largely Herring, but a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls as well, which is a new species for the Rittenhouse Square hotspot. 

Steve Mattan: Piney Place, Southampton, NJ, Burlington County. Multiple American Woodcocks in the yard every night since February 8. 

Patrick McGill: Eastern Screech-Owl still calling out in front of his apartment almost nightly in the Germantown area of Philly. He also reported that Holger Pflicke had a Red-throated Loon at the Navy Yard on the morning of February 17th. 

Programs: Barb Bassett

The next regular meeting will be on March 3rd when Katy Duffy will present “Owls and I: 40 Years of Citizen Science”. Katy will highlight the owl banding she has conducted each fall at Cape May, NJ since 1980, including banding techniques, owls captured, and other results of this long-term study. Katy also surveys for males of several owl species while they advertise for mates during late winter and spring, another citizen science project she has done for twenty-four years in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Gallatin National Forest. She will explain how these surveys work and share insights into owl natural history and ecology that these studies have provided.

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

Evening Program

Paul Napier presented an information-packed program about the Cape May Raptor Banding project. He gave a brief history of the project, explained why banding is necessary, and talked about the numbers of each raptor species the project has banded over the years, and the tools required for banding. He also gave a summary of each species of raptor with details ranging from plumage differences between young and adult males and females to average weight and wing chord length for each species. Some key points from the meeting are below:

  • The Cape May Raptor Banding Project is the oldest in North America (founded in 1967) and one of the largest in the world. 
  • The project has banded 156,154 diurnal raptors from 16 species, as well as 7 species of owls. 
  • Raptors are banded to study:
    • Nesting regions, dispersal, and migration patterns
    • Behavior and social structure
    • Life span and survival

If you have any questions, you can reach Paul at napierpa@verizon.net


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 pm. A handful of us stayed on after the official meeting ended to chat.