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THE OSPREY

Newsletter of The Lehigh Valley Audubon Society A Chapter of The National Audubon Society VOLUME XXXVII • NUMBER 2 April 2013

President’s Message As I sit down to write this message, the last of the Snow Geese are getting ready to depart for areas north, snow from a recent winter storm is melting away to memory, a phoebe is calling across the street, the Spring Peepers & Wood Frogs are wondering what the weather will do next, and I am waiting patiently for nature to settle down and hopefully begin to warm up a bit so I can enjoy doing some yard work. Its’ called SPRING! Soon our Neotropical migrants will be returning in numbers, the spring ephemerals will be blooming, and thoughts of long walks on warm spring and early summer mornings will fill our minds. At the beginning of March we had a wonderful introduction to vernal pools and the unique wildlife that uses them. For those of you fortunate enough to attend the program by Andy Curtis, it should have been a real eye-opener to learn of 6” bright yellow-spotted salamanders that will cross snow covered ground on rainy March nights to lay their eggs in these seasonal pools. Well, this year seemed to be off timing wise, but just before sending this message off to our newsletter editor, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a walk on a rainy March night and personally experience this phenomena. Pretty neat to see a dozen or so of these Spotted Salamanders swimming around in the leaflitter on the bottom of a vernal pool, completing their life-cycle. It will be another year before this happens again, but be ready and make sure you are prepared on an early March night when the weather warms and the rains fall! The Lehigh Valley Audubon Society’s (LVAS) spring schedule is just beginning to get busy and with over a dozen field trips remaining in this season, I am

sure that you can find one that interests you and also fits your schedule. If you do go on a field trip, please remember that all of our leaders are volunteers and receive no payment for their time or expenses, so give them a big thanks for their efforts, and if you ride in someone else’s car, please be generous in sharing the cost of gasoline. Not a small matter these days! I would like remind you that our Annual Members Picnic will again be held on Father’s Day, Sunday, 16 June. Look elsewhere in this newsletter for additional details or contact any board member closer to the date. Also, the Lehigh Valley Bird Town Coalition will be having a Bird Nest Box Trail dedication on Saturday, 18 May at 09:00 AM, near the Fish Hatchery and all are welcome to attend. This is the first of a number of nest box trails planned for around the Lehigh Valley and there is always room for more volunteers to help install, monitor, and maintain the boxes. Another important note is that after many years of use, we have decided that the Eastern PA Bird Hotline run by LVAS will cease to function at the end of May 2013. A casualty of technology, progress, and increased costs, the telephone line use has decreased to a level where it simply is not cost effective to continue to fund it, nor is it time-effective to continue to ask Dave to transcribe the tape, when most people now retrieve sighting data via a computer-based system. Our apologies to those this impacts and hope all can adjust. I currently use the American Birding Association (ABA) link to state bird sightings: http://birding.aba.org/ and hope with is of value to you.

Peter

Sightings Report: Jan.-Mar. 2013 Dave DeReamus

There were several eye-opening finds during this past quarter. These included a BARNACLE GOOSE, a THAYER’S GULL, a HARRIS’S SPARROW, and the continuing EARED GREBES and ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD, but the two PINK-FOOTED GEESE topped the list. (Continued on page 2)

