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Minutes of the DVOC
February 17, 2005

Having been cleared by the Office of Homeland Security to re-enter the United States, President Adrian Binns called the meeting to order at 7:30. As literacy was deemed NOT to be an essential job requirement for that of secretary, Jeff Holt filled in for the alleged ailing Paul Guris. 47 members and 3 guests were in attendance. The minutes from February 3 were approved as read.

Committee Reports

Membership: Connie Goldman announced two new applicants for membership, Lydia Reichner and Scott McConnell.

Cassinia, Web Site, Larus, NB4NB, Conservation & Archives: No reports.

Field Trips: Adrian Binns reported on the February 11-13 trip to Ontario. Highlights included ~20 Great Gray Owls, 1 Boreal and Northern Hawk Owl, Varied Thrush, Spruce Grouse, and 2 Boreal Chickadees. Lowlights included traffic from visiting birders that resembled rush hour on the Vine Street Expressway.

Martin Seltzer announced the following field trips:
• 2/26: Southern Delaware starting at Indian River Inlet & working north.
• 3/5: Conowingo Dam & Muddy Run with Leader Tom Reeves

Chris Walters announced the following upcoming programs:
• 3/3: Carolee Caffrey presents “Effects of West Nile Virus on Crows and other Wildlife”
• 3/17: Martin Seltzer & Jane Henderson present “ A Birding Adventure in the Yukon Territory”
• 4/7: Robert McCracken Peck will present “The Father of Australian Ornithology: John Gould and His World”. In addition, at 6:30 that evening, Bob will lead a tour of the Academy’s library holdings which include original materials from historical luminaries as Audubon, Wilson and Catesby.

Colin Campbell announced that his Pokomoke Trip scheduled for May 6-8 will take place, but due to vague reasons involving community service and the legal system, Colin will be “in disposed” through the months of March and April.

Art McMorris announced that he is again working on the Peregrine Falcon breeding bird project and is seeking assistance from members to help in monitor the breeding birds on the bridges over the Delaware River.

Local Notes:
Ron French reported on the Redwing seen for one day only on February 5 at the Peace Valley Nature Center, and on the Northern Lapwing seen on February 15 & 16 in Maryland, near Fredricksburg.
Colin reported on the Gyrfalcon seen on February 15-17 in Delaware, located between Bombay Hook NWR & Little Creek. Guest Dave Magpoing, reported that on February 12 & 13, he observed a Gyrfalcon near Mannington Marsh in Salem County, NJ. He also provided a short video recorded of the falcon on February 13. Consensus was that these sightings represent the same bird.
Nikolas Haass reported the Philadelphia version of “Pale Male” was noted constructing a nest.

Ornithological Studies:
Debra Danila provided a review of this past years Northern Saw-whet Owl banding project run by Scott Weidensaul & the Ned Smith Center. The banding effort ran from October 1 thru Thanksgiving. One of the key purposes of the project is to gain some insight on the migration routes used by Saw-whets. Debra reported that in 2004, a total of 528 birds were captured at three different sites. Included in this number were 35 “foreign” recoveries (Birds banded at other sites).

Martin Wikelski of Princeton University gave a presentation titled “Migration Energetics of Song Birds in the Field”
A number of interesting points were highlighted in his presentation:
* Until recently, very little effort has been directed at tracking song bird migration.
* The Swainson Thrush does not migrate unless temperatures are higher then 20.9 degrees Celsius and/or if wind speeds exceed 10 km/hour.
* Through experimentation, it has been demonstrated that migrating birds use the sunset to orient themselves to magnetic north.
* Migrating birds expend more of energy during overnight stop-overs attempting to regulate their body temperature on cold nights, then during migratory flight.
Professor Wikelski also provided an overview the technology that may be employed in future studies of song bird migration.

Following the Program, Adrian Binns showed photos from his recent Owl trip to Ontario and Nikolas Haass present a brief overview of topics that had been discussed in recent weeks, including groups of Shoveler’s feeding in a circular motion; wing tip variations in Iceland Gull and breast coloration of Cackling and Canada Geese.

Rick Mellon showed a picture of the male Western Spindalis that he found in Indigenous Park, Key West on his recent trip to Florida.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35.

Respectfully submitted,
Jeff Holt, temporary, acting, fill-in, substitute Secretary