New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State

NYSOA 65th Annual Meeting Held in Owego
by Joan Collins

NYSOA Display Board, design and photo by Victor Lamoureux
NYSOA's Redesigned Display Board
design & photo by Victor Lamoureux

The 65th Annual Meeting of the New York State Ornithological Association was held on September 29th at the Treadway Inn in Owego, New York. This year's one-day Annual Meeting kicked off with three exciting field trips summarized below by Bill Ostrander:

The annual meeting attendees assembled at the Owego Treadway for field trips at 9 a.m. It was a fine, cool, fall morning. Victor Lamoureux was already out with the early bird photographers in Vestal, searching for birds and techniques to photograph them. Don Hall, of the Chemung Valley Audubon Society and Inga Wells of the Carantouan Greenway and Susquehanna Valley Audubon Society led about 18 NYSOA members on a birding trip to the Carantouan Greenway's Wildwood Nature Preserve in Waverly. Bill Ostrander, also of the Chemung Valley Audubon Society, led a smaller group to Oakley Corners State Forest in Owego.

The Wildwood group's highlights included Lincoln's and Swamp Sparrows, spectacular views of male Wood Ducks in their fresh, ornate plumage. Some of the group's members spotted an American Kestrel and various warblers. Meanwhile, Oakley

Field Trip to Wildwood Nature Preserve, photo by Carena Pooth
Field Trip to Wildwood Nature Preserve
photo by Carena Pooth

Corners seemed quiet, at first. The faint chip of a Yellow-rumped Warbler prompted a noisy response from the birders. Bob Spahn began pishing and Kevin Griffith began screech-owl whinnying. Soon the group was surrounded by about 30 Yellow-rumped Warblers. Keen-eyed members of the group also picked out Black-throated Green, Pine, Blackpoll, and Black-and-white Warblers accompanied by many other forest birds. A small flock of winter finches also joined the mob, but flew off before they could be identified. The woods became quiet again. Solitary calls of a Swainson's Thrush, Belted Kingfisher, and Common Raven rounded out the forest walk. A short walk along open fields turned up Eastern Bluebirds and an American Kestrel. The group made a brief stop at Brick Pond, not far from the Owego Treadway and found a lingering Green Heron, Great Blue Herons, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Ducks, and two immature Bald Eagles perched on the other side of the pond. Another eagle was soaring to the east and another was circling the west end of the pond as the group headed back to the hotel.

Birding was not quite done, though. As the field trip groups returned to the hotel parking lot, a north wind picked up and brought six Red-tailed Hawks to the ridge across the Susquehanna River. Shai Mitra spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk. Minutes later, the hawks had disappeared and Turkey Vultures and three Bald Eagles replaced them. It was a fitting end to a fine morning of birding in Tioga County.

Attendees enjoyed each others' company at the Susquehanna buffet lunch followed by a fascinating keynote presentation by Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, titled, A Real Murder of Crows: life, love, and treachery in your own backyard. It was an eye-opening presentation on crow behavior given by an engaging speaker and truly dedicated ornithologist.

Tim Baird and Gail Kirch, photo by Victor Lamoureux
Tim Baird and Gail Kirch
photo by Victor Lamoureux

The business meeting was held in the afternoon and included 28 delegates from 19 clubs around the state. Officers and committee chairs gave updates on NYSOA's status, activities, and accomplishments. Just a few of the more than 20 reports: Carena Pooth announced that The New York State Young Birders Club celebrated its 3rd anniversary this year. The young birders have an organized database of all species found during field trips dating back to 2008! Kathy Schneider reported on the popularity of the quarterly field trips held around the state. The typical field trip format includes a presentation Saturday afternoon, followed by a social dinner, with the field trip held early the next morning. Andy Mason summarized the many activities of the Conservation Committee on behalf of birds. The committee submits comments on NYS DEC draft plans, writes letters on environmental issues, publishes a quarterly column in New York Birders, and meets several times a year with the NYS DEC. Sadly, Tim Baird announced his retirement from editing New York Birders. After 9 years as Editor, the October 2012 issue of New York Birders will be his last. Tim was thanked for all his years of service. Please contact Tim if you are interested in taking on the important role of editing the newsletter.

Official business included elections of Officers and Directors, and members of the Nominating and Auditing Committees. Officers elected to one-year terms were: Gail Kirch, President, Kathryn Schneider, Vice President, Janet Allison, Recording Secretary, and Andy Mason, Treasurer. Directors elected to one-year terms were: Seth Ausubel and Mary Beth Warburton. Directors elected to two-year terms were: Joan Collins, Mike DeSha, Kevin Griffith, Shai Mitra, and Bill Ostrander. Elected to the Nominating Committee were: Bob Adamo, Kevin Griffith, and Andy Mason (Chair). Elected to the Auditing Committee were: John Cairns (Chair), Irving Cantor, and Peter Capainolo.

Carena Pooth, photo by Victor Lamoureux
Carena Pooth
photo by Victor Lamoureux

The following awards were given out: The John J. Elliott Award in recognition of an outstanding article appearing in The Kingbird went to Mark Manske for "American Kestrel Nest Box Management Program in Northern New York State." The Gordon M. Meade Distinguished Service Award went to Carena Pooth for her service as President, Vice President, and Director, along with her leadership of the New York State Young Birders Club, many years of web site work, and creation and maintenance of the searchable online archive of The Kingbird.

The Annual Meeting is always a great opportunity to socialize with birders from around the state. A host club is needed for the 2013 Annual Meeting. It would be wonderful to have a full weekend of events (field trips, workshops, papers session, keynote speaker, delegates' meeting, etc.) in a host club's territory next year. If you think your club would be interested in hosting the Annual Meeting, please contact Gail Kirch.


                  Published in New York Birders, October 2012

                          Posted online 2/9/13

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