State College Bird Club

November 19, 2014

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on November 19, 2014.  Approximately 35 members and guests attended, including two first time visitors. Diane Bierly presided.

•    The minutes of the October 22nd meeting were read.
•    Dorothy Bordner presented the Treasurer’s Report. She said the balance in the checking account was $557.17.
•    Ro Fuller announced that the next bird club meeting would be on December 11, and the speaker would be Don Bryant, who will give a program on birds and raptors in Spain.
•    Field Trips – Diane mentioned that a field trip led by Alyssia Church was scheduled for November 22nd at Shaver’s Creek.
•    Diane Bierly noted the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts. Some dates for them are State College & Huntingdon on December 14, Lewistown on Dec. 20th, Lock Haven & Raystown on Jan. 3rd, and Bald Eagle on Jan. 4th. Contact the appropriate count coordinator if you wish to participate.
•    Greg Grove noted that this had been a banner year for Golden Eagles at the Stone & Jacks Mountain Hawkwatches. Both are on record setting paces.
•    Greg also read the checklist of species seen within 25 miles of Old Main since October 22nd.

The evening’s presentation was by Lillie Langlois, a Penn State grad student. She presented her research on Marcellus shale gas development and forest bird communities. She noted that Marcellus gas development in Pennsylvania is in its very early stages with only 11,000 well permits issued as of 2012 out of a projected 90,000 wells.

Lillie’s particular interest was the effect of forest fragmentation on neotropical migrant birds in Lycoming County. To quantify the change in fragmentation, she used 2005 land cover data compared to 2012 aerial imagery. She found that pipelines, rather than well pads, were the biggest contributor to forest fragmentation.

As of 2012, Langlois conservatively estimates a 1% loss of core forest on public land, and 2% on private land compared to 2005.  She said that, although this might not sound like much, it was probable the loss would accelerate given the continued explosive growth in drilling permits.

Point bird counts were conducted at 66 sites in Lycoming County to assess changes in specie guilds. Lillie’s results showed a relative loss of forest interior birds as compared to early successional and human-associated birds.  Cowbirds, in particular, had shown large increases, leading to a secondary loss of vulnerable forest birds through predation.

Submitted by Ron Crandall, Secretary.