State College Bird Club

24 February 2010

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on 24 Feb. 2010.  Twenty-six members and guests attended; Deb Grove presided.

•    Deb Grove, on behalf of the State College Bird Club, presented a copy of Scott Weidensaul’s “Living on the Wind” to Barbara Koutz, the Foxdale librarian.
•    Margie Bastachek, a longtime member, passed away last week.
•    Nan Butkovich read the minutes.
•    Dorothy Bordner presented the Treasurer’s report.
•    She also read the checklist.  XXX species were reported since 28 Jan. within a 25-mile radius of Old Main.  Species of note included Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit, Swamp Sparrow, Snow Bunting, and Rusty Blackbird.

•    The owling field trip to Bald Eagle State Park had good attendance.  Two owl species (Great Horned Owl and Eastern Screech-owl) were noted.
•    The Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch will be staffed through March 31.  There is a Raptorthon underway to raise funds for it.

Upcoming events
•    24 March: the Jacksons and the Kylers will present a program on birding in southeast Arizona.

Jason Hill gave a presentation on “Moving beyond correlation: testing the role of habitat quality as a limiting factor in avian populations.”  There are several limiting factors on population, such as density, predation, and habitat.  Grassland species are declining precipitously due to habitat loss.  In Pennsylvania grasslands tend to be reclaimed strip mines, which are generally poor habitat. 

He is starting the second year of a three year study.  He has established baseline densities, predation levels, interspecies competition, and habitat factors.  The study area has several research plots, each of which contain good, average, and bad habitat.  Now that the baseline factors have been identified, the Game Commission has cleared half of the plots of all shrubs.  Study results will then be compared with the baseline data.

Minutes taken by Nan Butkovich, Secretary