State College Bird Club Meeting
September 23, 2020
Online Zoom Meeting

Presiding:  Doug Wentzel

Recording: Peggy Wagoner Saporito

Attendance: 34

Due to the corona virus pandemic and the need for social distancing, we are again holding our online-only Bird Club meetings using Zoom Technology and will do so for the entire Fall 2020/Spring 2021 session. Thanks to Joe Gyekis for working with our speakers to make this happen. To see this entire meeting (announcements, updates and interesting bird sightings as well as the speaker’s presentation) go here.

Treasurer’s report (Jean Miller): $1537 in checking, $18,069 in savings. Deposited: $275 in dues; Paid out: $105 to secure the website.

Bird Club Field Trips: October 17: 10:00AM-noon, Join Joe Gyekis for birdwatching from Beaver Parking deck as part of Cornell Lab’s Big Day. Number of  participants is limited, face masks and social distancing are required. Contact Joe to preregister.

Additional Activities:
Michelle Smithbauer, Environmental Ed Specialist at Bald Eagle Sate Park, encouraged all interested birders to participate in the Fall Migration Round-Up, a friendly competition between two State Parks; Bald Eagle and Gallitzin. From Sept. 26-Oct. 2, find and log as many different bird species as you can within park boundaries. Whichever park tallies the most species in that week long birding period wins. Anyone can participate, but are limited to submit for one park only. All eBird submissions within park boundaries during that week will be counted as Fall Migration Round-Up submissions and paper checklists for those without eBird are provided at the parks.

The Big Sit, sponsored by New Haven Connecticut Bird Club, will take place on Oct 10-11. To participate go to your favorite birding spot, sit and record your bird sightings on ebird. More information.


Board member update

•    As new VP of Field Trips, Susan Smith has hit the ground running with several outings that have already taken place and another to come this fall. She is open to additional field trip ideas (with social distancing) that anyone may have.
•    A big thanks to Jon Kauffman who, for the past 4 years, was VP of Field Trips and has helped Susan transition into her role. Jon will continue to be a SCBC board committee member “at large”.
•    Greg Grove is stepping away from his role as a SCBC board member, but will still be involved with our bird club. A big thank you to Greg for all he has done for the club during his time on the board.
•    Zoey Greenberg, one of our former official hawk counters, (fall 2019, spring 2020) will be our Membership Chair for one year working remotely while she pursues a Masters degree in Montana. To contact Zoey.

Bob Fowles, our website coordinator recently secured the website in anticipation of adding paypal as a feature on the site to make it easy to pay membership dues. In the meantime, dues can still be paid by mail by sending to Jean Miller. More information and the payment form.

A new SCBC logo featuring a whip-poor-will, drawn by graphic designer, Allissa Pendorf, with input from a board subcommittee of Susan Smith, Jon Kauffman and Nick Bolgiano is being finalized. The new logo is meant to attract more attention to the bird club and can be used in a variety of formats.

The new Centre County coordinator for Pa Bluebird Society, Joanna Taylor, is coordinating existing programs (Soaring Eagle Wetland, Circleville Rd Park and others) plus new ones for Bernel Rd and Oak Hall parks. Joanna is looking for help to install, monitor and purchase materials (boxes, poles, predator guards) at the new locations. Any bird club members interested in assisting can contact Nick Kerlin.

Chyvonne Jessick, president of the Penn State student bird club spoke briefly to encourage SCBC to help with student member recruitment (as much as possible in Covid times) in the PSU club. Also, late last spring, Chyvonne received a research grant to quantify bird collisions into PSU buildings. With the help of Dr. Julian Avery and Joe Gyekis, she has been collecting data during the summer and will continue into the fall to determine which buildings are the worst offenders.

Nick Bolgiano, Jon Kauffman and Greg Grove have worked on updating our bird species paper checklist. Jen Lee volunteered to do layout. Anyone with ideas/information about local printers, please contact Jen.
Interesting Bird Sightings:
As we did last March and April, to streamline online meetings, the Checklist was not read but Greg Grove gave us some highlights of birds that have been seen in the area during August-September. Greg noted there has been an increase in the number of people reporting sightings in ebird, probably due to the fact that more people are staying at home and seeking outdoor activities away from crowds. As a result he had a long list of interesting and unusual sightings for this area, as well as reports of the migrants (warblers, hawks and others) and winter visitors like Red Breasted Nuthatches that appear in our area at this time of year.

Speaker: Don Bryant: Claws and paws: a pictorial tour of the endangered raptors and megafauna of southern Africa

Don, a long time faculty member in the PSU Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has traveled the world extensively to photograph birds of prey and has shared many amazing photos on our listserv. Don participated in two small group tours in South Africa with Raptours, Inc. in January 2012 and January 2019. They visited primarily Kruger National and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parks. Not only was Don able to see and photograph many of the 83 raptor species, but also many other bird and mammal species that inhabit South Africa.  He showed us outstanding photos and discussed many of the species including eagles, buzzards, accipiters and non-accipiter goshawks, kites, falcons and owls as well as the eleven species of Old World Vultures. Vulture populations throughout Africa have sadly declined 60% in the last 20 years due primarily to poisonings, both for use of body parts in traditional medicine and by wildlife poachers trying to evade detection, as well as electrocution, lead poisoning and collisions with wind turbines. Of these 11 species, seven are in danger of extinction in our lifetime.

Don encouraged anyone with the means and interest in seeing all types of wildlife, not just raptors, but the iconic large African mammals, and many species of fascinating birds to participate in “Raptours” with guides who are incredibly knowledgeable about all species and the locations to find them. Anyone who has questions can contact Don.