Next 3RBC Membership Meeting

Kathy Miller & Linda Arthur
Kathy Miller (r) with Linda Arthur (l)
in Papua New Guinea

We'll Enjoy Papua New Guinea's
Exotic Birds on June 6

Papua New Guinea soared to the top of Kathy Miller's birding bucket list when she learned that nearly 800 species of birds have been recorded there, including more than 30 species of Bird-of-Paradise. She spent August 2017 in Papua New Guinea together with her sister and frequent birding companion, Linda Arthur. Sixteen different Birds-of-Paradise were among the 247 species of avifauna they recorded during their visit. Kathy will share her experiences in PNG at our June 6 meeting.
Kathy has been an avid birder for 40 years. A native of Richmond, Virginia, she and her sister first began observing birds in the 1970's on their frequent trips to the Outer Banks. An internship and subsequent job in Galveston, Texas exposed Kathy to the rich diversity of birds along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and ignited the interest in birds that still burns in her today.
Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise Traveling with either her sister or her husband, Tom Brown, Kathy has birded on every continent but Antarctica, and in much of the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. Recently retired, Kathy and Tom now often visit parks and refuges in their motorhome, Archie the RV, while also seeing as much of the rest of the world as they can. They always return home to the North Hills of Pittsburgh for the spring warbler migration and the sweet days of summer.
The meeting will be held at the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Avenue in Shadyside. Doors open at 6:30 PM for socializing, a business meeting begins at 7:30; the program starts at 8:00.

[Raggianna Bird-of-Paradise]

Future Programs:

  • August 1, 2018 —: Phil Chaon of Tropical Birding will present "Mealworms and Megas: Photography and the Changing Face of Birding in South East Asia"
  • October 3, 2018 — Bill Beatty will present "Rainbows, Bluebirds and Buffleheads"
  • December 5, 2018 — Annual "Slide Slam" of members' best photos - always a treat to see!

What's New? (4/21/2018)

   The March/April 2018 issue of The Peregrine is now available. Also, see additional photos of Tom Moeller's 'Observations' column on Cavity Nesting Birds (PDF).

   As we announced at our April 4 meeting, our members may choose NOT to receive a paper copy of our newsletter The Peregrine, in order to reduce clutter, save trees, or protect the environment. If you only want to view our newsletter online, please email Tom Moeller at and ask him to put you on the "online only" list to NO LONGER receive paper copies of The Peregrine.
Our membership rates remain the same with this change. It is your preference whether or not to receive the paper copy of the newsletter.

   Please read the Membership Meeting Minutes from April 4, 2018, when Tom Stephenson, co-author of The Warbler Guide, was the featured speaker.

   Bird Outings for April, May, and June 2018 have been posted on our Outings page.

   2017 was a very busy year for the Three Rivers Birding Club! Mike Fialkovich has compiled a summary of the club's 2017 activities and has also compiled the 2017 Birds Reported in Allegheny County summary.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

(Peregrine editor Paul Hess received this message from “The Birding Community E-Bulletin” on a topic of interest to 3RBC members who visit the Rio Grande Valley. This monthly newsletter has much of interest to birders. Check it out and register free at

Birders, refuge friends, and conservationists of all stripes have been watching developments at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge for almost a year, concerned that plans for construction of a huge border wall would be accelerated, possibly isolating or destroying valuable habitat in the Refuge System in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. We summarized much of the dire concern in the February issue:
Last month, when the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, it contained a particular short sentence in reference to The Wall: "None of the funds provided in this or any other Act shall be obligated for construction of a border barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge."
Thus, the long, contentious, and unexpected struggle over The Wall at bird-rich Santa Ana seems to have come to a close. The spending bill includes $1.6 billion for border barriers and technology, with restrictions on the kind of construction that can be done to only existing fencing, but Santa Ana NWR is essentially exempt. "The bill is very explicit in keeping any new border walls from going up in Santa Ana," said Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club Borderlands. "I think we were successful in making walling off Santa Ana politically toxic."
Originally, the Santa Ana border wall was looking like a pilot project for other sections of the wall, if only because the land was federally owned and a place where a wall might be easily built. In addition, the Administration had issued bidding guidelines that drew on elements of eight prototypes that were each about 30 feet (9.1 meters) high, much higher than existing barriers.
But the reprieve may be temporary. "This bill stated that there wasn't going to be any funding allotted for this year, but that doesn't mean that, that may not happen next year," said RGV No Border Wall organizer Melinda Melo.
Moreover, the threat still looms for other Lower Rio Grande Valley locations like the National Butterfly Center, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, La Lomita chapel, and home-and-farm properties owned by individuals along the Rio Grande.
The border wall battles over habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley will surely continue.
(Photo: Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flying at Santa Ana NWR)

   Our Donations Make A Difference!
Three Rivers Birding Club donated $250 each to two organizations early this year – Wildbird Recovery in Valencia, PA and the Purple Martin Preservation Alliance in Natrona Heights, PA. Both organizations have expressed their written gratitude to the club and told us how they would use their new funds.
Wildbird Recovery will use their gift to continue their bird rehabilitation work as conveyed in this quote from a newspaper article about them, "Hundreds of birds are back in the sky, filling Allegheny and the surrounding counties with song, thanks to Nature’s guardian angles."
The Purple Martin Preservation Alliance will use their gift to replace an old gourd rack in need of repair at the Harrison Hills Park Environmental Learning Center with a new Purple Martin house, guaranteed to be fully occupied in the coming Purple Martin season.
We are very pleased that our donations are benefiting the birdlife in the area!

