16 November 2005

            The November meeting of the State College Bird Club was held on November 16. President Jim Dunn presided and 17 members and guests met at the State College Borough Building at 7:15. The minutes of the October meeting were read by Deb Grove and approved by members. Dorothy Bordner delivered the Treasurer's Report.

            Dorothy Bordner read the checklist:  species of birds  were seen between November 2 and November 16. A bird of note was a red-throated loon at BESP.

            Sarah Pabian, a  master's candidate in the lab of Margaret Brittingham, presented a program on The Effect of Acid Deposition on Forest Birds. Her study centered on the Ovenbird in the Quehanna Wild Area in Clinton county. The Centre region of PA has the most acidic rain as well as the lowest soil pH. The effect of this low pH is  a reduction of  Ca2+ in the soil leading to fewer snails and insects as a food source,  an increase the mobility of Al and other heavy metals and a change the vegetation structure. A decrease in available Ca2+ leads to thinner eggshells, reduced hatching success and smaller clutch sizes. Another effect of reduced Ca2+ is to change the vegetation structure by causing the death of sugar maples and a lack of oak regeneration but an invasion of hay-scented fern.

            Sarah's 3 year study used the ovenbird as a model and the parameters examined were abundance, territory size, reproduction and relationship with soils. Lime was applied to certain areas to change the pH. Soil Ca2+ levels were shown to increase after liming. Total bird abundance increased significantly by 1 bird per point count after liming. However, there was no change in the studied parameters on the ovenbird . In fact the ovenbird selected acidic sites for nests.  Because of the change of abundance an increase in pH may have been caused an effect on birds such as EAWP, REBI, and SCTA and one of these might have been a better choice.

Respectively Submitted by

Deborah Grove