The State College Bird Club, Inc.

The State College Bird Club met on Wednesday September 25 at 7 p.m. at the State College Borough Building for the first meeting of the year.  Thirty members and guests attended; President Greg Grove presided.  The minutes of the May 26 meeting were read by Gene Zielinski and approved by the group. Dorothy Bordner delivered the Treasurer’s Report which is given below. Dorothy also read the checklist: 159 bird species were reported. Notable sightings were several Stilt Sandpipers at the PSU retention pond, Sanderling at Bald Eagle State Park, and Gray-cheeked Thrush, Orange-crowned, Connecticut and Mourning warblers at the Barrens.  The checklist covered September 1 through September 25.

Greg Grove had some announcements and recognized Gene Zielinski as Secretary for 15 years. Gene is stepping aside for a while from some of the major secretarial duties. Others in the club have been encouraged to volunteer to write up minutes for a meeting.

Bob Fowles and Don Bryant commented on counts at the Jack’s Mountain Hawkwatch. A total of 6800 Broadwings were sighted over September 16-18.

A trip to the Stone Mountain Hawkwatch will be on October 12 and is coordinated by Molly Heath and Don Bryant.

The presentation was entitled “Effects of local and landscape features on avian use and productivity in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) fields”.  Kevin Wentworth, a graduate student in the Penn State Forest Resources Department, presented his data gathered over two years. Kevin is a native of North Carolina and received a biology degree at Appalachian State and an MS at Eastern Illinois where his focus was on the dickcissel.

The CREP program was set up to protect soil as well as stream banks by setting aside fields for 10 to 15 years and planting them in a permanent cover, usually a cool-season grass. This program was established by the USDA and the PA Game Commission and is managed by the PA Game Commission.  About 20 counties in Southeast PA have farms enrolled in this program. 

Wildlife have also benefited from this program. Grassland birds are the largest declining group of birds in the US dues to habitat loss. Significant decreases have been seen in the grasshopper sparrow and red-winged blackbird, in particular., Therefore, studies have been undertaken to see if birds benefit from the CREP program. Kevin studied both CREP and non-CREP fields in Montour, Snyder and Union counties and gathered data on abundance and  density of species and he also monitored nesting success.

Predominant species included Red-winged (always the highest), field sparrow, song sparrow, eastern meadowlark, grackle, and indigo bunting. Species noted occasionally were  mallard, turkey, yellow warbler, savannah sparrow, vesper sparrow, goldfinch, bobwhite, dickcissel, robin and pheasant.  He found a 27% nesting success rate with only 7 nests parasitized by brownheaded cowbirds. Skunks and snakes were probably the greatest predators.

Respectfully submitted.

Deborah S. Grove

October 23, 2002