Doris McGovern

Positions and Achievements

Council: 2006, 2005, 2004

Devoc: 2022

Fellow of the DVOC

Life Member

I started watching birds at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum where I’ve led walks since the early 80’s. Over time my birding interests developed in ways I never expected. About the time I started a Bluebird nest box trail, I trained to be a volunteer at Tri-state Bird Rescue. That gave me my first hands-on experience with husbandry, triage, and oil spill recovery. After that I was hired as an intern by the Institute for Bird Populations in Pt Reyes, CA and began bander training at Patuxent, MD. During two breeding seasons I ran six MAPS (Monitoring Avian Production and Survivorship) stations in coastal Virginia and then in N. Carolina in the Great Swamp.
This year, 2004, is my 8th year operating a MAPS site near Longwood Gardens. I’ve continued passerine banding at Island Beach State Park, NJ for the Atlantic Flyways Project and at many other places, including the Purple Martin colonies of Lancaster and Berks Co. Amish and Mennonites. After being introduced to a signature voice recognition protocol used to identify individual birds from sonograms, a five year project with Don Jones began that combined banding and recording. We found that individual Prothonotary Warbler males could be identified as individuals from sonograms of the voices 93% of the individuals.
Compiling quarterly sighting and abundance records for Philadelphia and Delaware Counties for Pennsylvania Birds, the journal of the PSO, seems to be, and is, mostly secretarial work, but it makes me aware and critical of species IDs, locations, arrival and departure dates and abundance considerations. Finally, as Regional Coordinator for the 2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas, covering parts of five counties, my exposure to birds and great birders is expanding again. I never dreamed that birding would become such a multi-faceted addition to my life, in addition to the thrill of bird watching that keeps me coming back for more.