State College Bird Club

February 24, 2016

State College Bird Club Meeting, 2/24/16
Meeting location: Foxdale Village. Diane Bierly presided.


•    Minutes of January 27 meeting were read.
•    Treasurer report: Current balance $2,604.59.
•    The checklist reported 92 species, including Greater White-Fronted Goose and the continuing Western Tanager.
•    Alyssia Church announced the next meeting (March 23) speaker would be Dr. Paul Bartell on "Red-Eye Flight."
•    Joe Verica was not present to discuss field trips.
•    Millbrook Marsh will have a “Birds and Bagels” program Saturday, 30 April 2016 at 8:30 AM. Millbrook Marsh will also host Tuesday morning bird walks April 19 through May 10 at 7:30 am.
•    Rohan Kensey is the spring 2016 Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch counter. He worked in Yellowstone National Park previously. Tussey had a record 239 golden eagles in 2015 during the season.


Jesse R. Lasky, Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State, presented “The Effects of the Geometry of Environment on Diversity.”

He found inspiration in the travels of Alexander von Humboldt in South America, where Humboldt observed the greater biodiversity of tropics and mapped elevation gradients.

This talk included highlights from three research projects. One study researched the effect of pastureland on seed dispersal among frugivorous birds in Para, Brazil. He found that trees with large crowns standing in pastures were likely to attract birds from the nearby forest fragments.

A second project was located in dry forest in Panama, the home of highly threatened bird communities. The amount of forest cover and the distance from forest edges did not seem to affect bird distribution, possibly because the forest is already so fragmented that most of the forest specialty birds have already vacated.

The third project revealed that the U.S.-Mexico border fence interferes with animal dispersal, particularly impacting endemic species with small ranges in mountain and coast areas.