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

• Birding Quiz • Alaska Field Notes • L.V. Nest Box Trail System • PMAC

Pg. 3 Pg. 4 Pg. 6 ­Pg. 7


(Continued from page 1) New Year’s Day at the Nazareth Quarry produced the two continuing EARED GREBES, 2 ROSS’S GEESE, and 2 CACKLING GEESE among around 30,000 SNOW GEESE. One of the EARED GREBES remained there until the 15th. A HARRIS’S SPARROW was discovered near Trachsville on the 1st and continued to be seen regularly throughout the quarter. There were numerous sightings of GREATER WHITEFRONTED GEESE this quarter. They included one bird at the Fogelsville Quarry and the Dorney Park pond on the 1st, two at Knight Lake on the 3rd, one at the Dutch Springs quarry on the 10th, and another at Trexler Park on the 15th. The Dorney Park pond and Trexler Park bird(s) were seen fairly regularly through early February. Another New Year’s Day sighting was that of a ‘dark morph’ RED-TAILED HAWK in Whitehall. Sightings from the 2nd included 2 PEREGRINE FALCONS and 100 SNOW BUNTINGS near Riverton, 20 COMMON REDPOLLS in Washington Township, Northampton County, and another 6 COMMON REDPOLLS in Lower Nazareth Township. Additional COMMON REDPOLL sightings were 5 at the Albert Road ponds on the 5th, 15 near Saylorsburg on the 6th, 20 at Beltzville State Park on the 6th, 27 at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center on the 8th, a huge count of 142 near Slatington on the 9th, and another in Williams Township on the 15th. The Fogelsville Quarry became a hotspot in early January with sightings of 2 ROSS’S GEESE and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on the 5th, 3 CACKLING GEESE on the 6th, and a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE on the 7th. Sightings from the Martins Creek PPL power plant area included 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS on the 5th and 2 CANVASBACKS on the 14th. The ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD that showed up in Pipersville, Bucks County back in November was last seen on the 7th. Two MERLINS were at the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course on the 9th. Amazingly, a different PINK-FOOTED GOOSE visited Lake Muhlenberg on the 14th. An ICELAND GULL was seen at the Grand Central landfill on the 15th. Graver’s Hill held 5 SNOW BUNTINGS and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR on the 17th. An ICELAND GULL was spotted at Green Lane Reservoir from the 19th to the 21st. On the 27th, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was reported from the Whitehall Parkway and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR was seen in North Whitehall Township. Beltzville State Park held 7 REDHEADS on the 29th. On February 2nd, 6 TUNDRA SWANS and 2 GREATER SCAUP were at Green Lane Reservoir. Sightings from the 3rd included a LONG-TAILED DUCK at the Dutch Springs quarry and 5 REDHEADS at the Fogelsville Quarry. Sightings from the 4th included a GOLDEN EAGLE in Lower Nazareth Township and

2 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS near Allentown. Sightings from the 7th included 4 ICELAND GULLS at the Grand Central landfill, 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in Plainfield Township, and 2 SNOW BUNTINGS at Graver’s Hill. Moving to the 10th, sightings included a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK near Bangor, a NORTHERN SHRIKE, a LAPLAND LONGSPUR and a SNOW BUNTING in Plainfield Township, and 36 additional SNOW BUNTINGS at Graver’s Hill. Beltzville State Park produced a GREATER SCAUP on the 10th and the 22nd and a leucistic CACKLING GOOSE, also on the 22nd. A THAYER’S GULL visited the Grand Central landfill on the 14th and 2 ICELAND GULLS were seen there on the 25th. Six COMMON REDPOLLS were found near Pen Argyl on the 17th and another one was spotted near Kunkletown on the 24th. A PEREGRINE FALCON was seen in Bethlehem on the 20th and again on March 13th. A ROSS’S GOOSE flew over Jacobsburg State Park on the 26th. March began with 8 GREATER SCAUP and 3 REDHEADS at the Fogelsville Quarry on the 1st. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was seen at the Martins Creek Quarry on the 3rd and a SNOW BUNTING was found at Lake Minsi on the 4th. A BARNACLE GOOSE was discovered at the Northampton Quarry on the 7th and remained until the 11th while the Albert Road ponds held 3 CACKLING GEESE and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, also on the 7th. Additional singles of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE were seen in East Allen Township on the 8th and 9th and at Green Lane Reservoir on the 9th. On the 13th, a CACKLING GOOSE, a LONG-TAILED DUCK, and 2 GREATER SCAUP dropped into Beltzville State Park while 3 TUNDRA SWANS were there on the 16th. A LESSER YELLOWLEGS was found in Lower Nazareth Township on the 17th while another was spotted at Green Pond on the 21st. A pair of PEREGRINE FALCONS was seen in Allentown on the 23rd, 11 TUNDRA SWANS visited Green Lane Reservoir on the 25th, and 17 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS dropped into Lake Minsi on the 26th. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD flew past Bake Oven Knob on the 30th.

Bringing Birds to your Backyard

2008 Stefko Boulevard Bethlehem, PA 18017 Phone & Fax (610) 691-8843

The Osprey, published quarterly by the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society, P. O. Box 290, Emmaus, PA 18049

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Mark R. Boyd

???Quiz???

