Minutes – February 4, 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 discussion revolved around local birding notes.

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:30pm
Linda welcomed all to the meeting. 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.

Registrants: 69; 49 signed on for the meeting (some had more than one person per device).

Minutes from the last regular meetings on Jan 21, 2021 were approved.

Committee Reports:

Membership Committee: Bonnie Witmer

2021 New member applications: Angie Cosey, Jenn McIntire

2021 New members: Jean Brady (Household with Nilesh Shah), Robert Karchnyak, (pending dues payment), Heidi and John Shiver (household), Stephanie Egger

Conservation: Anne Bekker

Anne urged everyone to complete Philadelphia’s Climate Change Survey. [Judy Stepenaskie provided links to the Philadelphia Climate Action Plan [pdf] and an article, including the link to the survey: https://www.phila.gov/2021-01-15-cap]

The Bird Safe Philly website should be up and running shortly. Anne noted that they will be looking for volunteers to walk one day per week on a set route from 3/15 – 4/30 starting at 5:30am to monitor bird strikes. More information will be posted on the website. DVOC is one of the five founding organizations.

Billings: Art McMorris

The 2020 lists have been submitted by the front runners and are in the process of being reviewed by the judges.

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

The DVOC will continue to hold off any further field trips due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Programs: Gregg Gorton

The speaker for the next meeting is Katie Fallon. The topic is: Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird.

More information at https://dvoc.org/wp/activities/meetings/


Phil and Bonnie let everyone know that Barbara Granger is gravely ill. She has played a huge role in editing papers for Cassinia and helping Matt with the last issues. [Since the meeting, it is with great sadness to report that Barbara passed away. She will be missed. More information: Barbara Granger].

Linda Widdop announced that the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology is accepting applications for a student research award. It is designed to provide support to either graduate or undergraduate students in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctorate. Proposals will be judged for their scientific merit and the likelihood that the work will make a meaningful contribution to our understanding of Pennsylvania avifauna although applications from other states may be considered. See https://pabirds.org/index.php/awards/student-research-grant for further information.

Linda Widdop reminded everyone that the Great Backyard Bird Count is 2/12-15. In our area, you can participate in the GBBC Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill Challenge.

Local Notes [via the chat]

Victoria Sindlinger: About 120 Snow Geese flew over The Woodlands, Philadelphia, PA on 2/2 and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are also easily seen there.  Six Short-eared Owls, a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, and several male Northern Harriers (grey ghosts) were seen on 1/30 at Featherbed Lane, Salem County, NJ.

Bonnie and Philip Witmer: Red-breasted Nuthatch at our feeder on 2/3 and Pileated Woodpecker at on suet on 2/4, female Red-winged Blackbird at feeder on 2/4, Radnor, Montgomery County, PA.

Bert Filemyr: Baltimore Oriole (female) at feeder in Meadowbrook, Montgomery County, PA. on 2/4/21. Present for about 9 days.

Heidi Shiver: A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in our backwoods are seen regularly, Doylestown Township, Bucks County, PA.

Steve Mattan: Our place, Southampton, Burlington County, NJ: American Tree Sparrow 2/2 to 2/4; Pileated Woodpecker 1/31 to 2/4; Common Raven 1/31; Fox Sparrows, around 8 a day, in January and February. Sooy Place Road, Burlington County, 2 Chukar.

Stephanie Petro-McClellan: Red-shouldered Hawk , Pileated Woodpecker, Fox Sparrow, Red-breasted Nuthatches in January and February; juvenile, Red-shouldered Hawk East Falls, Philadelphia, PA.

Emily Dodge: Dark morph Rough-legged Hawk at Featherbed Lane, Salem County, NJ.

Michael Golightly: Great Horned Owl at Haverford Reserve, Haverford, Delaware County, PA on 1/24.

Stephanie Petro-McClellan: Tundra Bean Goose and Allen’s Hummingbird, “Allena”, Philadelphia, PA.

Linda Widdop: 2/3 two American Tree Sparrows at my feeder in Rydal, Montgomery County, PA after the snowstorm. Also continuing, Black-capped Chickadee has been here for a few months.

Rich Ziegler: Short-eared Owls, Featherbed Lane, Salem County, NJ with many other DVOC’ers; King Eiders, Barnegat Lighthouse SP, Ocean County, NJ.

Nilesh Shah: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker returned to the feeder last Monday, Maple Glen, Montgomery County, PA

Robert Horton: 1/24 Northern Shrike, Franklin Parker Preserve, Burlington County, NJ. (Steve Mattan: It was first reported in December. A Golden Eagle has also been sighted in the area.)

Hunting Tactics Cooper’s Hawk per Navin Sasikumar: My local, (Philadelphia, PA) Cooper’s Hawk has been using the windows of the houses across the street to get food. The hawk spooks the Mourning Doves; waits until one flies into a window and then grabs the concussed bird as it is falling. I have seen about 4 successful hunts in the last month or so. Tough to watch, but interesting.  Steve Mattan : Southampton, Burlington County, NJ, our Cooper’s Hawk has employed that strategy as well.

Barb Bassett: 2/2 Cape May Point SP, flock of 54 Horned Larks on beach; 2/3 Cape May Point SP 25 American Pipits feeding in front of the lighthouse; 2/3 American Tree Sparrow on Lighthouse Ave, Cape May Point, Cape May County, NJ.

Jack Mahon: Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are frequently seen in Salem Co NJ.

Martin Dellwo: 1/31 Featherbed Lane, Salem County, NJ, snow was just starting, two Rough-legged Hawks, one a light-morph, one dark, both immatures (possibly). County Home Rd., Salem County, NJ Flock of 100 Horned Larks.  Rittenhouse Square still held Lincoln’s Sparrow two days ago, the day after the snowstorm; not seen yesterday or today by me, but instead had Swamp Sparrow, which is atypical for there and surprising for one to just show up in the dead of winter.  The storm must have pushed things around.  I also have not seen the Red-tailed Hawk for a few days, but a Cooper’s Hawk blew through.

Nathan Sharp [Out of Area]: Dark morph Rough-legged in my neighborhood in VT.

Victoria Sindlinger [Out of Area]: Rare Visitor from Iceland was seen in Portland, ME. eBird species: Redwing [Linda Widdop, Ken Walsh, Debbie Beer, and Nathan Sharp went to Maine to see it.]

Luc Jacobs: [Out of Area] life bird – Bell’s Vireo, FL.

Gregg Gorton: [Out of Area] My Red-headed Woodpecker sighting during the Patagonia, Arizona CBC was accepted!  That is an exceedingly rare bird here.

Evening Program:

Speaker: Therese A. Catanach

Therese presented a fascinating account of the various subspecies of Sharp-shinned Hawks. The objective of the studies was to determine the taxonomic status of each taxon and to identify relationships between the taxa. She used both modern and antique DNA samplings. The work is important because the Sharp-shinned Hawk is considered of least conservation concern but if a separate species is proven that is endangered then grant money may be available.


Linda Widdop adjourned the meeting at 9:20 pm.
In the tradition of Cherry Street Tavern, a birding discussion continued until 10pm.