State College Bird Club
April 26, 2017
State College Bird Club Meeting, April 26, 2017
Presiding: Diane Bierly
Recording: Debra Grim, who forgot to bring the minutes from March to read.
Checklist: 178 species reported, including Western Tanager, Marsh Wren, White-winged Scoter.
Treasurer report (Jean Miller): no activity this month
Field trips: Jon Kauffman not present. Sunday, April 30 will be a
leisurely 4-mile float from the Petersburg Fire Station to the Hydro
Dam and back.
Laura Jackson has bird-friendly coffee for sale, grown by Honduran coffee farmer Emilio Garcia.
Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch update (Nick Bolgiano). Total of 188 Golden
Eagles with only a few days left. The peak is usually around March 10,
but this spring March 20 was the peak.
Spring banding season at the Arboretum ends May 10.
Migration morning walks at Shaver’s Creek end May 10.
The Shaver’s Creek Birding Cup is May 5-6.
The Arboretum at Penn State Thursday morning bird walks continue
through May 11—note that the final walk will be at Scotia Barrens.
Greg Grove extolled the benefits of membership in the Pennsylvania
Society for Ornithology, which include 4 journals and 4 newsletters
each year, plus field trips, a listserv service, and the annual
meeting, which will take place in Carlisle this fall.
Deb Grove reminded us that Clearwater Conservancy sells bird-friendly
coffee. Clearwater is fundraising for the Slab Cabin initiative. Myer
Dairy and Everhart Farm (with the right-of-way to Musser Gap) are part
of this watershed.
Election of officers: Thank you to Jim Curtis, Roana Fuller, and Greg
Grove for serving on the nominating committee. Diane Bierly, Alyssia
Church, and Deb Grove are stepping down.
New slate of officers:
President: Doug Wentzel.
Vice President for Programs: Joe Gyekis
Vice President for Field Trips: Jon Kauffman
Secretary: Debra Grim
Treasurer: Jean Miller
Board Members at Large: Nick Bolgiano, Susan Braun, Greg Grove, Bob Fowles
Next meeting: Picnic, May 24 at Millbrook Marsh.
April Speaker: Mark Bonta, I am that bird: reflections on ethno-ornithology and the sciences
Mark Bonta teaches geography and philosophy at Penn State Altoona. He
was raised in a hollow outside Tyrone and has been watching and
hand-feeding birds since the age of two. His degrees, all in geography,
are from Penn State, University of Texas, and Louisiana State
University. Mark has been a life-long Audubon member and is currently
vice-president of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society. He has birded
intensively in Honduras, starting with his Peace Corps service there in
1991, and he has birded lightly in several other countries. He has
followed his book, Seven Names for the Bellbird: Conservation Geography
in Honduras with several other philosophical and research-based
articles and books on birds from an ethno-ornithological standpoint. In
addition to his Australia work that he will talk about tonight, he is
involved in ethnobotanical research on cycads in Mesoamerica, and
spends as much time as possible in Mexico.
Mark mused on the ways science and human communities perceive birds.
Humans have evolved unique and ancient relationships with birds. For
example, Masai whistle to summon Honeyguides, who respond with a
special call before leading them to a honey source.
He is particularly interested in Australian Aboriginal traditions about
raptors who intentionally spread fire. According to hearsay, the birds
will pick up burning twigs and drop them in new areas to spread the
fire, presumably to flush prey. There has been little to no scientific
documentation of this behavior. The Aboriginal ceremonies and protected
knowledge about these occurrences makes it a delicate matter to study
the phenomenon. Fires are part of the landscape in Australia that
Aborigines have incorporated into an elaborate, secret spiritual
practice. Researchers have to request permission to investigate.
Perhaps they must also learn how to “be the bird."
Minutes by Debra Grim