23 FEBRUARY 2005

            The February meeting of the State College Bird Club was held on February 23. Jim Dunn presided from his walker. 23 members and guests met at the State College Borough Building at 7:15. The minutes of the January meeting were read by Greg Grove and approved by members. Debra Grim took notes on the February meeting in the absence of Deb Grove.  Dorothy Bordner delivered the Treasurer's Report.

             Jim Dunn read the checklist: species of birds which were seen between January 27 and February 23. 80 species of birds were seen.  Noted birds were Redheads at the Pleasant Gap Fish Hatchery, cackling goose at the Duck Pond and fields along route 322, and golden eagles at Tussey Hawkwatch.

            There will be an early April trip to BESP by Bob Snyder and an unscheduled field trip in March to be announced.

Business included several issues:

1) An appeal for BBA participation was made by Greg Grove and literature was handed out.

2) Greg Grove played a recording of a Centre County chuck-will's widow received from Denny Thomson.

3) Dave Kyler distributed questionnaires about bird feed purchases for Juniata College marketing students.

4) Dan Ombalski announced that the Canadian grant for the Hawkwatch was not awarded this year so more donations will be needed. He also asked for volunteers to help on Sundays, Tom Margariam's day off. Tom will begin the Hawkwatch on February 24.

            The speaker for the evening was Jacob Kubel, research associate at Penn State in Forest Resources. He presented observations from his master's thesis research entitled "Breeding Ecology of the Golden-winged Warbler in Central Pennsylvania."

            GWWA are threatened because of habitat loss and hybridization with blue-winged warblers. They require herbaceous ground cover punctuated by woody thickets near a forest edge. They nest throughout the Appalachians and parts of New England but are most abundant in the Great Lakes area. PA, especiallycentral PA, is also an important area for GWWA.

            Kubel set up his study in the Barrens where there is plenty of early successional habitat and few BWWA occur. Having been cleared and repeatedly burned, the Barrens are uniquely suited to the GWWAs because of the power line cuts and maintenance of habitat for game. He had 3 different types of study areas: grouse maintenance habitats with interspersed forest and clearcut; a wider powerline right-of-way; and a narrow powerline ROW. All had two distinct types of cover: aspen with goldenrod and oak with hay-scented fern.

            Kubels data shows that  narrow ROW was apparently too narrow and had few territories. The wide ROW and the grouse management area had about equal numbers of nesting attempts. Breeding success was higher in the  grouse management are than in the wide ROW. Nest predators may be able to move more easily in the wider ROW.

            In both study areas, breeding was higher in the aspen cover. In fact most nests were found in goldenrod, almost always Solidago rugosa. This is probably because they offer better cover than ferns which are not as bushy and are subject to frost. Also,  aspen forms better thickets than oak.

Respectively Submitted by

Deborah Grove