Minutes – January 20, 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 interaction between birds and the environment, bird diseases, local bird sightings – purple finches, red-breasted nuthatches, owls.

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:32PM

Registrants: 47; 42 members, 5 non-members (34 signed on for the meeting, some with more than one person per device)

Gregg welcomed all to the meeting and introduced the officers. 

The minutes from January 06, 2022 were approved.

Reports of Council

Gregg Gorton: First Meeting January 25th. Gregg asked people to email him or anyone on Council if there is anything that needs attention from Council. 

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Linda Timlin

New Members: Kristen Cooney, Katrina Clark

New Applications: Manuel Dominguez, David Moyer

Gregg announced that the membership committee is trialing a new program where members of the committee become mentors to new club members.

Conservation – Gregg Gorton filling in for Anne Bekker

There was a Bird Safe Philly meeting on the 19th. They are always looking for new volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch with Linda Widdop or Anne Bekker. 

Billings – Art McMorris

As of today, the number to beat is a backyard bird list at 118. Let Art know your number for the year if it is more than 118. The cutoff is January 30th. The award presentation will be given in late winter / early spring. 

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

Communications – Navin Sasikumar

Webhost is throttling resources, and we had to block all bots including search engines, so you might see some ‘Checking your browser’ type messages when visiting the website. 

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. 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.

Local Notes (from the chat)

Maria Pacheco: Red-breasted Nuthatch at Morris Arboretum

Rob Bierregaard: Merlin in yard in Wynnewood. At PMWBC Army Corps, there was an adult Bald Eagle at nest plus two other adults and 2 juveniles. Brown Creeper at retention pond in Wynnewood. 

Shawn Towey: Eastern Screech-Owls in our back yard last week — Chester County near Valley Forge. Heard at around 11pm. 

Phil Witmer: We had a yard bird – Northern Mockingbird, also a visual of a Great Horned Owl, Chester County

Vinobha Pannerselvam: From Bucks County – 3 Northern Flickers have been visiting the suet feeder every day this year.

Steve Mattan: Piney Place, Southampton, NJ, Burlington County. This week. 2 Purple Finches. 6 Fox Sparrows. 

Victoria Sindlinger: Went down for the Bullock’s Oriole in Pitman, New Jersey on Jan. 18th. Also have been seeing a surprising amount of Bald Eagle flyovers, including a pair by my house in West Philly.

Patrick McGill: Eastern Screech-Owl calling almost every night out front of my apartment in Germantown area of Philly. Also had a Cackling Goose in NE Philly in business complex behind Benny Rush State Park on Sunday. Nashville Warbler at Army Corps for PMWBC. 

Marty Dellwo: a male American Kestrel has been seen around the edges of Rittenhouse Square recently. I obtained an audio clip, making it the 61st species for which there is audio for that hotspot. Also just noticed I am 3 checklists away from having submitted 4000 eBird checklists. Two female Common Goldeneyes at Navy Yard, 4 Bald Eagles, and nest on top of ship in harbor and saw an eagle perched by the nest two days later. Female Common Goldeneye on Schuylkill River near Christian Street. Previously Black-throated Green Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler at Schuylkill River Park. 

Barb Bassett: Bullock’s Oriole in Pitman, NJ; Sandhill Cranes Pedricktown Marsh, Logan Twp NJ; 2 Brown Creepers are coming to my feeder area, not only on the trees but also on the ground under the feeders; Brown Creepers are in Clarksboro, NJ

Peter Burns: Two Bald Eagles were at Erdenheim Farm yesterday, one on the nest and one on the branch

Dan Efroymson: Purple Finch was fairly regular at Bradford Dam in Bucks 1-2 month ago

Programs: Barb Bassett

The next regular meeting will be on February 3rd when Kashi Davis will present Life on the Edge: The Lives and Times of NJ Beach-nesting Birds. She’ll be talking about Piping Plovers, Black Skimmers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers. Learn about recent population trends, research and tracking projects, and how climate change (especially sea-level rise) already is and will continue to impact these species.

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

Evening Program

Mark Bonta presented a fascinating program about the firehawks of Australia – the Black Kite, the Whistling Kite and the Brown Falcon. These hawks are known by Aboriginal groups to spread fires by picking up embers from fires and distributing them to other places, a practice known as Intentional Fire Spreading (IFS). The hawks then prey on small mammals and reptiles that are either fleeing or dead from the fire. He also talked about fire foraging birds that are not known to spread fires but are present around fires. 

You can find out more about Mark’s work at: https://markbonta.academia.edu/ or check his eBird profile at https://ebird.org/pa/profile/NDE4MTI5/world. You can also read his full paper at: https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-ethnobiology/volume-37/issue-4/0278-0771-37.4.700/Intentional-Fire-Spreading-by-Firehawk-Raptors-in-Northern-Australia/10.2993/0278-0771-37.4.700.full


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:13pm. A handful of us stayed on after the official meeting ended to chat.