Minutes – May 2, 2024

This was a hybrid meeting. We had multiple speakers and a live audience in the BEES classroom and the meeting was broadcast on Zoom.

Call to Order: President Barb Bassett

Call to Order: 7:30 PM

Attendees: 9 in-person; 14 on Zoom.

The minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Committee Reports

Membership – Barb Bassett for Rebecca Reicherter

Four new members have been added to the roster since the last meeting.  They are:

Allison Starr

Douglas Conety

Susan Conety

Jordan Yanoshik

One more membership application is being processed.

Field Trips – Linda Widdop

If you wish to lead a field trip, contact Linda: linda@techimpact.org

Upcoming field trips:

May 48:00 – 9:30Fernhill ParkHolger Pflicke
May 47:30 – 10:00Ridley Creek State Park Warbler WalkAlan Crawford and Win Shafer
May 410:00 – 12:00Carpenter’s Woodsedge
May 43:00 – 5:00 PMMorris Parkedge
May 58:00 – 10:30Tacony Creek ParkHolger Pflicke
May 510:00 – 12:00West Fairmount Parkedge
May 54:00 – 6:00 PMHaddington Woods and Meadowedge
May 87:30 – 9:00Wednesday Spring Bird Walks at Lorimer Park and Fox Chase FarmLinda Widdop
May 97:30 – 9:00Independence Hall Spring Bird WalksGeorge Armistead
May 97:30 – 10:00Thursday mornings at Wetherill Park (Montco)Martin Selzer
May 117:30 – 2:30Indian River Inlet + Prime Hook NWRTBD
May 118:00 – 10:00FDR ParkHolger Pflicke
May 119:00 – 11:00Spring Migration and Art at Independence HallConnor Smyth
May 1110:00 – 12:00Carpenter’s Woodsedge
May 113:00 – 5:00 PMMorris Parkedge
May 1210:00 – 12:00West Fairmount Parkedge
May 1210:00 – 12:00West Fairmount Parkedge

Conservation – Barb Bassett for Perri Strawn

Barb provided an update on the effort to prevent the felling of 50 heritage trees and some others in FDR Park. The lawsuit filed by “Save the Meadows” resulted in a stay until the 2nd of May. In the hearing today, the court decided it did not have the jurisdiction to act on the issue. It looks very likely that the project will move forward. It will result in the creation of soccer fields with artificial turf.

Rob Karchnyak and Manny Dominguez did a brief (not thorough) survey and only found an example of nesting Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers. Everyone is requested to report any other instances of nesting birds. Cutting down trees with active nests is a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Guidelines for Reporting: https://www.fws.gov/story/how-report-wildlife-crime

Online Reporting Form: https://www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips

Gregg thanked Perri, Rob, Manny, and Jason Weckstein for all their efforts on this issue.

Billings – Art McMorris

No report.

Banquet – Navin Sasikumar for Lauren Diamond

This year’s banquet is scheduled for November 15th

The Keynote Speaker will be Rosemary Mosco, the renowned avian cartoonist and author.

Cassinia – Holger Pflicke

No report.

Communications – Navin Sasikumar

 No report.


The Raven Luna Chicks (an all-women team) will participate again in the World Series of Birding to be held on May 11th.  All funds donated to support the team will be contributed to the Bird Safe Philly program.  Please go to the World Series page to find the link to contribute.

The City Nature Challenge had the best year yet.  The survey had 1036 participants (crossed the 1000 mark for the first time) and 2429 species were reported in 20637 observations. Adam, Barb, Debbie, and Victor documented more than 50 bird observations each. Navin thanked everyone for their engagement and contributions.

The culminating event of this year’s Black Birders Week will be “Black Experience in Birding: An Evening with Chris Cooper”, to be held on June 1st, between 6 and 10 PM at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The event will also highlight local bird groups. Navin and Barb will be at the DVOC table.

Local Notes

Barb Bassett mentioned that there are various reports of warblers and shorebirds as migration is fully underway.  In Gloucester County, she saw Black-and-white, Yellow and Black-throated Blue Warblers. She also saw American Redstart, Yellow-breasted Chat, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Sandhill Cranes. In Cape May, she saw 2 or 3 Brown-headed Nuthatches.

There was some discussion of the departure times for Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows. Manny reported that the former are supposed to be in our area from October 8th through April 22nd and the latter range from October 1st through May 15th.

Lois Bryman found Pine, Prairie, Prothonotary, Wilson, and Black-and-white Warblers in the Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve in Tabernacle, NJ.

Manny Dominguez reported that a Swainson’s Warbler had been found in Washington Square by Russell Rogers on April 30th.  A lot of people were able to see the bird.

Four or more Warbling Vireos were reported at the Discovery Center. 

Programs: Navin Sasikumar

May 22:  Kenn Kaufman will present, “Center of the Bird World: Audubon and his Rivals in Philadelphia”.  The talk, to be held in the Auditorium at 6 PM, is intended to introduce his new book, “The Birds That Audubon Missed”, which is being released on May 7th.  Jason Weckstein will moderate the event.

June 6:  Sophia Osborn will present a talk entitled “Feather Trails: A Journey of Discovery among Endangered Birds”. Speaker will be remote.

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

Evening Program

This evening was focused on presentations from students conducting research in the Academy’s Bird Department.  Gregg acknowledged the members of the Ornithological Studies committee, particularly Nate Rice, for organizing these presentations.

Jason Weckstein gave an introduction to the work being done at the department and overview of the topics for the evening.  He thanked the DVOC for funding the interns.  He started with a brief description of the work being done with specimens.  He specifically mentioned work being done in his lab including references to specific students, graduate students and post-docs.

Matthew Soesanto, an undergraduate COOP student, addressed the question: “Do Feather Louse Genomes Reflect Bottleneck Events of Host Bird Populations?”

Abigail del Grosso, a Master’s student, addressed the question: “Does Agriculture affect Infection and Genomic Variation of Prairie Grouse Lice?”


After the presentation and some questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10pm.