It’s For the Birds

Breeding Bird AtlasThe culmination of five years of effort by more than two thousand dedicated birdwatchers across the state is here. It is the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania. This book amasses data about the distribution and changes in status for almost two hundred bird species in Pennsylvania. Photographs and descriptions of each species are supplemented by distribution maps that highlight sightings during the surveys and changes since the first atlas survey over twenty years ago.

Staff at PPL’s Montour Preserve and Susquehanna Riverlands contributed to the bird data collection at each site during the five years of the survey.

Andy Wilson, Robert Mulvihill and Dan Brauning, editors of the new book recently released by The Pennsylvania State University Press will appear on the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s (PCN) PA Books show, discussing “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania” this Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 9PM.

A listing of cable systems carrying PCN may be found at Additionally, paid subscribers to “PCN SELECT” may view the program via live streaming video at , and it will be posted as a podcast on the website for one week (beginning the Monday after the initial airing).

So, if you are interested, check out our discussion of the book on PCN.

The “Second Atlas” book is available from the Penn State University Press at

PGC requesting information on nesting Peregrine Falcons

Posted on behalf of F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.

MARCH 6, 2013

Dear PA Birders,

Please report any sightings you may have of Peregrine Falcons near cliffs in Pennsylvania. Cliff-nesting peregrines are extremely important to the recovery of the species in Pennsylvania, but only 4 active cliff nests are currently known; all other PA nests are on man-made structures (bridges, buildings and smokestacks). It is quite likely, however, that there are cliff-nesting pairs in PA that just haven’t been discovered yet. If you do see peregrines at or near cliffs in PA, please report them to me.

Right now is an excellent time to detect nesting peregrines, and to observe and enjoy them. This is the beginning of the nesting season: established pairs are renewing the pair bond, single birds are advertizing for mates, and all are demonstrating their “ownership” of their territories, by dramatic display flights and aggressive challenges to practically anything big that flies (Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, sometimes even small airplanes!). Later in the nesting season they become more secretive, and then later still, when the young are beginning to learn to fly, they become conspcuous again. Now is a great time to enjoy them and a golden opportunity to detect new pairs.

Peregrine Banding 06-03_3Peregrines were extirpated in eastern North America by DDT and other pesticies in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but they have been re-introduced and the population in PA is recovering steadily. Thirty-two nesting pairs were documented in 2011 and 2012, but still only 4 cliff-nesting pairs are known. Your reports will be very valuable in aiding the recovery of this charismatic species.

Many thanks,


F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.
Peregrine Falcon coordinator
Pennsylvania Game Commission
405 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bala-Cynwyd, PA 19004

Valentine’s Day Giveaway Winners

Happy Valentine’s Day! We are feeling the love! We are overwhelmed by the response to our Valentine’s Day Giveaway and can’t thank you all enough for helping us to reach a larger audience. Four of our lucky followers have been drawn at random for the prizes as follows:

Garmin eTrex Legend GPS- Jennifer Lewis

Bushnell Waterproof 8x42mm Binoculars- Marilee Ruditis

Coleman LED Micro-Quad Lantern- Tom Hector

PPL Bird Feeder with birdseed- John B. Sweigart

Each winner should contact us via e-mail at with your contact information to receive your prize.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! You are all amazing followers and we look forward to hearing from you here and on Facebook or Twitter! We encourage everyone to share their experiences at our preserves on our PPL Preserves Facebook page, so don’t hesitate to post those great pictures you have!

Calling all bird lovers

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Did you know that PPL’s environmental preserves have been directly involved in efforts to raise awareness of birds and their habitat, and to restore peregrine falcons, bald eagles, ospreys and other bird species to Pennsylvania? Through a “Bird Town” alliance with the Audubon Society, PPL works to raise awareness of birds and their habitats through education, awareness and training activities.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Here is a chance for all bird lovers to become engaged.  The National Audubon Society is seeking participants for The Great Backyard Bird Count,   an annual four-day event from Feb. 15-18 that engages bird watchers in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.

Anyone interested in volunteering to take part in this event can grab their binoculars and sign up here:  Volunteers provide important information on the status and trends of our bird populations.

To learn more about PPL’s commitment to birds of prey throughout Pennsylvania, we invite you to read and follow our blog.

PPL Eagle Viewing Trips

Bald eagle overlooking the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers. Photo by Sarah Hall.

Bald eagle overlooking the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers. Photo by Sarah Hall.

Our PPL eagle viewing bus trips are today and we saw lots of activity on the morning ride along the Lackawaxen and Delaware rivers. We started our day inside with a short presentation by Katie Lester on bald eagles and what PPL does to help protect and conserve them and their habitat.

Once on the bus it wasn’t long before we spotted our first eagle perched over open, unfrozen water. Large numbers of eagles migrate to this area each year for a number of reasons, one being the release of warmer water from PPL’s Lake Wallenpaupack hydroelectric plant. As the water exits the power plant, it flows into the nearby Lackawaxen River. We were a little worried at first as we traveled along the frozen Lackawaxen just outside of Hawley, but as soon as we passed the power plant the water was freely flowing and we saw our first eagle soon thereafter.

The morning group viewing an eagle from the bus.

The morning group viewing an eagle from the bus.

We made our way along the Lackawaxen until it meets the Delaware River where we stopped at the boat launch to get a closer look at an eagle perched in a popular tree overlooking where the rivers meet. Another reason that there has been a resurgence of eagle populations in the Upper Delaware River region is due to the conservation efforts of the “perfect partnership” between the Eagle Institute and the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. Each week from Jan. to March, volunteers monitor eagles at this particular boat launch in Lackawaxen, PA, as well as other locations in the region. Our group got a closer look through the viewing scopes that the volunteers had set up for visitors. It was a beautiful sight!

Bald eagle perched along the Delaware River. Photo by Sarah Hall.

Bald eagle perched along the Delaware River. Photo by Sarah Hall.

In all, we saw 19 confirmed eagles this morning, 11 adult and 8 immature. We saw an additional 13 on the way back, but we can only count these as extra “sightings” because they could be the same eagles we saw on the way there.  Our afternoon trip is out now, and I can’t wait to hear how many they saw!

Are you seeing any eagles out there? Share your photos and experiences with us on our new PPL Preserves facebook page!

-Sarah Hall, Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve

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