This was a Zoom-only meeting. Instructions for registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.
Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton
Call to Order: 7:32 PM
Gregg introduced all the officers and welcomed guests.
Attendees: 34 on Zoom.
The minutes from January 12 were approved.
Membership Committee – Gregg Gorton for Nilesh Shah
New members for January – Lela Stanley, Daniel Sloan, Dieter Schifferli, Gary Karpinski, Ben Filreis.
Field Trips – Navin Sasikumar for Linda Widdop
Email Linda Widdop, firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested in leading any field trips.
Upcoming field trips:
- January 21 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am – Poquessing Creek Park with Holger Pflicke
- January 21 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am – Discovery Center with Victor Lefevre
- January 21 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm – Conowingo Dam with Cliff Hence
- January 27 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm – Bartram’s Garden with Ben Filreis
- January 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Lake Lily, Cape May Point with Barb Bassett
Billings – Art McMorris
Send in the number of bird species you saw in the DVOC area in 2022 to Art McMorris. The number to beat currently is 273. If your number is greater than that, send in your complete checklist by January 31st.
Conservation – Gregg Gorton for Anne Bekker
Gregg reminded everyone that at the last meeting, Anne mentioned a few ongoing “struggles” regarding conservation – the destruction of the FDR Park meadow for soccer fields, the Cobbs Creek golf course renovation, and the razing of trees at the Oakwell Estate in Villanova.
Marty Dellwo added that the club is doing well financially and if people have any creative ideas for conservation efforts that the club can donate money to, please let Anne Bekker know.
Communication – Navin Sasikumar
Navin is resigning as the web admin and is looking for a replacement to take over. The responsibilities include maintaining and updating the website, for example adding news, events and other items to the website, updating members’ pages, etc. Navin will help train the new admin to take over.
DEI – Navin Sasikumar
Navin reminded those present that the In Color Birding Club received a $2000 gift from DVOC to arrange buses to take students to green spaces in and around Philly. Navin also added that DVOC members can go to the In Color Birding club website and donate personally as well.
Cassinia – Gregg Gorton for Holger Pflicke
The next issue of Cassinia is very close to being published. This year we are moving towards printing physical copies only for those who request them. Late last year, an email was sent to members asking if they would like a physical copy – about 50 wanted a hard copy, but the vast majority were okay with a digital version.
Marty Dellwo announced that he got an email from someone that there was a meeting on January 26 about the FDR meadows. The email said that folks are giving comments against the building of “artificial” wetlands that were part of the original plan. Many non-birders want only free play space in the meadows instead of wetlands so having birders present there to advocate for the wetlands is essential.
Patrick mentioned that the Ash-throated Flycatcher continues at the Northeast Water Treatment Plan (NE WTP).
Navin mentioned that Ben Filreis found a Painted Bunting at Bartram’s Garden on Monday.
Jack Mahon reported that Short-eared Owls are back at Featherbed Lane, Mannington, NJ.
Elizabeth Porter also reported a Short-eared Owl at Fowler Beach in DE. She also said that she saw the Lark Sparrow at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, DE yesterday morning.
Manuel Dominguez said that there was an Iceland Gull yesterday at the Navy Yard.
Victoria Sindlinger also reported a 1st Cycle Iceland Gull at Pennypack on the Delaware on January 15.
Elizabeth Porter said that Red-breasted Nuthatches are regular visitors to her feeders in Gladwyne and Jack Mahon confirmed that there were numerous Red-breasted Nuthatches reported on various Christmas Bird Counts.
Linda Rowan reported that she had one male Purple Finch last week in Levittown, Bucks County.
John Drake said there was a report of a Short-eared Owl at the airport. He went to try to find it but didn’t really know what he was doing. He also saw a Muscovy Duck for the first time on January 1 at John Heinz NWR on the Delco side. He also reported a Nashville Warbler at the Chester waterfront. And finally, he was excited by a phone call from his wife yesterday about “a bunch of colorful ducks” she saw near their home but it looked like a bunch of domestic duck breeds to him.
Steve Mattan reported one male Purple Finch and one female Purple Finch on different days and two Red-Breasted Nuthatches daily at his home in Southampton, Burlington County, NJ.
Martin Dellwo said that there were reports that the Ash-throated Flycatcher continues at the Northeast Water Treatment Plant (NE WTP), and he saw the continuing LeConte’s Sparrow at Pennypack on the Delaware on Monday. He said that Red-breasted Nuthatches continue in the pine grove at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and he also had a Black-capped Chickadee there at the feeders on Wednesday morning. He also said that he had a Lincoln’s Sparrow at NE WTP on Jan 2nd, which is unusual for this time of year (in addition to the flycatcher, Fox Sparrow, and American Tree Sparrow).
Jamie Watts said that he saw the Ash-throated Flycatcher, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows at the NE WTP.
Programs: Gregg Gorton for Barb Bassett
Gregg announced that the next meeting will be on February 2 when Rob Fergus will give a presentation titled Leni Lenape Birds: The original birds and bird lore of Lenapehoking, the Lenape Homeland.
More information on the Meetings page of the DVOC website for this and other upcoming meetings.
Tykee James shared his story of starting out at Cobbs Creek Park with Tony Croasdale and Dan Kobza, then working with State Representative Donna Bullock and then the National Audubon Society (NAS) in DC as the government affairs coordinator. At NAS, he led bird walks for congressional staff but NAS didn’t value his work. He was paid hourly while the rest of his team was salaried. He moved from NAS to the Wilderness Society where the pay is much better. The Wilderness Society created the role to focus on equitable access to nature, which brought him back to his roots.
Despite his professional work achievements, he feels that his major contribution nationally and even worldwide has been his participation in Black Birders Week.
He talked about three actions people and organizations should take to ensure justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion:
- Normalize how you demonstrate your values. For example, if Black lives matter, then no one should be surprised when you act like it.
- Rationalize your rules. If you value inclusion that means your bylaws should allow people to become members without sponsors.
- Organize against structures. Organize with people the same way Black people organized in a group chat to set up Black Birders Week. The most important way to organize is in unions.
Tykee is also the president of DC Audubon Society and as president, his goals are as follows:
- Ensure there are strong committee agendas
- Put out the truth that the birding community isn’t just about people who want to get up early to watch birds – it’s for anyone who enjoys birds.
- For a lighter community-building event, they organize Wingspan Wednesdays a couple of times a month when people play board games, notably Wingspan.
- Start the process of the renaming journey for DC Audubon (similar to Seattle Audubon) so as not to continue to carry the legacy of an enslaver.
- Organize bird walks across DC. DC is divided into 8 wards and they want to hold one walk in each ward each month.
Tykee co-created Amplify the Future and the Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship. They offer “scholarships for students and networking opportunities to the historically excluded in conservation”. He also co-founded the Freedom Birders project which is a “movement that seeks to change the culture of bird watching in the United States by developing a racial justice curriculum and bird education”.
Links to organizations being led by historically excluded groups:
We Act for Environmental Justice
America the Beautiful for All Coalition being led and overrepresented by indigenous folks
Justice Outside seeks to advance racial justice in the outdoors
After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 pm.