5th Grade Riparian Habitat Project

1.True, or false - All warbler species look totally different in fall than they do in spring. 2. What raptor is most likely to spend winter in the Arctic tundra? 3. What do butterflies taste with? 4. The best way to identify Fish Crow from American Crow is by; a – size b – wing beats c – call d – voice 5. Do all birds have the same number of feathers? 6. True, or false – Birds can sleep while in flight. 7. This dabbling duck likes pond bottom plants. In order to get them, this dabbler must ‘hang out’ with divers who also eat the same plants, so it can snatch the food when the diver surfaces. 8. What do butterflies smell with? 9. Match the name of the bird with the sound of it’s voice; Northern Parula a) burry Wood Thrush b) sweet Yellow Warbler c) flute like Scarlet Tanager d) buzzy 10. Did you spend any time with nature today?

At the Seven Generations Charter School in Emmaus, a small stream passes through a woodlot just beyond the parking lot and playground. Alison Panik’s 5th grade class decided to learn about riparian habitat and the creatures it supports by developing a restoration project for the streamside area. Having lined up expertise in the snakes that may use riparian habitat from the Wildlands Conservancy, they then turned to LVAS for help with birds. LVAS Vice President Barbara Malt visited the classroom one morning in late November to talk about what riparian habitat offers to birds, what species may be found there, and how different species make use of different features of this habitat. The LVAS collection of plush birds with authentic Cornell sound chips to illustrate their vocalizations came in handy, along with pictures of other species. Then everyone pulled on jackets and boots and trooped out to inspect the site. There they talked about what elements of a healthy riparian habitat might be missing and what kinds of native plants they could plant to help restore it. Back in the classroom, every child received a bird sticker, a common species ID pamphlet, and a bird card filled with information about one northeastern bird. LVAS is an all-volunteer organization, and we often receive more requests for help with educational programs than we can fulfill. If you would like to share your love of birds to help children and adults learn about nature and conservation, please contact any board member to get involved.

(Answers on page 5)

Lehigh Valley Audubon Society ANNUAL PICNIC Sunday June 16th – 3 PM to 7 PM Rain or Shine FRANKO FARM RECREATION AREA, SALIBURY TOWNSHIP Our Annual Picnic will be held on Father’s Day at the Franko Farm Recreation Area. LVAS will again provide hot dogs, hamburgers, snacks and ice tea & water. Bring your family, your favorite picnic dish or snack, your lawn chairs and don’t forget your binoculars for the afternoon bird walk. We will send you an email in mid-May with the RSVP information and also the directions to Franko Farm. Keep your eyes open for the email and here’s hoping for a warm sunny day.

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Alaska Field Notes Continued Peter Saenger

