2017 - 2018 Season

Click here for last season's programs.


September 13

Bob Pierce
Herons and Egrets: The Region and Beyond

In our area of the Middle Atlantic, birders are fortunate to be able to view many wading birds. The various wetlands, bays, and oceans that are so near provide wonderful habitats for viewing these lovely long-legged waders. This program of photographs will feature the herons and egrets of the Family Ardeidae, and also some photographs of these birds and other similar members of this family from Bob’s travels in a few other countries.

Bob is a retired English Teacher, having spent the last 25 years of his teaching career in the Downingtown School District in Chester County. He has an Associate’s Degree in Photography, a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University, and a MA in English from West Chester University. He is the current Recording Secretary for the West Chester Bird Club and an active member of the Birding Club of Delaware County. Bob has shown programs on the "Locals," Kenya, and Costa Rica to both of these bird groups and to many other local organizations in the area. He has an avid interest in all things natural, but especially the creatures that fly.

October 11

Kristen Johnson
Coastal Maine: Through the Lens at Hog Island

Hog Island is a well-known Audubon camp off the coast of Bremen, Maine. It is also the home base for Project Puffin, begun by Steven Kress in the 1970's with the aim of restoring an Atlantic Puffin colony to Maine. Among the many programs for all ages offered by the camp is "Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens." Kristen was fortunate to be able to attend in June 2017 and will share her birding experiences on and off the island. Her photographs include many of the charismatic puffin, now successfully breeding on seven Maine islands as the result of a reintroduction program that has paved the way for other seabird recolonizations across the globe.
For a preview, see Kristen’s blog entry:

November 8

Bert Filemyr
Cape May: Then and Now – The Landscape and The Birding

Cape May, the southernmost part of New Jersey has always been a place of change. Buffeted by tides, storms, and development, what we see today is far different than what was first observed by Captain Cornelis Jacobson Mey who sailed around the area between 1616 and 1624. One of the first seaside resorts, vacationers have been flocking here since the mid-1800s. A mecca of birds and birders ever since Witmer Stone began documenting the area in 1890, Cape May has become one of the great birding locations in the world. This program will relate the changes to the landscape, the evolution of the birding and highlight personalities that shaped, and continue to shape the area.

December 13

Matthew Halley
John James Audubon: Separating the Man from Myth

The legendary ornithologist John James Audubon (1785–1851) began his studies of American birds as a teenager, on the banks of the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia. Few figures in American history have weathered as intense a scrutiny of their written work as Audubon. Nearly every scrap of his writing has been transcribed and debated in numerous biographies and articles spanning more than a century, each revisiting the same primary sources in search of a new angle, because no new material has surfaced in decades. Our speaker, Matthew Halley, recently discovered and transcribed a series of letters from Audubon to the Quaker naturalist Reuben Haines III (1786–1831), previously unknown to scholars, and relocated Audubon's type specimen of Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), that had been collected in 1843 on his last expedition but lost shortly thereafter. These and other novel sources provide a surprisingly fresh and intimate window into Audubon's character and story, and fill critical gaps in our understanding of the genesis of his masterpiece The Birds of America.

Matthew Halley is an ornithologist and historian who grew up in Phoenixville, PA, on the opposite bank of the Schuylkill River near Audubon's home at Mill Grove. He is a Graduate Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, editor of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) and its journal Cassinia, and resident caretaker of the Wyck Historic House and Garden in Germantown, Philadelphia. Matthew is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University (2004, BA Sociology) and Delaware State University (2014, MS Natural Resources), and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science at Drexel University (BEES), where he studies the systematics, biogeography and behavior of New World thrushes (Turdidae). He has conducted research in Panama, Israel, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Canada, and the United States.


January 10

Linda Widdop
Frontiers in Pennsylvania – Potter and Cameron Counties

Are you addicted to warblers and other passerines that migrate through our area each spring only to disappear after a few short weeks? Some of those birds are headed to nesting sites in Potter and Cameron Counties just 5 hours northwest of Philadelphia. A trip to the north/central part of Pennsylvania reveals a completely different land of mountains, forests, streams and lakes where you can find birds, bears, mink and elk (yes, elk).

I have been visiting our family cabin located in Wharton PA for over 20 years and will provide information about birding locations, wildlife viewing, star gazing and world renowned hiking trails in this talk about "God's Country".

