State College Bird Club

September 25, 2013

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on September 25, 2013.  Forty-seven members and guests attended, including three first-time visitors. Diane Bierly presided.

•    The minutes of the April 24th meeting were read.
•    Dorothy Bordner presented the Treasurer’s Report.
•    Diane Bierly noted that members’ annual club dues are due and can be paid to our membership chairperson, Megan Orient.
•    Ro Fuller announced that the next club meeting would be on October 23, and the program would be “Chasing Birds and Heroes -- around the Globe” by Peter Hudson.
•    Diane asked for a volunteer from the general membership to help audit the club’s books.
•    Greg Grove described plans for multiple industrial wind turbine projects proposed along the top of Jacks and Stone Mountain, and the threat they pose to the landscape and wildlife including two long-running hawkwatches. Jacks Mountain, in particular, is an urgent situation because it is mostly on private land, and leases have already been signed. He urged concerned club members to join The Friends of Jacks Mountain and an organization called SOAR, which are both working to get township ordinances passed that will minimize the harm to wildlife and residents.
•    Greg Grove read the checklist of species seen within 25 miles of Old Main since August 25.

•    Field Trips – Joe Verica reported that there would a field trip to Scotia Barrens on September 29 and one to Jo Hays Vista for hawkwatching in early October.  Also, Bob Snyder is planning to lead a field trip to BESP in November. Details will be forthcoming on the listserv.
•    Plans for Big Sit events at BESP and Shaver’s Creek in mid-October were noted.

The evening’s presentation was by Alex Lamoreaux, who gave a talk and presented photos on Finding and ID-ing the Sparrows of Central PA. He noted that there are 17 common sparrows in Central Pennsylvania, and gave a strategy to ID them. He said it was best to group the birds into sparrow families by observing their size, shape, behavior, and probability of occurrence. He further noted  that behavior in particular was often overlooked by birders, but could provide very useful ID clues. He suggested spending a good deal of time observing common sparrows to learn the habits of each species.  Color alone is not a reliable indicator and should be used only in combination with the other characteristics. Alex said the observer should use a process of elimination by learning and concentrating on a few key field marks to eliminate the most common species in each family.

Submitted by Ron Crandall, Secretary.