State College Bird Club

November 14, 2012

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on November 14, 2012.  Forty-one members and guests attended, including one first-time visitor. Nick Kerlin presided.


•    The minutes of the October 24 meeting were read.
•    Dorothy Bordner presented the Treasurer’s Report.
•    Greg Grove read the checklist of species seen within 25 miles of Old Main since October 24. Because of Hurricane Sandy, many atypical species were noted.  Two Pomarine Jaegers were reported, as well as large numbers of Surf & Black Scoters, Brants, Northern Pintails, Greater Yellowlegs, and Dunlins. It was also reported that Huntingdon County had 8 first-county records, including a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel at Raystown Lake. An injured Herald Petrel, which eventually died, was also found in Hollidaysburg. Other interesting (non-hurricane) birds reported were Evening Grosbeaks and Red Crossbills.
•    Nick Kerlin reported on the board meeting that had occurred earlier in the week.  The board was looking into the purchase of a full-featured projector to enhance meeting presentations. The board also decided that the Bird Club would effectively become a member of the Clearwater Conservancy by making an annual contribution.


•    Field Trips – Joe Verica reported that that he was hoping to have a “Manure Chase” field trip in December.
•    Megan Orient announced that the club had 30 paid members so far for this year.
•    Nick announced that the group, Wildlife for Everyone, was planning to build a blind at the Tom Ridge & Julian Wetlands. Club members were encouraged to contribute comments on the location, type, and size of the blind.

Upcoming events

•    Christmas Bird Counts – Lewistown, 12/15; Huntington, 12/16; State College, 12/18; BESP 1/1/2013.
•    December 12 – State College Bird Club meeting: Dr. Kelli Hoover who will give a program entitled “Saving hemlocks from the hemlock wooly adelgid, a foundation forest tree species.”


The evening’s presentation was by Dan Brauning of the Pennsylvania Game Commission who described the release of the 2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas. Dan was the project director of the 2nd Atlas, and worked with Andy Wilson of Gettysburg College and Robert Mulvihill of the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. The book is now available for approximately $52 plus shipping from the Penn State Press.

The Atlas documents the current distribution and change in status of nearly 200 bird species. The contents of the 2nd Atlas were assembled from surveys of birds in 4,937 blocks completed by more than 2000 birders between 2004-09.  Additionally, a survey group carried out bird counts at more than 34,000 locations statewide.  

The results indicated that several birds are in a long-term decline; among them, Kestrels, Summer Tanagers, Nighthawks, Blue-wing Teal, Bobwhite, and Quail. New or increasing long-term breeding birds include Merlins, Trumpeter Swans, Eurasian Collared-doves, and Great Black-backed Gulls.  Declines in both available farm land and grasslands seems to have spurred population changes.  Wetland birds in general have also declined, even though wetland acreage has remained stable. This indicates that new or changed wetlands are now less effective.

Submitted by Ron Crandall, Secretary.