Minutes – May 2, 2019

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:36pm

Call To Order:

President: Marty Dellwo (for George Armistead)
VP: Linda Widdop; Secretary: Gregg Gorton


Members present: 20; guests:

Reports from Council: 


Committee Reports:


Bonnie Witmer

New member: Eva Marie Shahade (present with her niece, Janey)

New applicant: Carol Haufler; Carol Beam

Field Trips:

Linda Widdop

Discovery Center Bird Walk

May 4, [email protected]

Leader: TBA

John Heinz NWR Bird Walk

May 4, [email protected]:00 am–12:00pm

Leader: Gregg Gorton

Ridley Creek State Park

May 4, [email protected]:30am-noon

Leaders: Win Shafer & Alan Crawford

Pennypack Park – Verree & Krestown Rd. Area

May 5, [email protected]:30am-10:30am

Leader: Holger Pflicke


Wissahickon Warblers

May 8, [email protected]

Leader: Tony Croasdale

Meet at Domino Lane and Henry Avenue (parking lot east of Henry on Domino)

Carpenter’s Woods

May 11, [email protected]:30-9:30am

Leader: Keith Russell

Meet at Wayne Avenue & Sedgwick St.

FDR Park

May 11, [email protected]:30am-9:30am

Leader: Holger Pflicke

Meet at the Parking Lot east of the Gazebo


Fisher Park

May 15, [email protected]:30am-10:00am

Leader: Keith Russell

Meet at 571 W. Spencer St.

–>Please contact Linda Widdop if you want to lead a trip outside Philadelphia: Linda@techimpact.org

–>Please contact Tony Croasdale if you want to lead a walk inside Philadelphia (for DVOC’s BirdPhilly initiative): Tony.croasdale@gmail.com

Details for all walks/trips can be found at:
http://dvoc.org/activities/field-trips/ and http://birdphilly.org/events.html

Up-coming Program:

Linda Widdop

Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles & Falcons of North America

May 16, [email protected]:00pm (after 7:30pm business meeting)

Speakers: Pete Dunne & Kevin Karlson

(Note: this is a reprise of their talk from the Annual Meeting last November, when many members were snowed-in due to the blizzard.)


Linda Widdop: The Delaware Birdathon (of the Delaware [formerly Delmarva] Ornithological Society) will raise funds this year in the ongoing effort to conserve more coastal land, this time in Mispillion Harbor, a shorebird migration stopover area. Dates: May 4-May 12, 2019.

Matt Halley: presented yet another remarkable find, this time a small, leather-bound book by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, an Academy ornithologist during the 1800s, “The Systematic Distribution of Vertebrate Animals.” The book was published in Italy (in Italian & Latin) in 1831, and described a method for organizing the types of vertebrate animals, thus becoming the first published work on comparative systematics.

Matt showed the book around to audience members.

Note (somewhat illegible) dedication from the author at the top.

Matt Halley: announced that he will be presenting/displaying a copy of Graceanna Lewis’ “Tree of Birds” at the American Ornithological Society Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, from June 24-28, 2019. Ms. Lewis was a pioneer in bird phylogenetics–so she is known as the “Mother” of that area of ornithological endeavor. She was a remarkable woman,
a student of John Cassin here at our very own ANSP, whose work was praised by the likes of Thomas Huxley. You can read more about her here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graceanna_Lewis

Matt Halley: also announced that the Associate Curator of Birds, Jason Weckstein, has garnered an NSF Grant (>$900,000) to study mites found on members of the Tinamidae family of birds (tinamous). These birds carry more species of bird mites than any other in the world!

Janey Shahade: announced that she has been accepted as a member of the ZooCREW at the Philadelphia Zoo, a much-sought-after volunteer position for a high schooler, which can lay the groundwork for a career having to do with animals and/or conservation of. She was warmly congratulated for this accomplishment.

Bonnie Witmer: Jenkins Arboretum will have its Wild Plant Sale on May 4-5, 2019.

Navin Sasikumar: Philadelphia did very well in the City Nature Challenge, being ranked among the top 25 cities in the world of the 150 that participated. We were 22nd in observations (13,729), 24th in number of species (1,456), and 14th in number of observers (566)! Thanks to everyone who participated. (And then Navin was given a shout-out for his leadership, along will Billy Brown, Tony Croasdale and others.) Navin noted that 30 different partnering organizations got involved in the Philly effort.

Local Notes:

Debbie Beer: noted Great Horned Owl nesting in Delaware County south of the airport near the Jet Stream Parking lot. And, the birds’ nest is among a colony of Great Blue Heron!

Katrina Rakowski: noted that a Cerulean Warbler and two Blue-winged Warblers were found near Independence Historic Park by Leor Veleanu.

Marty Dellwo: saw pair of Kestrel at 22nd and Walnut again, and believes they may be nesting in a crevice near the edge of the roof of a building there.

Dan Efroymson: had Prairie Warbler & Rose-breasted Grosbeak in his yard in Roxborough. He added that Billy Brown reportedly found two Common Gallinule at the SW Water Treatment Plant.

Gregg Gorton: noted that the only Pennsylvania breeding record of Black-necked Stilt was at that same Water Treatment Plant roughly 25-30 years ago.

Jack Creighton: went on the Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Reserve walk in the Pine Barrens last week with Tony Croasdale and saw Prothonotary, Hood and Prairie Warblers, as well as Scarlet Tanager.

Matt Haley: found what may be a new species of firefly for Philadelphia, collected in Eastwick meadow. It is Pyractomena borealis. He also noted that a Louisiana Waterthrush nest was found along Cresheim Creek in Wissahickon Valley Park.


Evening Program:

Wildlife Telemetry in the Age of the Fitbit & Apple Watch: “Wearables” for Wildlife

Speaker: Andrew McGann

Andrew drew from both his ornithological and technological backgrounds to educate us about the different forms of attachable wildlife-tracking technologies, with his main focus on those using cell towers and satellites. Some of his videos were quite stunning in the way they showed the kinds of visual data they can be produced, including depictions of birds’ flight altitude, flight and stopover behavior, as well as distance traveled and precise route taken. His talk ended with dozens of questions from an obviously fascinated audience.

Meeting adjourned at 9:18pm

After-meeting Gathering at Cherry Street Tavern:

After the formal meeting, some members enjoyed beverages and bird-chat.