February 14

Jessica Shahan
Landscape Ecology and Grassland Songbirds- a new approach to managing populations and communities at risk

Grassland songbirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds in North America. Discover the discipline of landscape ecology and how it can be applied to the management and protection of these amazing species, with a special look at songbirds from the Northern plains. We will end with a discussion of how these techniques can be applied to the birds of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Jessica Shahan is a naturalist and environmental educator with the Nicholas Newlin Foundation in Glen Mills, PA. She received her MS in Biology from the University of North Dakota in 2014, focusing on landscape ecology and grassland bird communities. In her spare time, she can be found exploring the birding hotspots of DE , volunteering at the Rushton Farm Banding Station, and gardening for native pollinators.

March 14

Lisa Kiziuk
The Motus: Building a Northeastern Wildlife Tracking Network

After more than a century of research, our understanding of the movement ecology of migratory animals is still surprisingly rudimentary. Yet understanding how animals move across the landscape is critical to preserving them in a rapidly changing world. A new generation of miniaturized VHF radio telemetry technology, coupled with a rapidly expanding network of automated receiver stations through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus), has the ability to bring greater precision and efficiency to the study of migratory species. However, the greatest drawback to the current Motus array is its limited geography and coastal nature.

In 2016 we formed the Northeastern Motus Collaborative (NMC) to establish a network of wildlife tracking radio receivers across Pennsylvania and the interior Northeast. This project will expand upon the current array of towers, increasing researcher's ability to monitor interior flyways in the northeastern United States. Over the next three years, the NMC aims to complete three phases of tower construction:
  1) Install a line of 18 towers across Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Lake Erie by September 2017
  2) Expand the statewide Pennsylvania network to approximately 40 towers by the end of 2018;
  3) In 2019, establish 30 or more towers northward in New York and New England, creating a more diffuse network across the Northeast inland region.
Once a minimum threshold of stations within the overall network has been achieved, we will begin to deploy VHF nanotags on nesting and migrant Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) at Project Owlnet cooperator stations in New England and eastern Canada, allowing us for the first time to track their movement in real time across continental scales. Expanding the Motus network to cover the mid-Atlantic and Northeast will fill a critical geographic gap and will dramatically increase our ability to understand migration and habitat use by hundreds of species of migrants.

Explore the Motus website here.

Lisa Kiziuk is director of bird conservation at the Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) in Chester County, PA. As a federally licensed bird bander, she and Doris McGovern co-manage the Rushton Woods Bird Banding Station, which includes a migratory passerine program, a breeding bird MAPS survey, and a Northern Saw-whet Owl program. Lisa is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in their graduate program of environmental science, and frequently serves as a guest lecturer for local universities, garden clubs, and non-profit organizations. Lisa has a Masters in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and was presented with the Rosalie Edge Conservation Award by the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club in 2011 for her work in bird conservation.

April 11

Kevin Loughlin
Annual Presentation

Join Kevin Loughlin, nature photographer and owner of Wildside Nature Tours, on a whirlwind ride across the hemispheres through colorful images from his travels in just the past year!

May 9

Michael McGraw
Using Birds as both Drivers for and Indicators of Ecosystem Health in Restoration

In a world of growing ecological consciousness, we are seeing more and more large-scale land-use projects involving ecological restoration. However, the performance metrics to determine the "success" of these ecosystems are still tied primarily to just hydrology and plant species. When fauna are included, they are either very species-specific (usually rare) or all too general ("increased bird habitat..."). In this presentation, Mr. McGraw will highlight some of his company’s recent work where birds and other faunal communities have been far better integrated into the design and performance metrics of ecological restoration through spatial ecology and population biology considerations. Michael is a Senior Wildlife Biologist at Applied Ecological Services and serves as the branch manager for their King of Prussia location. In his free time Michael is an active birder, naturalist, and devoted father of two young girls and currently lives in Media. When not traveling all over the United States for work, he spends most of his time in the PA/NJ/DE region looking at birds and snakes (and has likely shared a cold pint and a warm laugh with many of you already).

June 13

Annual Picnic at Ridley Creek State Park

Ridley Creek State Park, Area #8

Who: You! Your Family! Your Friends! All are welcome!
Where: Ridley Creek State Park, Area #8
When: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Picnic starts around 5:00 pm. (Pavilion available at 8:00 am.)
BCDC Provides:
Soft drinks, Ice, Water, Charcoal, Hot Fire, Plates, Napkins, Cooking Utensils, Condiments
You Bring:
Your food, plus some to share (if desired)