2 June: Nome- Kougarok Road. Up at 03:30 in advance of a 05:30 departure time to get to the curlew site (72 miles of dirt road) to be there while the birds are displaying. We drove pretty much non-stop to Salmon Lake where there was a public outhouse and displaying Bluethroats (life bird). Also added Rock Ptarmigan (life bird) to the trip list and nice photos of it as well. Also saw nesting Gyrfalcons. We arrived at mile 72 by mid-morning and parked along the road on the north side of Coffee Dome, which is the closest named location on a map to the ridge that the Bristlethighed Curlew nest on. There were other groups of birders coming down the hill and a few people walking the road who obviously did not feel up to the hike up the hill to the displaying area. Aaron described the hike like “walking on a wet mattress covered with bowling balls.” It turned out to be a perfect description. Lee Ann decided to stay at the van and John did as well. As we loaded up our packs and grabbed our gear, a displaying Bristle-thighed Curlew (life bird) flew in low over our heads from the south side of the road, calling, giving us great looks at the overall bird, the bill shape, and the bright reddish rump patch- lifer for most of the group and without hiking the hill! Aaron looked disappointed at how easy it had been and asked if we still wanted to walk the hill and all exclaimed- yes! So off we went, up the hill, carefully threading feet between the wobbly tussocks of grass and taking one step at a time. Half way up and just before we lost sight of the road and the van, Aaron pointed out the need to take a look at distant and higher landmarks to avoid coming down the wrong side of the hill later. Having a compass in my pack, I took a quick sighting and logged the direction to the van for future reference if needed. Near the top of the hill the terrain turned much drier and easier to walk on. We were treated to two, possibly three displaying Bristle-thighed Curlews, along with Whimbrel, a few plovers, and numerous Long-tailed Jaeger. Lunch at the Kuzitin Bridge, where we had an Osprey fly over which apparently is an uncommon species to be seen on the Seward Peninsula. While there a group of 14 Swedish bird watchers showed up and the same father and son that Lee Ann and I had met at our hotel restaurant in Seward were part of this groupodd as the four of us looked at each other while we remembered where we had met before! They went stomping by our picnic lunch (in the usual Moose droppings) in search of the singing Blackpoll Warbler in the willow scrub along the river. We stopped at a bridge over the Grand Central River just west of Salmon Lake where I added Wandering Tattler to my life list. We had stopped here in the morning for this species and it was here, but by offering to take the back seat, I was the last person out of the van and the bird flushed as I walked up behind everyone already at the bridge. I was surprised at my disappointment in not seeing it well. This time everyone made sure I was first (very nice of them!) and the bird was again present and allowed terrific looks straight down on it in the late day lighting and also stayed long enough for photographs by some of the guys. Really great! 3 June Nome: the Teller Road. Notable birds for the day: 3 more Wandering Tattler, at least one of which I found on my own. Better looks at a number of Northern Wheatear and incredible looks at all three nesting plover species (Pacific, American Golden and Black-bellied Plovers) in full breeding plumage. Apparently a rare

bird was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper we had near Cape Woolley. Had a herd of Reindeer, which were introduced and herded up once a year for food and also for their horns, which the Asians use as an aphrodisiac. We stopped and had lunch beside the Bluestone River, with a female moose watching us from the hillside across the river and the usual moose droppings underfoot. The only place to get out of sight of everyone to relieve oneself was at the shoreline, over some ice, step over the probable bear kill (mammal of sort), into the low willows- made Lee Ann a little nervous to say the least. Out of time and instead of driving hard to get to Teller, we turned around and birded our way back to Nome, with stops to get better looks at wheatears (thank you Aaron) and to try to Arctic Warbler at every patch of suitable habitat- no luck. Had our last dinner together at Airport Pizza by popular vote. Late flight out of Nome to Anchorage; landed in Anchorage around 10:30 PM. Checked back into the Courtyard by Marriot, our hub in Anchorage and one of the best choices we made! Alaska- Part Three 4 June: Drive from Anchorage to McKinley Park (240 miles). Lee Ann did two loads of laundry first thing in the morning and then we checked out around 11:00 and headed north. Had lunch in Wasilla. Very nice drive north to Denali National Park, McKinley Park. Arrived around 4:30 – 5:00 in afternoon and checked into the Denali Bluffs Hotel; worn, but ok. Had dinner at the hotel. Very interesting that all the staff at this hotel and its counterpart high above us all had where they were from on their name tags. Most were from Eastern Europe and many had been recruited by the hotel at their schools. 5 June: Denali National Park. Wilderness Tundra Tour bus tour into Denali N. P. 6:20 AM – 1:30 PM. Being restricted to the bus, it was difficult to do any birding, but the views and the mammals were worth the trip! Lots of moose, including two bulls with decent horns, Dall Sheep on the road, a small herd of Caribou (life mammal), and at Polychrome Pass the dirt road rose 500-600 feet above the valley floor and without being able to see the edge of the road from inside the bus, made for a very hairy ride to say the least! On the way back through this section I suggested to Lee Ann that we review the photos in my camera and so, we concentrated on not looking at the scary view a second time. This section of road pretty much convinced us not to take the shuttle bus the following day. We had originally been scheduled for two days of Shuttle buses, which you can get on and off of where you want to, but not knowing much about bears, we decided to get a feel for the place on a tour the first day there. A good idea, though costly and we would have done the shuttle the next day as far as bears were concerned, but Polychrome Pass just was not in our plans a second time and we also needed some down-time without the need to be back at the park by 7:15 AM for the shuttle bus. The day’s weather included full sun under blue skies, clouds, a little rain and hail, etc. No view of Mt. McKinley today and we were told only 25% of the visitors get to see the mountain at all. 6 June: McKinley Park and Denali N. P. Spent part of the morning walking the shops and just enjoying the area along the river. Mid-day drove into Denali National Park in our rental car. Stopping to look at various Moose, we pulled into the Savage River Campground parking lot and found the nest of a Boreal Chickadee and a family of Gray Jay with two or three juvenile birds, which were almost black. At the Savage River, at 15 miles, the furthest you can drive in a private vehicle: When we pulled into

