Bimonthly Membership Meeting
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
6:30 PM — 10:00 PM
Phipps Garden Center, Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA


Seventy-four individuals attended 3RBC's June meeting, which featured a presentation by John Canter entitled "Sands of the Sandpiper's Time.' Several attendees were first timers.

In President Bob VanNewkirk's absence, Vice President Sheree Daugherty presided and called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. She asked if anyone had announcements to make to the group, and the following individuals responded:

• Jack Solomon updated the attendees on the progress of the creation of a young birders club. He reported that the task is much more formidable than he had imagined. The project has been proceeding with the assistance of the Frick Park naturalists and Gabi Hughes. Current plans call for an October event, to which prospective young birders will be invited. The event's goal is to determine if sufficient interest exists to justify going forward with the new club. Mr. Solomon promised further updates.

• Ryan Tomazin announced that the Brooks Bird Club will be celebrating its 85th anniversary on October 20th-22nd at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia. Speakers will include Bill Thompson III and Lang Elliot. The event will feature bird and nature related outings, nationally known keynote speakers, and more. For more info, or to register for the event please visit the Brooks Bird Club website www.brooksbirdclub.org. He noted that the 78th Annual West Virginia Foray is only a few days away. He reminded everyone that if they were unable to attend this year's Foray, the event is held annually each June in a different region of West Virginia suitable for bird and natural history studies. The purpose is to offer members and students the chance to be in the field and take part in an ecological study of a selected area.

• Roy Bires, 3RBC member and board member of the Steel Valley Trail Council, thanked all who participated in the Raptor Road Ride, and especially thanked the 3RBC members who brought scopes to the event. Participants were treated to good looks at baby Red-tailed Hawks in-the-nest being fed by their parents, as well as many other birds. Despite bad weather predictions, the rain held off for most of the morning, and participants enjoyed themselves as they saw good birds, got some exercise, and helped a good cause. The event will be held again next year; those interested in volunteering should contact Mr. Bires at rebires@aol.com.

• Vice President Daugherty announced that the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology's (PSO) annual meeting will be held in Carlisle, PA, this September. Visit www.pabirds.org for more information. She reminded everyone that the PSO is perhaps the state's most important ornithological organization and contributes significantly to avian scientific work. Everyone is welcome to attend the annual meeting, whether you are a member or not. If you are not, the meeting is a good opportunity to learn about PSO and meet other members, and perhaps join the group. The meeting is really a gathering of the state's birders to enjoy time in the field, socialize, and learn about bird research. The meeting location is moved around the state to provide opportunities to go birding in different parts of the state. Every location has something to offer. If you are a beginning birder, don't feel intimidated about attending - experienced birders are always glad to assist you. The meeting will feature field trips, speakers, and awards presentations. Vice President Daugherty asked members to support the PSO's work by joining and/or attending.

Vice President Daugherty then called for reports.

• Before reviewing some of the articles featured in the upcoming Peregrine, editor Paul Hess called the attendees attention to news contained in another newsletter - the PSO Pileated - which announced the merger of two species. The Iceland Gull and the Thayer's Gull are being joined taxonomically into a single species and named Iceland Gull. This will not become "official" until the annual supplement to the former American Ornithologists' Union Checklist of North American Birds is published in July by the American Ornithological Society (AOS). The decision for the merger, made by the AOS North American Classification Committee, ends decades of disagreement about the taxonomic status of these two arctic gulls. The American Birding Association's taxonomic placements automatically adhere to the AOS Checklist. Birders who have seen both Thayer's and Iceland and who base their life lists on the ABA Checklist will lose a species.

Regarding upcoming Peregrine articles, Mr. Hess said that the issue will contain several outings reports - not surprising, since more than 220 birders attended 3RBC's many spring outings this year - and that the newsletter would also feature articles about Magee Marsh, since at least 60 3RBC members went there as well. The area, situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, is a prime stopover for North American warblers during spring migration. A noteworthy future article features a rare endangered species in Hawaii, and another tells the story of a little-known tree swallow nest box project. He also noted that the works of eight photographers will be included in the upcoming issue, and that the club is indeed fortunate to count so many highly skilled photographers among its members and associates.

