State College Bird Club

25 March 2009

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on 25 Mar. 2009.  Fifty-two members and guests attended; Deb Grim presided.


Nan Butkovich read the minutes.  Dorothy Bordner read the treasurer's report and checklist.  Attendees reported 99 species within a 25-mile radius of Old Main since 26 Feb. 2009.  Species of note included Canvasback, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Tree Swallow, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin, and Common Redpoll.


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Pat Shipman’s presentation, “Taking Wing: The Evolution of Bird Flight”, began with the definition of a bird.  They have feathers, most can fly and have special structural capabilities that facilitate flight, they lay eggs and have beaks (although some non-avian species do as well).  So all birds have feathers, but does the presence of feathers indicate that the animal is a bird? 

What about dinosaurs and pterosaurs?  Fossil evidence shows that some dinosaurs and pterosaurs also developed feathers, although most of them lacked the skeletal structures needed for flight.  Some of the species discussed included the famous Archaeopteryx lithographica, which was first discovered in 1860 in Germany.   Beginning in 1996 a series of discoveries in China has shown that other dinosauran and pterosauran species also developed feathers or protofeathers.  Until this year all dinosaurs with identifiable feathers were theropods; however, a newly discovered herbivorous dinosaur also appears to have proto-feathers. 

Minutes taken by Nan Butkovich, Secretary