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the parking lot, there was a group of birders with scopes down at the river looking up at distant rocks. Walking up, I was asked my opinion on a bird they had in the scope and due to heat shimmer and the distance, I said a Golden Eagle or a Gyrfalcon, to which Lee Ann added, if it was not just a rock and asked if anyone had seen it move? It was quickly stated that their guide had seen it move and I then took notice of their guide, who looked familiar. Turned out to be Larry Manfredi from Florida. The bird finally flew and it was a Golden Eagle. Lee Ann and I headed back out of the park and stopped here and there for views, to include our first of Mt. McKinley- awesome to say the least, even at about 70 miles from it! 7 June: Drive south from Denali to Anchorage. Took a leisurely start to the day, had a less than great breakfast buffet at our hotel, which included crunchy pancakes. We were going to go to the Salmon Bake for breakfast, but figured we would dawdle too much because we liked it there- should have gone! Good views of Mt. McKinley at the southern most viewing pull-out along the highway. Oddly, had a late lunch in the town of Wasilla, same town we had lunch in on the way north. Dropped off our rental car and took a cab to the airport. Species List: 135 (*= 13 life birds) #= 2nd/significant sighting Greater White-fronted Goose *Emperor Goose-2 Brant (Black) Cackling Goose (taverneri) Canada Goose *Trumpeter Swan-1 Tundra Swan American Wigeon Mallard Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail Green-winged teal Canvasback Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup #King Eider Common Eider Harlequin Duck Surf Scoter White-winged Scoter Black Scoter (American) Long-tailed Duck Bufflehead Common Goldeneye #Barrow’s Goldeneye Common Merganser Red-breasted Merganser Willow Ptarmigan *Rock Ptarmigan-5 Red-throated Loon Pacific Loon Common Loon #Yellow-billed Loon Red-necked Grebe *Red-faced Cormorant-15 Pelagic Cormorant Osprey

Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Sharp-shinned hawk Northern Goshawk Rough-legged Hawk Golden Eagle Merlin Gyrfalcon Peregrine Falcon Sandhill Crane Black-bellied Plover American Golden-Plover Pacific Golden-Plover Semipalmated Plover Black Oystercatcher Spotted Sandpiper *Wandering Tattler-4 Whimbrel *Bristle-thighed Curlew-2 *Bar-tailed Godwit-5 Ruddy Turnstone Semipalmated Sandpiper Western Sandpiper Least Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper Dunlin Buff-breasted Sandpiper Long-billed Dowitcher Wilson’s Snipe Red-necked Phalarope #Red Phalarope Black-legged Kittiwake Sabine’s Gull Bonaparte’s Gull Mew Gull Herring Gull (vegae) #Slaty-backed Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull Glaucous Gull *Aleutian Tern-15 Arctic Tern Pomarine Jaeger Parasitic Jaeger #Long-tailed Jaeger Common Murre Pigeon Guillemot Marbled Murrelet *Kittlitz’s Murrelet-4 *Horned Puffin-50 Tufted Puffin Rock Pigeon Say’s Phoebe Northern Shrike Gray Jay Black-billed Magpie Northwestern Crow Common Raven Tree Swallow Violet-green Swallow Bank Swallow Cliff Swallow Black-capped Chickadee #Boreal Chickadee Brown Creeper Winter Wren (pacificus) Ruby-crowned Kinglet *Bluethroat-3 *Northern Wheatear-5 Gray-cheeked Thrush Swainson’s Thrush Hermit Thrush American Robin Varied Thrush European Starling *Eastern Yellow Wagtail-10 M. f. tschutschensis American Pipit Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Blackpoll Warbler Northern Waterthrush Wilson’s Warbler American Tree Sparrow Savannah Sparrow Fox Sparrow (Red) Lincoln’s Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow (Gambelii) Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Lapland Longspur Snow Bunting Red-winged Blackbird Rusty Blackbird Pine Grosbeak Common Redpoll Hoary Redpoll Pine Siskin Mammal List: 18 Snowshoe Hare Grizzly Bear Muskox Moose Caribou Dall Sheep Mountain Goat Reindeer (introduced) Arctic Ground Squirrel Red Squirrel Red Fox Beaver Spotted Seal

Bearded Seal Steller’s Sea Lion Humpback Whale Orca Dall’s Porpoise

!!!Answers!!!

1) False. Most (80%) look quite the same, some may be a little ‘faded’, but the field marks are still there. 2) Gyrfalcon, since their favorite prey, Ptarmigan, resides year round. 3) Their feet. 4) c. All four of these may give clues, but the most reliable way is by call; listen for the nasal, double-noted aaah-aah. Beware; immature American Crows sound nasal, but do not give the quick, doublenote with the second note being lower. 5) No. Typical hummingbirds have about one-thousand, while some swans have over twenty-thousand. 6) True. Birds that migrate at night, (including songbirds) and birds that spend most of their time at sea, can ‘doze off’ while flying. This is called unihemispherical sleep – one half of the brain remains alert. 7) American Wigeon. 8) Their antennae. 9) Northern Parula-d, Wood Thrush-c, Yellow Warbler-b, Scarlet Tanager-a. 10) We hope you did, even five minutes of looking or listening is good for the soul.

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A Visit from the Spirit World?

The L.V. Nest Box Trail System

This story starts with my last canine companion, Jane E. Boyd. Janie was three-quarters German Sheppard, and Golden Retriever, her father was a German police dog. She was very intelligent, and gentle. For fourteen years, Janie was my best friend, and a birding companion, (I figure that she had over three-thousand birding hours on her, including organized hawk watching trips in three states) anyone who met her, fell in love with her. Jane E. passed away a few years ago…I still miss her. Through the years many birders ‘crashed’ at my old house, either before an early start for, or after arriving late from, a birding trip. Quite a few of them also joined me on Sunday mornings, to meet my parents for breakfast at a local diner. Adam Sabatine was one of those birders; he had grown very fond of Janie, and my parents. In fact the last time we talked was on a Friday night in mid-April of last year, Adam expressed that he would like to go for breakfast with my parents that Sunday, and then go birding, so we made plans – unfortunately he went into a diabetic coma the next day. A few nights later I went to see Adam for the last time; the doctors were to remove him from life support the following day. I spoke to Adam for a little while, and at that time, I asked him to find Janie, and take care of her for me until I joined them. My father (Bill Hlay) loved Janie; he always had dog treats ready for when he saw her. He was also fond of Adam; even while suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and other health issues, a big smile would cross Pop’s face when he saw Adam walk into the diner. This past November, I was on my way to meet my parents for breakfast, when my mother called to give me the news that my father had passed away during the night. While we were waiting for the coroner, and funeral director to arrive, I went to my father’s room, and talked to him. While talking to him, I suggested that he look-up Adam, and Janie. We decided to have my Pop cremated, and bury his ashes with his parents. As I walked to the grave site, I looked around the cemetery, and noticed that there were some conifers, and a few small, leafless, deciduous trees scattered around. A few moments after the gathering of friends, and family settled around the grave, I heard the sound of white-breasted nuthatches calling. I looked up to see three of the birds come flying towards us, all calling frantically. They landed in a small, leafless, deciduous tree located near the head of the grave, and just looked at us while they continued to call. After what seemed like minutes, they flew off. Everything about this experience with the nuthatches was very peculiar, and for the rest of my life I will wonder; was this just odd bird behavior? Or was this something else?

The Lehigh Valley Nest Box Trail System is a series of trails developed in public areas throughout the region to provide habitat for many species of birds to build nests, and at the same time offer local residents a unique opportunity to view and learn about wildlife. Nest boxes are placed at various locations along the trails to attract many species of cavity-nesting birds. Cavity-nesters are birds that make their nests in tree hollows or abandoned woodpecker holes. They also readily raise their young in manmade cavities, such as nest boxes, during spring and early summer. Look for them as you make your way along these trails, but never approach the boxes. This will stress the birds and possibly cause them to abandon their nests. Contact the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society for a listing of additional trail locations. The following are some of the types of birds you may encounter nesting along this trail. Eastern Bluebird: Sialia sialis 6” This attractive species is the primary reason for the creation of this type of trail system. Beneficial as well as beautiful, watch the parents flying to and from the box, bringing insects to feed their growing chicks. You may hear them singing their musical, whistled song. Tree Swallow: Tachycineta bicolor 6” A stunning species and graceful flier, most likely to be seen skimming over the meadows, catching insects on the wing, and perhaps twittering their calls. This species is only present in warmer months. Offspring may help the parents raise the next brood. House Wren: Troglodytes aedon 4” Look for these energetic, little birds in more brushy areas. They feed on spiders and other insects, and migrate South for the winter. Males return before females and build multiple nests in hopes of attracting a mate. Listen for their bubbling, buzzy calls. House Sparrow: Passer domesticus 5” A destructive, non-native bird, introduced in the 1800’s. They out-compete our less aggressive native species for nesting sites, and they reduced Bluebirds to critically low numbers by the 1940’s. Nest boxes like those on this trail have helped the bluebirds rebound. The sparrow’s call is a monotonous chirping. Backyard Stewardship; what you can do. Provide and maintain nest boxes at your home, in suitable habitat. Install and maintain bird feeders. Become a “citizen scientist” and learn how to monitor bird nest boxes. Contact the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society or the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology for more information.

Mark R. Boyd

Scott Burnet

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Watch a Nest to Help the Birds

Making a Difference in Your own Backyard: Rain Gardens for Water

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientists ask for your help to understand why some birds are declining. Over the past 30 years, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, Purple Martins, and Eastern Phoebes have dropped in number. The cause remains unknown, though scientists believe it may be linked in part to declines in the insects that birds eat. Anyone who loves watching birds can help scientists study and understand their plight by participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch citizen-science project (NestWatch. org). “Every year, thousands of volunteers from across the United States monitor bird nests to help researchers track changes in bird populations,” says Dr. Jason Martin, NestWatch project coordinator. “By keeping track of how many eggs birds lay and how many young they raise, anyone can contribute valuable data that may help lead to the conservation of these species.” “Recent population declines in North America’s aerial insectivores are a growing concern,” said Dr. Amanda Rodewald, director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Conservation efforts to halt or reverse these worrisome trends are unlikely to succeed until we fully understand the causes of decline. One thing limiting our ability to identify factors driving population declines is a lack of information on reproduction.” The nests of many birds are easy to find and observe. Tree Swallows readily use nest boxes. Barn Swallows and Violetgreen Swallos often plaster their nests onto beams inside barns and under bridges. Purple Martins use large communal nesting houses, and Eastern Phoebes frequently nest under porch eaves and in garages. Participating in NestWatch is free and easy. Information on where and when to look for nests and how to properly monitor them is available at NestWatch.org. NestWatch accepts observations for all nesting birds, so information about any species is welcome.

Conservation and Wildlife Habitat RAIN GARDEN WORKSHOP May 11, 2013| 9 AM to 2 PM | RAIN or SHINE (In the event of extreme weather, listen to WFMZ) WHERE: Longswamp Township Building, 1112 State Street, Mertztown PA 19539 Join community members from around the area as we work together for a few hours to plant native plants in the rain garden. We will have guest speakers in the morning to discuss Rain Garden construction, Native Plants, Bird Habitat and Rain Barrels. Please wear footwear, gloves and clothing appropriate for outdoor work. Light breakfast and a cold buffet lunch will be served; cost is $10.00 per person. RSVP by calling Cathi @ 610-216-7976 or e-mail us at Longswampeac@gmail.com by April 26, 2013. For more information visit our facebook page “Longswamp Township EAC” Sponsored by the Longswamp Township Environmental Advisory Council and WREN

Tamandua Expeditions

The 22nd Pennsylvania Annual Migration Count (PAMC) will be on May 11, 2013. Held on the second Saturday in May, this event is similar to the Christmas Bird Count except it is done on a county basis, rather than a15-mile diameter circle. Participants go out and identify and count all of the birds they can find on that day (including owling at night if so inclined). Most counties have compilers who organize local participants to ensure good coverage of their county. However, some counties do not yet have compilers (or the compiler has retired). In those counties, we welcome reports from individual birders, even if there is no compiler. You can send your report directly to fchaas@pabirds.org.

We are Tamandua Expeditions and we run trips to the Amazon Rainforest in Peru with the goal of protecting the rainforest and supporting local people through volunteer reseaarch and responsible adventure travel. Our next trips will be taking place in the spring of 2013 so we are trying to spread the word. Some common species we see at the lodge and surrounding trails: Four species of macaw, mealy parrots, palewinged trumpeter, grey necked wood rail, swallow tailed kite, horned screamer, paradise tanager, Amazon kingfisher, pied lapwing, ornate ant-wren, razor-billed curassow, black skimmers, numerous egrets and herons, trogons, Spix’s guan, piping guan, numerous toucans and toucanets, aricaris, foliage-gleaners, many woodcreepers, antbirds, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, flycatchers, manakins, and much more. Accommodations and Setting: The Las Piedras Biodiversity Station and surrounding protected forest is crucial habitat for 90 species of mammal, ~600 species of bird, 150 species of reptile and amphibian, and gigantic old growth stands of tropical timber species. The Las Piedras Research station is fully equipped with running water, toilets, and showers. We have comfortable beds with mosquito nets and hammocks to relax in. On our main deck you can find a library of field guides and biodiversity surveys. We have a fully staffed kitchen and employ local indigenous cooks who do a great job of keeping everyone running on delicious food.

Lehigh Co. :Jon Levin levinjl1@yahoo.com Northampton Co.: Michael Schall mdtjschall@yahoo.com

For packages please contact us at: Adventure@tamanduajungle. com

Contact: Pat Leonard, (607) 254-2137, pel27@cornell.edu

PA Annual Migration Count

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LEHIGH VALLEY AUDUBON SOCIETY LVAS OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL 2013 President Peter G. Saenger 610-682-2401 Vice President Barbra Malt 610-433-3451 Treasurer Jon Levin 610-366-9996 If your membership expired at the end of 2012, Secretary Joanne Sora 610-434-4720 please renew for 2013. Complete the information requested in full. We like to double check our records Betty Abrams Mark Boyd Fritz Brock Diane Husic Jack Kane Susan Mahan and hold a current file for the year. If you would like to be contacted from time to time through email with Bernie Morris notices of events, trips, other nature related talks & COMMITTEE CHAIRS Field Trips Adam Smith 610-462-2528 events in our area, etc., please fill in your e-mail Programs Janet Farley 610-841-7155 address carefully. Your phone number is helpful and all Membership Jack Kane 610-691-2161 information remains strictly in our Membership files. Newsletter Jon Kalb 610-762-6275 NAME:_____________________________________ Conservation Jon Levin 610-366-9996 Education Diane Husic 610-381-4868 ADDRESS:__________________________________ Social Betty Abrams 610-821-4983 ____________________CITY ___________________ Ways & Means Dennis Glew 610-866-0234 STATE _________ ZIP_________________________ Youth Coordinator Corey Husic  610-381-4868 Christmas Count Mark Boyd 610-657-9401 TELEPHONE________________________________ Publicity Sue Mahan 610-868-0790 E-MAIL ADDRESS____________________________ Birdline Dave DeReamus 610-252-3455 Renewal Rate: $20.00 - Please make check payable to www.lehigh.edu/lvas

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L.V.A.S. Send to: LVAS MEMBERSHIP, P. O. Box 290, Emmaus, PA 18049 Note: The date on the label of this newsletter is your membership expiration date.

Pink-footed Goose by George West LEHIGH VALLEY AUDUBON SOCIETY P. O. BOX 290 EMMAUS, PA 18049

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Lehigh Valley, PA Permit No. 129


2013 April-June The Osprey