The State College Bird Club, 1941-2020

State College, Pennsylvania

Purpose and History

Since its inception in 1941, the State College Bird Club has been a fixture in the local community of Pennsylvania's Happy Valley. Today, we are a diverse group dedicated to the appreciation of wild birds in central Pennsylvania. The Bird Club attracts members from many facets of our community: We are academics, school children, retirees, college students, laborers, and others, all bound by the common thread of our love for wild birds and the natural world. In a town where the local community often lives in the shadow of a major university, the State College Bird Club is a shining example of an organization that enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Penn State.

The State College Bird Club is responsible for collecting and cataloging important information on bird populations in central Pennsylvania. In addition to year round record-keeping for PA BIRDS Magazine, Bird Club members participate in the the Christmas Bird Count, Breeding Bird Survey, PA Migration Count, the Pennsylvania Special Areas Project, Cornell's various citizen science initiatives and other projects. Bird Club members were also instrumental in the development of the 1st and 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlases, and Merrill Woods' seminal 1952 publication, Birds of the State College Region, Pennsylvania, which was the motivation and basis for the 2010 publication, Birds of Central Pennsylvania by Nick Bolgiano and Greg Grove with additional contributors.

Developing Bird Club efforts to promote birds and conservation include a Bird Club website and Facebook presence. We currently maintain an email listserv to rapidly disseminate information on rare birds and other important local findings. Bird Club members make presentations to schools and other local citizen's groups, publish articles in local newspapers and state and national periodicals, and have made birds topics on a local talk radio program and TV. The Bird Club also maintains a presence on issues of local, state, and national conservation concern.

The Bird Club holds monthly meetings and field trips from September through May (all open to the public). Eight meetings per year feature presentations with topics that run the gamut from Ph.D.- level original research to travelogues of birding vacations. The dedication of Bird Club members to spend time in the field and report their findings have established the Centre Region as one of the premiere locations in the Eastern U.S. to observe both the spring and fall migrations of Golden Eagles.

For 72 years, the State College Bird Club has provided a forum in which people can gather as a community to learn more about birds and about their own place in the natural world. Our vision for the future includes an expanded role in conservation-related projects, without losing sight of the reason we all got together in the first place; our never-ending fascination with the birds around us.

Nick Kerlin, 2012, former President, The State College Bird Club (revision of the original 1998 article by Tim O'Connell, Former President)

Current Officers as of May 2019

Office       Name       Term

President: Doug Wentzel  2019-2021

VP for Field Trips: Susan Smith  2020-2022 (new term begins 9/2020)

VP for Programs: Joe Gyekis  2019-2021

Treasurer: Jean Miller  2020-2022

Secretary: Peggy Wagoner Saporito   2019-2021

Board Member at Large:       

Nick Bolgiano 2019-2021

Susan Braun   2019-2021

Bob Fowles    2020-2022

Jon Kaufmann    2020-2022 (new term begins 9/2020)