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Minutes of the DVOC
October 3, 2013

Vice President Phil Witmer called the meeting to order at 7:34PM. Twenty-two members and four guests were in attendance.

The minutes of the 19 September 2013 meeting were approved as submitted.

Vice President Phil Witmer welcomed guests and members.


Membership Committee:

Chairperson Bonnie Witmer announced that council had approved the applications for membership that had been submitted by “Alvin” Wun Fung Hui and Ian Lynch.

Conservation Committee:

Chairperson Phil Witmer read from a letter sent to DVOC from the Willistown Conservation Trust thanking the DVOC for funding projects with World Series of Birding Conservation Grants.

Phil announced that there was a job opening posted for Executive Director of the Trumpeter Swan Society.

Phil announced that the California ban on lead ammunition had passed the state legislature and had been sent to the governor for his signature.

Phil announced that the American Bird Conservancy had made “You Can Save Birds From Flying Into Windows” flyers available for the cost of postage for any individuals or organizations interested in distributing the flyers.


Editor Dave Long requested that members please send in articles for the next issue of Cassinia Issue 74/75 which will cover the years of 2010-2013. Dave asked members who knew recently deceased DVOC members to consider writing obituaries for the next issue of Cassinia.

Field Trip Committee:

Chairperson Win Shafer conducted the field trip reports:
Trip Reports:
15 SEP 2013 – Fort Washington State Park. Leader was Jane Henderson; this was a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society.

18 SEP 2013 – Manayunk (Chestnut Hill) Chimney Swift Roost. Leader was Jane Henderson; this was a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society.

Trip Announcements:

6 OCT 2013 – Warren Grove Gunnery Range in the NJ Pine Barrens. Leader is Dave Long with Professor Walter F. Bien of Drexel University, who coordinates various biological research projects at the site. This field trip will allow access to an area normally off limits for civilians. Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled due to the shutdown of the federal government.

2 NOV 2013 – Saw-whet Owl Banding at Hidden Valley, PA. Leader is Debbie Beer. The DVOC continues it's longtime tradition of visiting Scott Weidensaul’s Saw-whet Owl Banding Station during the peak of Saw-whet migration. This popular field trip provides an opportunity to observe and learn from the experts on banding Saw-whet Owls. Meet at the banding station at 6:30 PM, located along the Kittatinny Ridge on Second Mountain in Schuylkill County - approximately 2 hours from Philadelphia. Dress warmly. Expect to be out till 11PM. This trip is limited to 15 participants - registration required. Contact Debbie Beer at debbeer(at) or 610-955-4098. Provide name(s) in your party and cell phone number. First come, first served. There is often a waiting list; please make sure you attend if you register.

Win noted that the Saw-whet Owl field trip often fills up quickly and develops a waiting list. Win suggested that an alternate destination for those seeking to experience Saw-whet Owl banding would be Rushton Farm at Newtown Square. Win also noted that reports from northern banding stations indicate that Saw-whet Owl migration is weak this year.

Ornithological Moments Committee:

Chairperson Rob Bierregaard reported that this evening’s Ornithological Moment would feature highlights from his Osprey research. Immediately afterwards, Rob launched into the Ornithological Moment itself presenting various developments observed in the course of his Osprey research and the tracking of birds using satellite tags and cell tower relay tags. Some Ospreys are already in South America, while a few young birds have gone north: one to Martha’s Vineyard and another to Cape Cod. Some Osprey mortality was noted to have occurred over the Caribbean and at the talons of predators in woodlots, likely Great Horned Owls.

Vice President Phil Witmer noted that Rob is seeking members willing to present very short programs for Ornithological Moments.


Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.

OCT 17: Pete Bacinski will present “Bosque del Apache in the Land of Birding Enchantment.”

NOV 7: Doug Tallamy will “Plant a Better Bird Feeder.”

NOV 21: The Annual DVOC Banquet featuring speaker William Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest.

Banquet Committee:

Chairperson Barbara Granger reported that twelve individuals had already made reservations for the banquet. Bonnie Witmer is organizing a slideshow of DVOC members to be played during the cocktail hour before dinner. Please submit photos of DVOC members to Bonnie Witmer for inclusion in the slideshow. Bonnie requests that the photos should be submitted as JPG files with preferred resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Bonnie can adjust the files accordingly if members prefer to simply send any photos that they have.


Mick Jeitner announced that a DVOC member in Malvern needs a ride to attend the DVOC Banquet, and asked for help providing transportation for that member. Barbara Granger suggested that Mick send her an email about the situation. Linda Rowan suggested that DVOC might consider posting an announcement for senior members seeking alternate means of transportation to attend the banquet.

Rob Bierregaard announced that he would be presenting a talk for Valley Forge Audubon at Mill Grove on 5 October 2013.

Mike O’Brien announced that he would again be offering bluebird boxes for sale.

Phil Witmer announced that he would be leading a bird walk on Saturday morning at the Bucks County Audubon Society.

Linda Rowan announced that Operation Migration was using ultralights to lead captive Whooping Cranes in migration as an attempt to develop a second migratory flock of Whooping Cranes. More on this project can be found online:

Phil Witmer announced that City Garden Chinese Restaurant (the normal pre-meeting dinner location for DVOC) has gone out of business. This evening the DVOC went to dinner at Asia on the Parkway instead. The restaurant serves Thai and Chinese cuisine. Members had a positive dining experience at the restaurant and will be attending that restaurant for dinner before next meeting.

Local Notes:

Win Shafer announced that Doris McGovern had reported a Western Kingbird at Rushton Farm.

Todd Alleger noted that the banding operation at Rushton Farm had recently banded Connecticut Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Gray-cheeked Thrush.

Mike O’Brien reported that a Peregrine Falcon flew over the Schuylkill Expressway.

Marty Dellwo reported that Adrian Binns had photographed a juvenile Common Gallinule at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum. Marty also reported on a variety of Philadelphia birds including Black-billed Cuckoo, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Mourning Warbler and Connecticut Warbler at Southampton Blvd.

Al Driscoll reported that Ward Dasey reported his first Dark-eyed Junco of the season, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Connecticut Warbler and many Blackpoll Warblers.

Phil Witmer reported finding a Bay-breasted Warbler last week.

Erica Brendel reported that Carpenter’s Woods had a Winter Wren and 16 species of warblers including Connecticut Warbler.

Ornithological Moment:

Rob Bierregaard presented some highlights from his Osprey research earlier in the meeting.

Main Program:

Vice President Phil Witmer introduced the evening’s speaker, Dr. Greg Shriver, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Shriver presented “The Conservation of Tidal Marsh Birds: Guiding Action at the Intersection of our Changing Land and Seascapes.” This well-organized and well-presented talk presented a wealth of information about our endemic tidal marsh species that depend on the unique saltmarshes of the North American East Coast. Like the Polar Bear, our obligate tidal marsh species are facing extinction due to climate change and the associated loss of habitat that will occur with rising sea levels. While the talk focused on Saltmarsh Sparrows and Nelson’s Sparrows, our other endemic obligate tidal marsh species all face similar challenges in the face of climate change. Climate change threatens the continued existence of Black Rail, Clapper Rail, Eastern Willet, American Black Duck, Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow and Nelson’s Sparrow. The talk ended at 9:03PM, but Greg entertained questions long afterwards.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:30PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary