Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology

2023 Birding Festival
(and Annual Meeting)

May 19-21, 2023

Ramada Hotel and Conference Center

State College, Pennsylvania


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Graphics by Joshua Potter







  1:00 - 2:30 pm Conservation Project at Shaver's Creek - Brian Byrnes


  5:00 pm Registration Table opens

    Vendors and non-profits set up tables


  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Bar open


  7:00 pm Business Meeting


  8:30 pm – 9:30 pm Nocturnal Birding trip for those signed up.




  6:30 am   Breakfast at Ramada for those staying at the hotel


  7:00 am to 11:00 am    Field Trips and other activities


  10:00 am to 5:00 pm   Vendors and non-profits at tables


  11:00 am to 1:00 pm   Lunch on your own


  1:00 pm – 1:35 pm   Mercy Melo - Doctoral Candidate at University of Massachusetts at Amherst working in collaboration with Hawk Mountain.


The Continental Decline of American Kestrels: An Investigation of Possible Drivers and Future Management Strategies

Being found from Northern Alaska to the Southern tip of Argentina, American kestrels are capable of adapting to a wide range of environmental conditions. If they're so adaptable, then why might they be declining throughout most of their range? Hawk Mountain is leading the charge to answer that exact question by creating a network of collaborators to investigate how environmental contaminants, habitat change, prey abundance, and interspecific interactions may be affecting kestrel development, survival, and reproduction.

  1:35 pm – 2:15 pm  Dr. Lauri Green - Associate Professor of Biology Bloomsburg University

The Thermoregulatory Effects of Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Nests and Nest Boxes. Implications for Reproductive Success and Climate Change

Tree Swallows are among a few species that line their nests with the feathers of other birds. The function of the feathers is not well understood. Field and laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate whether nest feathers and nest boxes buffer against thermal extremes. The results have implications for avian reproductive success in the face of climate change.










  2:15 pm – 2:35 pm   Break


  2:35 pm – 3:15 pm   Scott Parkhill - Forest Program Manager Audubon Mid-Atlantic


Mature Forest Management: Wood Thrush Habitat and Opportunities for Carbon Forestry


Join Audubon Mid-Atlantic's Forest Program Manager N. Scott Parkhill as he discusses opportunities to manage mature forests for bird habitat while integrating the emerging field of carbon forestry.


While more intensive forest habitat management can sometimes pay for itself with the material removed, mature forest habitat management is often a more difficult to fund activity for private landowners.


The emerging field of carbon markets offers opportunities for monetizing the oftentimes light-handed, non-commercial nature of mature forest habitat work. Examining the habitat requirements of one of Pennsylvania's favorite forest birds, the wood thrush, this webinar will show what interventions can be taken in your mature forest to help the wood thrush and many other mature forest birds. 



  3:15 pm – 4:00 pm   Dr Andy Wilson - Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania.


Looking forward to a Third Pennsylvania Bird Atlas

Bird Atlas projects provide periodic in-depth snapshots of bird distributions and status across large areas, such as states or countries.


With a new Pennsylvania Bird Atlas project starting next year, Andy Wilson will talk about plans for the five-year project.


The 3rd PA Bird Atlas (PBA3) will be designed to engage thousands of birders, of all experience levels, across the state.


The talk will focus on recent innovations in atlas methods from surrounding states, and what we can expect in PBA3, including a first ever winter bird atlas project in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.









  4:00 pm   Vendors and non-profits pack up.
    Festival attendees can relax in a room nearby


  5:30 pm – 8:30 pm   Bar open


  6:00 pm   Banquet area open


  6:30 pm   Buffet starts


        Chef’s Soup Du Jour
        Tossed Green Salad
        Fresh Fruit Salad


        Herb Roasted Bone In Chicken
        Sliced Roasted Beef Sirloin with Mushroom Sauce
        Chef’s Pasta Primavera (vegetarian option)


        Herb Roasted Red Potatoes
        Fresh Green Beans Almondine,
        Fresh Vegetable Medley


      Chef's Dessert Display


      Coffee, Tea, Decaf Coffee, Iced Tea



  7:00 pm   Presentation of Earl Poole and Conservation Awards



  7:15 pm   Keynote Speaker - George Armistead



pOrnithology: The Birds, & the Birds and the Bees


A review of some interesting reproductive strategies among birds, and the associated unusual behavior they exhibit, with copious innuendo and anthropomorphism to keep the concepts fresh and in perspective.


George Armistead leads birding and wildlife tours for Hillstar Nature, a travel company he founded in 2021. George has guided trips to all seven continents and authored two books: Better Birding: Tips, Tools, and Concepts for the Field (2015, Princeton University Press), and The ABA Field Guide to the Birds of Pennsylvania (2016, American Birding Association).


He has a masters in environmental studies from University of Pennsylvania, and is an associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He's an avid fan of Philadelphia sports and loves spending time at home too with his wife Kristin and their dog Sully.




  9:00 pm – 10:00 pm   Nocturnal Birding trip for those signed up.




  7:00 am – 11:00 am   Field Trips and other activities