Screech-Owl Hole


Actually, the screech-owl video has only moved to our brand new VIDEO PAGE! Click on "Videos" in the Side Menu to find the owl and two new videos by members: one on the whistle a robin makes to warn of danger, and the second on how a robin forages through dead leaves in the springtime.

We hope you enjoy this new page, and we hope that you can contribute to it too.

Raptors Row Riders

   2018 RAPTORS ROW RIDE is coming on April 28 This year the Steel Valley Trail Council's (SVTC) annual ride on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is scheduled to be a ride to celebrate the 2017 success and to visit the five raptor nests that were found on a short 9 mile stretch of the trail last year. The nests included the Hays bald eagle nest, a great horned owl nest on the Homestead Grays Bridge (which is not active this year), a red tail hawk nest by the pump house, an osprey nest just past Kennywood and a kestrel nest in McKeesport. The SVTC is responsible for the portion of the trail from the Glenwood Bridge to the McKeesport/Duquesne Bridge.
The Raptors Row Ride is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2018, and starts at Town Square in the Waterfront in Homestead (for directions Google "Starbucks Homestead Waterfront"). Roy Bires, a 3RBC member and also a member of the SVTC, talked about the planned ride at the December 3RBC meeting asking for 3RBC volunteers with scopes to be stationed at the various nests along the trail.
We think there will be greater interest in this ride as the last stop of the ride is the Hays bald eagle nest which currently has three eggs. You can refer to the SVTC's website at or the Steel Valley Trail Council's Facebook page for the current status of the ride. Roy Bires will address this issue at the April 3RBC meeting. You can also refer to the 3RBC website and Facebook page for updates on the status of the ride.
A number of 3RBC members have volunteered to be positioned at the various nest sites with their scopes and binoculars to point of the nest sites and any raptors that might be in the area.

Biggest Week in American Birding 2018   Biggest Week in American Birding 2018 is coming!!
Magee Marsh in May has been the destination for scores of Pittsburgh area birders, off and on for over 20 years. A 20-warbler-species-day is common enough there that many of us have enjoyed one, with plenty of individual birds, and many close enough to render binoculars superfluous. On almost every trip there are swarms of shorebirds, other Neotropical migrants, and the scarce, but regular, appearance of a few rarities like Connecticut and Kirtland's Warblers and phalaropes. An hour or two side trip to Oak Openings Metropark, where Lark Sparrows and Red-headed Woodpeckers are easy finds, is always in the cards.
Using the Three Rivers Facebook page, Susie and Jack Solomon hope to revive the old traditions of having a few group dinners in the area. Watch that site for news of 3RBC dinners and other gatherings.
Jack says of the Biggest Week festival, "It is so chock full of outstanding speakers, terrific guided tours, and the assistance of plentiful experts located along the famous boardwalk, whose help is free and available whether or not you register for the festival, that Susie and I have signed up for every Biggest Week ever since its inception. It was where we met Noah Stryker and recruited him as a speaker for 3RBC."
Find out more at Biggest Week in American Birding 2018. We hope you plan to go to the Biggest Week whether for a day, a weekend, or for the entire time. You'll find it is well worth the trip.

Festival of the Birds

    2018 Festival of the Birds in Erie, PA runs from May 18-20!
Birding festivals in May do not end after the Biggest Week in American Birding! The 2018 Festival of the Birds begins in Erie on Friday, May 18, 2018, and runs that weekend through Sunday. Dr Drew Lanham
Small group (12-15 persons) field trips to Presque Isle's hottest birding spots are planned for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Workshops to be given on Saturday include "Birding for Beginners," "Waterfowl on Presque Isle," "Shorebird ID," and more.
The keynote Speaker will be Drew Lanham, a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist. His address is titled: "Ornitherapy - Confessions of a Lapsed Lister and a Life Saved by Birds."
The festival is hosted by Presque Isle Audubon Society and PA DCNR. For more information visit the Festival’s website at

    New Discoveries Made in Research Based on Bird Behavior
Two recent news stories dealt with scientific research into bird behavior. One was concerned with the effects of pecking into wood on the brains of woodpeckers as relating to research into human concussions. Pileated WoodpeckerThe second story explained how observers determined that Florida flamingos were not extinct as widely believed, but that the flamingos they kept seeing in Florida were, indeed, living and breeding in remote areas of the state.
The article about woodpeckers was titled "Surprising findings in what really happens to a woodpecker's brains that mimics the impact of human concussions," written by John Hayes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This article was based on a research paper: "Why Do Woodpeckers Resist Head Impact Injury: A Biomechanical Investigation." authored by six researchers.
Florida Flamingos The discovery of Florida's flamingos was an NPR news story on March 6, 2018: "Florida's Long-Lost Wild Flamingos Were Hiding In Plain Sight." It too is based on a research paper in the American Ornithological Society's publication The Condor: "Status and trends of American Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) in Florida, USA," authored by seven researchers.
Click on each title above to read the complete story or research paper.

