Minutes – November 2, 2023

This was a hybrid meeting. The in-person portion was in the BEES classroom and the speaker was remote. Instructions for registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton (remote)

Call to Order: 7:30 PM

Gregg introduced all the officers and welcomed guests.

Attendees: 7 in-person, 17 on Zoom. 

Minutes from the last meeting were approved. 

Committee Reports

Membership Committee – Gregg Gorton for Nilesh Shah

No new members were added in October

Field Trips – Navin Sasikumar for Linda Widdop

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

Upcoming field trips:

  • November 18 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am – Bird Walk at The Discovery Center
  • December 09 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am – Bird Walk at The Discovery Center
  • January 06 @ 8:00 am – 1:30 pm – Barnegat Inlet Bird Walk – Joint Trip with Wyncote Audubon led by Linda Widdop and Leigh Altadonna


Gregg Gorton reported that the Conservation Committee chaired by Anne Bekker has nominated a winner for the Rosalie Edge Award and Council has approved the nominee. The winner will be announced at the banquet. 

Navin Sasikumar reported that all Bird Safe Philly partners donated money to install Feather Friendly tape on the windows at Sister Cities Cafe just across the Academy. While it was previously a high collision building, since the installation, there has only been one reported collision fatality in over 30 days. 

Nominations – Gregg Gorton for Art McMorris

Gregg reported that the nominating committee has been in the process of nominating officers and council persons for 2024. 

Cassinia – Gregg Gorton for Holger Pflicke

Holger continues to assemble the next issue of Cassinia

Billings – Barb Bassett for Art McMorris

Go Birding. You can find more details about the Billings contest on the website

Banquet – Barb Bassett and Navin Sasikumar for Lauren Diamond

The banquet this year will be on Friday, November 17th. The speaker will be Scott Whittle, founder of Terra and co-author of the Warbler Guide, who will be giving a talk titled, Listening for Life: Saving Birds with Bioacoustics. Tickets are $59 and it will be a buffet-style dinner with a cash bar. You can buy tickets on the website. Annual awards are given out that night. 

Communication – Navin Sasikumar

No report

DEI – Navin Sasikumar

Navin reported that the DEI committee had a meeting in August. It was a productive meeting in which the committee expressed support for the Birding Backpacks program and DVOC’s continued financial contribution towards it. We also discussed improving the diversity of speakers we schedule for our meetings and also expressed a desire to see more informal events. 

Gregg added that he got word from JoAnne Woods who is spearheading the backpacks program that the Free Library Foundation has agreed to do a one-to-one match of DVOC’s grant towards the program. . 


Gregg Gorton reported that the AOS naming committee intends to replace eponymous common names of birds starting with a pilot program in 2024. Bert Filemyr added that we should be cognizant to not use a broad brush and label all people who have birds named after them as racists. 

Barb Bassett announced that the photo contest is coming up on the 21st of December. You have to submit your photos to programs@dvoc.org by December 1st. The judges this year are Linda Widdop, Michael Walter, and Ned Levi. There is a new category this year for the best photo of a Northern Cardinal.  

Barb added that the next regular meeting after the Banquet is on Thursday, December 7th featuring Clay Sutton as the speaker. But we have a special Zoom-only webinar before that on November 28th to introduce members to the PA Bird Atlas which is a statewide survey of birds breeding and overwintering in the state. This will be the third such atlas (titled PBA3 for short) after surveys in the 1980s and early 2000s. PBA3 will start in early 2024 and run to 2029 and will involve thousands of volunteers across PA. We’d like DVOC to get involved in southeastern PA. This atlas will be using eBird primarily for surveys. Tune in and find out more about it. If you are in any other bird clubs, please share the Zoom link. More details can be found in the weekly digest or at this link

Gregg Gorton mentioned that the Frontiers in Ornithology Youth Symposium is happening this Saturday and is open to people ages 14 to 23 along with their mentors. The DVOC is subsidizing four of our youth birders who are going to the symposium. We have two parents who are chaperoning and are also going to represent the DVOC at the symposium. 

Local Notes

Ethan Kang had several immature Golden Eagles migrating over the region including one over his house in Delaware County on October 28th. 

Manny Dominguez said that the Navy Yard has had some nice birds on the river – Surf Scoter, Brant, Hooded Merganser, and Long Tailed Duck. He also added that scaups and Ruddy Ducks have returned. He reported that a Brewer’s Blackbird had been at Dixon Meadow this week.

Barb Bassett reported two Great Horned Owls countersinging tonight for about 30 minutes in Clarksboro, Gloucester County, NJ. She also had two Rough-legged Hawks and three Golden Eagles yesterday at Cape May and one Rough-legged Hawk and two Golden Eagles today. She also added that Say’s Phoebe, Green-tailed Towhee, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Ash-throated Flycatcher have been reported in Cape May County.

Linda Rowan said that they had a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, Golden Eagle, and Lincoln’s Sparrow at the Cape May Hawk Watch today. 

Bonnie and Phil Witmer reported that they’ve had lots of kinglets this fall, both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned.

Bert Filemyr said that Cattle Egrets had been reported at Dixon Meadow earlier in the week. 

Programs: Barb Bassett

See the Banquet section for information on the banquet, which will be our next meeting on Friday, November 17th. The Announcements section has details on our next regular meeting after the banquet on December 7th as well as a special webinar on November 28th to introduce members to the third Pennsylvania Bird Atlas. 

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

Evening Program

Anders Gyllenhall walked us through the highlights of the book, A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds, which he co-wrote with his spouse Beverly Gyllenhall who, unfortunately, couldn’t be present due to an illness. Anders listed some endangered and threatened birds and emphasized that North and South America have to work together to support these birds. He went into detail about some of the conservation efforts that have helped some of the aforementioned birds including reducing avian malaria by introducing sterile mosquitoes in Hawaii and creating artificial structures on military bases to provide habitat for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. 

In addition to these large-scale efforts, he added that the book ends with an afterword that has a list of two dozen things people can do to support birds including planting native plants and applying window treatments on their houses to prevent bird collisions. 

The book is available for purchase from the Simon and Schuster website


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 8:51 pm. A handful of us went to Cherry Street Tavern for post-meeting drinks.