• Steve Thomas, the club's outings coordinator, reported that the club will sponsor an outing on June 24 - an Ohiopyle outing led by Mike Fialkovich. He asked attendees to look at the club's website for details about this and the remaining spring outings. Mr. Thomas also announced that there are still openings for outing leaders for the club's fall schedule; those who are interested in leading a fall outing should contact Mr. Thomas. As always, check the club's website for a complete outings list and details.

• Mike Fialkovich presented the recent bird sightings report for Allegheny County. Since his last report, some bird sighting highlights include these: an American Coot and a Semipalmated Plover in Jefferson Borough; Yellowlegs in Imperial; Semipalmated Sandpiper at Duck Hollow; Pectoral Sandpipers flew past Dashields Dam; Common Nighthawks were sited/heard at various locations; Red-breasted Nuthatches at Frick Park, Harrison Hills Park and Beechwood Farms; Veery at North Park; Gray-cheeked Thrush at Frick Park; Worm-eating Warbler near Beechwood Farms, Barking Slopes and Oakland; Mourning Warblers at Dashields Dam, Beechwood Farms, North Park, Frick Park; Kentucky Warblers at Harrison Hills Park, Dead Man's Hollow (near the Boston Bridge); Cerulean Warbler at Sewickley Heights Borough Park and Schenley Park; Prairie Warblers - one, reported at Forest Hills (birds have experienced a major destruction of their usual habitat at Imperial); Canada Warblers at Beechwood Farms, Dead Man's Hollow and Boyce Park; Wilson's Warblers at Pine Township, Duck Hollow and Beechwood Farms; Yellow-breasted Chat at Barking Slopes; Northern Pintail near Buena Vista; Ruddy Duck at Sharpsburg; Black-crowned Night-Heron at Duck Hollow and Moon Township; Great Egret at Dashields Dam and Harmer Marsh; Glossy Ibis at Jefferson Borough; Black Vulture over Route 8/Route 28 intersection; Northern Bobwhite in Pleasant Hills and Harrison Hills Park; Virginia Rail at Wingfield Pines; Sora at Duck Hollow; Caspian and Forster's Tern and at Dashields Dam; Common Tern at Dashields Dam and Imperial; Black Terns at Wingfield Pines; Barred Owl at Boyce Mayview Park; Red-headed Woodpecker at Hays; Olive-sided Flycatcher at Frick Park; Brewster's Warbler at Frick Park; and Pine Siskin at Frick Park.

• Vice President Daugherty announced August 2, 2017, as the club's next meeting date. Wayne Laubscher will present "Winter Birrrding in Ontario."

Vice President Daugherty next introduced the evening's speaker, John Canter. For the past fifteen years, Mr. Canter has been an unpaid volunteer lecturer for the National Audubon Society and its affiliated state and local chapters. He characterizes himself as neither a life lister nor a particularly avid birder per se. His focus has been, and continues to be, endangered and critically endangered species and the challenges that they face as the environments upon which they depend deteriorate - from both naturally occurring and man-made forces. His initial lectures explored the endangered Whooping Crane. For the last six years he has been speaking at Audubon meetings about the critically endangered Siberian Crane. The lecture that Mr. Canter presented to 3RBC continued his theme of bringing to light the plight of critically endangered avian species. His newest work focused on the nearly extinct Spoon-billed Sandpiper. He examined the species, its history, and its now-perilous state as it faces shrinking environments and habitats. He also outlined some of the heroic initiatives underway or planned to rescue this engaging bird and save it from extinction.

Following the presentation, Vice President Daugherty adjourned the meeting.

— prepared by Frank Moone on 6-20-2017

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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