PSO Logo

   PSO Meeting coming this September in Crawford County
Save the date for the annual Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology (PSO) meeting September 14, 15 and 16! This year we travel to Crawford County and Pymatuning and Geneva Marsh will be two target sites for field trips. More details will be posted at PSO Events page as info becomes available.

Bird Species Lists of Recent Outings

See Mike Fialkovich's compilation of the species and count totals of the Pittsburgh City CBC's from 2000 to 2017 at this link: Pittsburgh City CBC Totals 2000-2017 (PDF).

   View the 47 species seen on the PYMATUNING AREA outing (March 25) as a PDF: Pymatuning List.

   View the 54 species seen on the YELLOW CREEK STATE PARK outing (April 7) plus photos on eBird: Yellow Creek List.

   View the 44 species seen on the GLADE RUN LAKE PARK outing (April 8) plus photos on eBird: Glade Run Lake List.

Items to Note!

Hear Noah Strycker's October 4 Presentation
Noah Strycker

Noah Strycker's program at our October 4, 2017 membership meeting was one of the best and most well-attended presentations in our history. Not every speaker does, but Noah allowed us to record his program and make it available to our members who were not able to be there for it. His enthusiasm, humor, and engaging manner come through very well on this taped presentation. There are none of his spectacular photos, unfortunately, but the audio recording is still entertaining.
Use the audio controls below to hear Noah Strycker's complete 70-minute presentation given at the 3RBC meeting on October 4, 2017.

Longer Articles are Still Available
Read Kathleen Siebert's article on her journey to Ecuador Take the "Sun Route" to Enjoy Ecuador's Avian Wealth, and Geoff Malosh's tale of chasing the sun's eclipse A Different Kind of Chase: Not for Birds This Time.

Installing the EagleCam

A New, Improved EagleCam Has Been Set Up at the Hays Nest
PixController, the company which provides the camera for the Hays EagleCam, has installed a new camera over the replacement nest built last February when the tree with the second nest fell in a storm. See John Hayes article on this new, improved camera along with a short video featuring Brian Shema of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania: Close Watch.

See the new camera in action 24 hours a day at this link: Hays EagleCam.
See also the 24-hour Harmar Bald Eagle nest at this link: Harmar EagleCam.

Powdermill featured in Birding magazine
Paul Hess, our editor of The Peregrine, also writes a column - "News and Notes" - for the American Birding Association's Birding magazine. See his June 2017 column which includes a look at the work done at Powdermill Nature Reserve in Westmoreland County. The column also covers eggs of the Common Murre and the Black Rail. The piece on Powdermill is the third part of Paul’s column.

Snail Kite

Things Looked Bleak Until Snail Kites Rapidly Evolved Bigger Beaks Over a 13 Year Span!
See more details of this heartening news as the numbers of Snail Kites rebound in the Florida Everglades.
Snail Kites

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Follow us on FACEBOOK!
Be sure to visit our club's Facebook page for up-to-date news on happenings with the club, member photos, or links to other birding sites.

Thanks to Jack Solomon for compiling a list of all the 3RBC Speakers from 2001 to December 2017.

A Birding Interview with the Bobs: Robert C. Leberman and Robert S. Mulvihill

PSO Pileated

Pennsylvania Birds — See what you've been missing! The Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology (PSO) publishes previews of the current issue of Pennsylvania Birds online, which consist of the cover, table of contents, and a featured article. Anyone who does not subscribe or perhaps does not even know about PSO can now actually see a little bit of what they've been missing, and hopefully be encouraged to join PSO!

Let's Have a Young Birders Club in Pittsburgh!

Young Birders

Earth Day Bird Hikes at Frick Park on April 21

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's next events are family friendly bird hikes as part of the Frick Environmental Center's Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 21. Naturalist-Led Walks will be given from 12 pm to 4 pm. Matt Webb from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History will be the hike leader.

For more details, see the conservancy's brochure here: Earth Day Poster (PDF).

On Jan. 8, 2017, at 1:30 pm, a meeting was held at the Frick Environmental Center to see who was interested.  FEC and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy graciously provided Jack Solomon a room to hold this meeting. The most important purpose in setting up this meeting was to find out if there was anyone around who would step up and make this club happen.
See more on the progress in forming this club in the February 1, 2017 meeting minutes, on page 12 of the March/April 2017 issue as well as on page 5 of the September/October 2017 issue of The Peregrine.

Young Birders Get-together A successful Young Birders Get-Together (PDF) was held November 11, 2017 at Frick Environmental Center. Details of the event can be found on the club's Facebook page and on page 11 of the January/February 2018 issue of The Peregrine..

The Ohio Young Birders Club is held up by National Audubon as a leading example of a club for young birders.
Here's some valuable information about how to go about forming a young birders club Young Birders Club Toolkit (PDF).

Image Gallery

Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Brian Shema, Chuck Tague