State College Bird Club

March 25, 2015

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on March 25, 2015.  Approximately 50 members and guests attended, including one first-time visitor. Diane Bierly presided.


•    The minutes of the February 25 meeting were read.
•    Dorothy Bordner presented the Treasurer’s Report. The checking account balance was given as $1348.34.
•    Ro Fuller said the next meeting would be on April 22nd, and that the program would be by Katie Fallon who will give a program on Saving the Cerulean Warbler.
•    Diane noted that elections will be held at the April club meeting, and that she needed one more person for the nominating committee.
•    Field Trips – Joe Verica said he was hoping to have a Scotia Barrens field trip for Woodcocks as well as one in April for early migrants.
•    Bird Banding sessions at the Arboretum will begin on March 31.
•    Scott Weidensaul will speak on Project Snowstorm at 112 Forest Resources on April 13th.
•    Shaver’s Creek migration walks start April 1 and will continue on Wednesday mornings through mid-May.
•    It was noted that a large housing development is slated to begin on Whitehall Road near the Mormon Church. This will essentially destroy a grassland area that is prime habitat for many sparrows. Efforts to resist this development were encouraged.
•    Greg Grove read the checklist of species seen within 25 miles of Old Main since February 25th. Some species of note were the Trumpeter Swan and Cackling Goose.


The evening’s program was by Nick Bolgiano, who gave a presentation on Distribution Changes for Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, and American Kestrels in Eastern North America.

Nick analyzed raptor data from hawkwatch counts, winter raptor surveys, and breeding bird surveys to try to determine trends in population changes. Year-round populations of Red-tailed Hawks, for example, in the Northeast have shown dramatic increases, while migration counts have been declining.  Rough-legged Hawks appear to have moved their range farther North, probably due to development of farm land, warmer winters, and competition from Redtails. Kestrel migration in Pennsylvania has been generally declining, although numbers have remained relatively stable in states to the west.

For Redtails and Kestrels, in particular, hawkwatch numbers do not seem to tell the whole story. Lower migration counts in Pennsylvania, for example, may be balanced by changes in geographic distribution or migration patterns.

Nick concluded his program with a description of his visit to Vera Cruz, Mexico in the Fall of 2014. He showed stunning photos of the mass migration of raptors there.

Submitted by Ron Crandall, Secretary.