State College Bird Club Meeting
January 22, 2020
Foxdale Village

Presiding: Doug Wentzel

Recording: Peggy Wagoner Saporito
Attendance: 32

Checklist, Dec 12, 2019-Jan 22, 2020:   Species Total: 85
(Birds seen by members of the audience within a 25-mile radius since the last meeting).

Treasurer report (Jean Miller): Deposited: $90; Paid out:  $50. This month an audit by SCBC members, Karen Kottlowski, Julia Plummer and Susan Smith concluded that the financial records are in order.

Upcoming Field Trip: Owl Prowl (7:00-9pm)

Diane Bierly will lead an owling field trip on Wednesday, January 29. This will be a listening activity, which requires standing around in the cold for up to 25 minutes at a time. Binoculars are not necessary but you might want to bring a flashlight. Meet at the Boalsburg Military Museum parking lot along South Atherton Street at 7:00 pm and then carpool to various habitats in hopes to hear Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl. (If there are strong winds, making listening difficult, the trip will be postponed)

Old Business

Architects and engineers have begun research on incorporating bird safe glass options for the design of the New Art Museum to be constructed at the Arboretum at Penn State.

New Business/Announcements:

February 25: the Spring Hawk Watch on Tussey Mountain will begin. Zoe Greenburg, a veteran hawk watcher from this past fall season, will be our official counter.

Tuesday April 14: Chris Parish, Director of Global Conservation at the Peregrine Fund is our 2020 Avian Ed Speaker. He will give a presentation at 5:00pm in the PSU Forest Resources Building room 112 about the California Condor recovery program as well as alternatives to lead shot.

Michele Richards, Director, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, partnering with ClearWater Conservancy is looking for individuals interested in participating in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program (similar to Master Gardener program). A series of workshops will be held this fall. Place, date and time are still being worked out.

May 27: Save the date for the last meeting of our 2019-20 session; the potluck picnic at Shaver’s Creek featuring member’s photos. More details to come.

Speakers: Paul Paradine and Kraig Senter, “Ospreys and Overheads – Working Together to Build and Rebuild”

Paul and Kraig, both employed by for New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), gave us a fascinating presentation, full of interesting antidotes, about their successful efforts to establish and maintain Osprey nest platforms on top of utility poles in the Finger Lakes region of New York, particularly around Lake Cayuga.

In the mid 1970’s ospreys were endangered and by the 1990’s only 1 osprey nest was found in the Finger Lakes region. Now thanks to the efforts of Paul, Kraig, their colleagues (and with support of Iberdrola, the corporation for which they work) there are 125 active nests primarily around Lake Cayuga. All of these nests are on built structures such as utility or light poles, cell and steel towers.

Paul and Kraig described the design of nest platforms as well as efforts to make them safe for the birds and workers who install and maintain the platforms. Successful nests are used by the same pair year after year; one nest platform has been active for 25 years. With a life span of 10-25 years and new sticks being added to the nest each year by the ospreys, nests can weigh up to 400 pounds and reach 10-15 feet tall! To prevent damage to utility poles, lines and transformers from huge heavy nests, utility workers are able to do nest platform maintenance from October- March after the breeding season and once the ospreys have migrated south.

With the success of nest platforms to increase osprey populations and with the support of his employer, Paul is working to expand the geographic range of this project to other regions in New York state and to develop standardized installation, maintenance and nest data collection activities. This project is so successful that it now appears that osprey pairs look for utility poles with nest platforms to find nesting sites. The next step is to encourage ospreys to nest in natural sites such as large trees, by initially providing nesting platforms in suitable trees. More information on osprey/bald eagle interactions and population equilibrium is another area of interest.

As senior vegetation manager for NYSEG, Paul continues to look for opportunities to partner with other groups and organizations to provide wildlife with benefits by using the land and infrastructure managed by the utility company. In appropriate habitats, bat, kestrel and owl boxes have been attached to utility poles and chimney swift towers are being built adjacent to small transfer station structures. Land managed by the utility has been planted with low maintenance native vegetation that benefits the utility company as well as wildlife. Paul likes to say we should all think “outside the box” and look for opportunities to benefit wildlife in all sorts of situations.