Minutes – March 18, 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 was some bird chit chat.

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:32pm
Registrants: 64 [51 members, 13 non-members]; 45 signed on for the meeting (some had more than one person per device).

Linda welcomed all to the meeting and introduced the officers. 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.

Minutes from the last regular meetings on Mar. 4, 2021 were approved.

Committee Reports:

Membership Committee: Bonnie Witmer

New Members: Jenn McIntire, Sally Leathersich (reinstated), Tanya Burnett, Harvey Tomlinson, Jr., Sarah and Karie Zaritsky (household) New Application: Barbara and Philip Stollsteimer

Conservation Committee:

Linda Widdop spoke at length about the Bird Safe Philly partnership and initiative, which is a voluntary program involving businesses with lighted buildings in Philadelphia.  She listed the organizations involved: DVOC, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Mid-Atlantic Audubon, Wyncote Audubon, Valley Forge Audubon, and the National Audubon Society.  She thanked members of DVOC who have been involved in one way or another—often tirelessly, and sometimes serving more than one of the partnering organizations–including Keith Russell (who has for decades spearheaded the effort to address the problem of birds colliding with lighted buildings here), Leigh Altadonna, George Armistead, Jason Weckstein, Steve Maciejewski, Lauren Diamond (who designed the Logo and aspects of the web site), Anne Bekker, and Billy Brown.  She also said there will be a need for volunteers to get involved in monitoring for dead and injured birds.  There will be an ongoing outreach to additional building owners to increase the number of buildings that will have their lights turned off for six hours at night during the two migratory seasons (April-May & August-November).  The Philadelphia City Council just passed a resolution endorsing Bird Safe Philly, and Councilors Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-large) and Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) played critical roles as co-sponsors.   

Bird Safe Philly website:  https://www.birdsafephilly.org/about

Anne Bekker (Chair of Conservation):  One facet of the Bird Safe Philly initiative is community monitoring through our iNaturalist project. We need people to use the app to tell us where they find dead birds, which will help identify the most problematic spots and will inform the development of our Lights Out program and other measures to prevent bird deaths going forward. Please join our Bird Safe Philly Bird Strikes Project and remember to add your observations manually. Thank you for your participation!  Go here: https://www.argentinat.org/projects/bird-safe-philly-bird-strikes-project

Also, here are some options for residential homes: window treatments for homeowners.

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

Field Trips are starting up again. Look for new trips added to the schedule on our website: DVOC 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.

There is one on April 6th: Weekday Spring Bird Walks at Rancocas Nature Center.

Programs: Gregg Gorton

The next program, April 1st, will be Constriction from Expansion: An American Condor Story Moed Gerveni will be the speaker who is a former DVOC member and Academy of Natural Sciences researcher.

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


Navin Sasikumar described the upcoming City Nature Challenge– April 30 – May 3 for observations, and May 4-9 for the identification phase.  Participants will utilize iNaturalist, as in the past. Navin encouraged people to practice using that App so they can be ready for the Challenge!  Areas involved will be not only Philadelphia County, but all adjacent counties in PA and NJ.  For more information: City Nature Challenge national website and Philadelphia City Nature Challenge.

Jean Brady: Upcoming virtual book discussion of J. Drew Lanham’s “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature” at Upper Dublin Library, April 15, 7-8pm.  You will need to register at the Upper Dublin Library website: Book Discussion: “The Home Place”

Judy Foulke: All are invited to join Bucks County Birders on March 23 at 7pm when Mark Garland will zoom a presentation on Monarch butterflies. Mark writes the Birders Question Mark column for Bird Watcher’s Digest. He is a birder and naturalist extraordinaire. He directs the Monarch monitoring program in Cape May. Please email bucksbirders@gmail.com for a link. Hope to see you then!

Victoria Sindlinger: Please check out my blog post here for more info on Bird Safe Philly: https://www.woodlandsphila.org/blog/2021/3/15/great-news-for-phillys-migrant-birds

Judy Stepenaskie: With the Lights Out Philly collision monitoring, birds that are found alive will be taken to the Schuylkill Center rehab.  Volunteer drivers are needed to come down to Center City to transport injured birds there.

Linda Widdop: 60 new Bluebird boxes installed at Fox Chase Farm. Thanks to the 3rd graders for building and coloring the boxes.

Local Notes [via the chat]

Bonnie and Phil Witmer: Pine Siskins, Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Woodcock, in Chester County, PA.

Linda Widdop: An Eastern Phoebe and Wood Ducks are back at Lorimer Park in Montgomery County, PA.

Victoria Sindlinger: Common Loon on the Schuylkill River by the South Street Bridge on 3/12; Long-tailed Duck at Tinicum on the Darby Creek on 3/15, Philadelphia, PA.

Nathaniel Sharp: My first American Woodcock in Delco was peenting and flying display circles pre-sunrise at the Darlington Tract on March 7th – https://ebird.org/pa/checklist/S82920337

Linda Rowan: This week we had our first Brown Creeper of the  winter.  This was seen on Tuesday March 16th at my house in Levittown, Bucks County.

Martin Dellwo: Yellow-rumped Warbler at Heinz refuge yesterday was probably my first migrating warbler of the season.  Today had a Horned Grebe at Pennypack on the Delaware, molting into breeding plumage.

Martin Dellwo: Rittenhouse Square gained its 90th species by eBird accounting, with the addition of Fox Sparrow.  The past few days there has been a White-breasted Nuthatch there, not common for that spot.  Recently 3-4 Song Sparrows have been hanging there, including singing, but I suspect the winter-resident Lincoln’s Sparrow has departed.

My photograph taken 1/31 of a Sanderling in West Cape May showed a red leg flag.  I sent in the number to http://www.bandedbirds.org/. The bird was banded by Kathy Clark in Goshen, NJ (Cape May County) in May 2012, and was deemed hatched in 2010 or earlier–so, it was at least 11 years old.

Linda Rowan: Ruby-throated Hummingbird was reported in Cape May a few days ago.  I think there was also a Selasphorus seen there.

Bert Filemyr: Several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds over wintered in the Cape May area this past winter.

Evening Program:

Gregg then introduced the evening’s speaker, Sandy Lockerman, who presented “Hummingbirds: Jewels of the Air.”

She gave a highly informative, fascinating talk with many beautiful photos of hummers, and described her twenty-five years-long work as a bander of both rare vagrants in southeastern PA and Ruby-throats at two sites in Central PA, where she has been building a data base for comparison by future researchers. She fielded many questions from enthusiastic participants.


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.