Minutes – June 2, 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.

7:05 PM: The Pre-Meeting discussed vagrant birds (Garganey, Gray Kingbird, Magnificent Frigatebird), the Dry Tortugas, and some local notes.

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:34 PM

Registrants: 47; 44 members, 3 non-members (35 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 May 17, 2022 were approved.

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Nilesh Shah

5 new members were added in May:

  • Paul Fitzpatrick and Susan Colette Daubner
  • Robert Bedell and Jane Harrington
  • Ashley Myers

Field Trips – Barb Bassett, Gregg Gorton for Linda Widdop

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

Upcoming field trips:

  • June 25 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am –  Upper Dublin Bird Town Walks with Wyncote Audubon (Pine Run Park) with Nilesh Shah
  • July 23 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am –  Upper Dublin Bird Town Walks with Wyncote Audubon (Pine Run Park) with Nilesh Shah
  • August 13 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am –  Upper Dublin Bird Town Walks with Wyncote Audubon (Pine Run Park) with Nilesh Shah

Gregg Gorton will add a field trip for the Philadelphia Breeding Bird Census at Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

Participants must follow all the COVID-19 Guidelines as posted on the website.

Conservation – Gregg Gorton for Anne Bekker

Gregg Gorton announced that Bird Safe Philly monitoring is ongoing and he thanked everyone involved. He also mentioned that there is a campaign to save Oakwell Forest (near the Stoneleigh Preserve) from deforestation that would replace the forest with playing fields. 

Banquet  – Lauren Diamond

Lauren Diamond announced that the club is hoping to return to an in-person event this fall though there are still unknowns to figure out. Right now we are optimistic that we may be able to have an in-person event. We are going to do a survey to get input from members sometime in September (tentatively) to get a sense of if people will feel safe attending the event and if they would be okay with requirements like vaccinations, tests, etc. 

Cassinia – Gregg Gorton for Holger Pflicke

Gregg Gorton reported that things are moving along for the next edition of Cassinia. Gregg said that Barb Bassett and he, as former secretaries, are editing the 2019 and 2020 minutes since they go into the ‘Abstracts of Proceedings’ section in Cassinia. 

Communication – Navin Sasikumar

No report


Victoria Sindlinger went to the Black Birders gala to kickoff Black Birders week at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Club members Tanya Burnett and Troy Bynum had photos displayed, and Tykee James was a panelist. 

Keith Russell said that Mid-Atlantic Audubon had been sharing profiles of Black Birders on social media. 

Barb Bassett reported that the club had ordered new hats and they should be in shortly and will be on sale soon. 

Gregg Gorton also mentioned that we have new DVOC business cards that Lauren Diamond designed. Send Gregg an email if you want business cards. 

Barb Bassett announced that the DVOC eBird account has 283 birds from 65 checklists and thanked everyone for sharing their eBird lists with the DVOC account. 

Local Notes

Bonnie Witmer reported that they had nesting Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, and possibly Northern Flickers in their Chester County backyard. She also reported that they had lots of Cedar Waxwings and other usual suspects. 

Steve Mattan said that a Belted Kingfisher had been visiting their yard in Piney Place, Southampton, Burlington County, NJ this past week.

Nilesh Shah reported that he had a small group of Cedar Waxwings in his yard in Maple Glen, PA. 

Elizabeth Porter reported that a Pine Warbler had been singing in the pines near her house in Gladwyne. She also said that she had the Pine Warbler and a Chipping Sparrow countersinging the morning of this meeting, which made an interesting comparison. When she heard the Pine Warbler and Chipping Sparrow, she decided to try Merlin’s Sound ID to test out what it came up with and it clearly distinguished the two birds as they were singing. She could also see the differences in the sonogram.

Victoria Sindlinger reported that she had a gorgeous Black Tern past Coral Ave Seawatch in Cape May on May 21st. She also said that she chased and saw the Gray Kingbird on May 31st in Cape May. 

John Drake said that he saw his first ever Great Crested Flycatcher this week. He also saw a Broad-winged Hawk fly over his neighborhood on the day of this meeting, which the eBird app warned him is a rarity for his location. He also said that a couple of weeks ago he visited New York City and counted over 500 individual birds on a birding trip to Central Park (including three life firsts). He said that he had been birdwatching daily in his neighborhood and it had been fun watching the first fledglings of the season. The past few days, Fish Crows have been very active and he had seen them taking nestlings and being mobbed for it!

On May 22nd , Barb Bassett saw the Little Stint at Heislerville, Cumberland County, NJ.  It had been found two days earlier.  Several other DVOCers saw that bird over the course of its stay, 05/20-05/24.  A Gray Kingbird flew north over Coral Ave, Cape May Point, NJ on May 31st.  That happened to be the last day of Cape May Bird Observatory’s Springwatch, where she sometimes volunteers.  Also seen that day from Coral Ave and several locations in Cape May Point, was a Magnificent Frigatebird.  Interestingly, a Magnificent Frigatebird was reported the night before soaring in the Lakes Bay area near Atlantic City.  The Gray Kingbird was re-found north of the Cape May canal, near the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal.  Many other DVOCers enjoyed this bird as well.  A Virginia Rail with four young, 2 Black-necked Stilts, a banded Piping Plover (Cape Henlopen, DE), and at least six White-rumped Sandpipers were the highlights at the South Cape May Meadows today.

Programs: Barb Bassett

Barb announced that this was our last meeting until the third Thursday in September and that depending on the situation we are hoping to go hybrid in the fall which will determine who will be our speakers. 

More information on the Meetings page of the DVOC website for this and other upcoming meetings.

Evening Program

Keith Russell presented a riveting program about the history of bird collision monitoring in Philadelphia starting from 1897 and going on to the present-day Lights Out Philly and collision monitoring efforts. Some key points from the meeting are below:

  • DVOC founder, Willia Baily had an account  of bird collisions at City Hall in 1899
  • By 1899, DVOC observers had figured out that bird collisions happen due to bright lights and stormy weather. The first collision event was a Sora and the person reported it to the Evening Bulletin which brought it to the attention of the DVOC which enabled them to work with the City Hall electrician, Mr. Slaughter to do a formal monitoring program. 
  • From 1897 – 1899, Common Yellowthroat (158), Northern Parula (68), Yellow-rumped Warbler (34),  Palm Warbler (26), and Black-throated Green Warbler(24) were the top 5 collision victims.
  • Between 2008 and 2011, the top 5 collision victims were Ovenbird (106), White-throated Sparrow (61), Common Yellowthroat (43), Black-and-white Warbler (27), and Northern Parula (23).
  • There was a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer of a mass collision event at the PSFS building on September 12, 1948
  • Transparent and reflective glass is the most frequent cause of bird collisions in downtown Philadelphia today. The height of the building is not a major factor. 


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:21 pm. A handful of us stayed on to chat after the official meeting ended.