PGAS Winter/Spring 2018 Program Schedule

PGAS monthly programs are held on the second Tuesday of each month, September through June, in partnership with the Patuxent Bird Club, a chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society.  There are no programs scheduled in the summer months.  PGAS members are encouraged to attend monthly meetings and non-members are always welcome.

The formal program always begins at 7:30 pm, but doors open at 7:00 for informal conversation, refreshments, and exchange of birding news.  Each program opens with brief statements from leaders of both clubs about upcoming events, items of interest and other club business, followed by the featured speaker with a question-and-answer period afterwards. 

Click on the location links below for directions and click on the program dates for more information about the presentations.

January 9
College Park Airport Operations Building
Claudia Ferguson
Close Encounters with Galapagos Birds
February 13
Dave Brinker
The Expansion of Brown Pelicans Into the Chesapeake Bay Region
March 13
Chad Wilsey Birds and Climate Change: Using Climate Change Projections to Inform Conservation Throughout the Americas

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm
College Park Airport Operations Building  

"Close Encounters with Galapagos Birds"

presented by Claudia Ferguson

In September 2016, Claudia spent five days birding and watching wildlife in the Galapagos Islands.  This opportunity gave her a nice glimpse of what Charles Darwin experienced when he arrived there in September 1835. Although much has changed since Darwinís visit, which was inevitable, so much remains the same, which is extraordinary. To a considerable extent, each these volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador is inhabited by different species because each has a unique environment. It was Charles Darwinís observations of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world that later inspired his theory of evolution. Claudiaís presentation will show photos providing her close observations of land and sea bird species, habitats, food sources, courtship rituals, breeding colonies, and nesting sites.

Claudia is a long-time member of the National Audubon Society. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Prince Georgeís chapter and is a public speaker for Audubonís program: Gardening with Native Plants for Birds. She lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, and her backyard has been recognized as a bird-friendly habitat by Audubon and by the National Wildlife Federation.  A native of Cuba, Claudia grew up in Argentina. She holds a Masterís degree in Agricultural Sciences. Prior to moving to the United States, Claudia worked in Panama and Costa Rica doing research on tropical crops. Since 1996, Claudia has worked for USDA-APHIS on plant health issues related to international trade of agricultural commodities, and developing policies that prevent the introduction of exotic pests into the United States. She has also been involved in federal quarantine programs for the eradication of invasive species in Florida and NewYork.

Claudia Fergusonís life-long passion for nature, wildlife, birds, and bird migration started during early childhood. Having lived in five countries and travelled to many places around the world, she certainly can relate to migratory birds, the hardships of their journeys, and the importance of bird habitat conservation efforts.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm                                                          
College Park Airport Operations Building

"The Expansion of Brown Pelicans Into the Chesapeake Bay Region"

presented by Dave Brinker

During the mid-1900s, Brown Pelicans seriously declined along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and were eventually listed as a threatened species.  Historically, pelicans had never been recorded as a nesting species in Maryland or anywhere to the north. As pelican populations were recovering from the impacts of DDT, Dave discovered Marylandís first Brown Pelican nesting in 1987.  Since wandering into the Middle Atlantic States, Brown Pelican populations have increased dramatically. The remarkable expansion of local Brown Pelicans in the region will be described.  Come learn how adults feed tiny chicks, and where Maryland nesting pelicans spend their winters, along with other snippets of the natural history of this fascinating water bird.

A regional ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resourcesí Natural Heritage Program since 1990, Dave works on biodiversity conservation, where he specializes in colonial nesting waterbirds, marshbirds, and raptors, as well as freshwater mussels, tiger beetles and odontates.  He began bird banding in 1975 with raptors in Wisconsin at the Little Suamico Ornithological Station, and has been banding Northern Saw-whet Owls in Maryland since 1986, and at Assateague Island since 1991. He founded the now continental collaborative banding effort Project Owlnet in 1994.  Along with colleagues and many volunteers he has organized banding of over 35,000 Brown Pelicans in Maryland and Virginia. In addition to his professional duties, during his free time he studies Northern Goshawks in West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and has experience with traditional radio, satellite, and cellular telemetry of Black Skimmers, Northern Goshawks, Northern Saw-whet and Snowy Owls.  Most recently, he co-founded, and is a leading principal in Project SNOWstorm, a project tracking Snowy Owls. He has published a number of scientific papers
and authored numerous species accounts in both Maryland Breeding Bird Atlases, as well as the Northern Goshawk accounts in the recent Pennsylvania and West Virginia atlases.

Tuesday, March 13 2017 at 7:30 pm
College Park Airport Operations Building                                 

"Birds and Climate Change: Using Climate Change Projections to Inform Conservation Throughout the Americas"

presented by Chad Wilsey

Dr. Chad Wilsey is Director of Conservation Science in the science division of the National Audubon Society. He will will cover the approaches that National Audubon is taking to gather data on the effects of climate change on birds, and how this data can be used to shape policy.  Chad leads a team of scientists conducting analyses in support of Audubonís national initiatives, including Climate
Change. His research focuses on climate change impacts to birds, and he was a co-author of Audubonís 2014 Bird and Climate Change Report. Recently, Chad authored a report on Birds and Water in the Arid West.

Chad has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.S. from the University of Puget Sound. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and daughter.

Questions or comments?  Contact the PGAS Webmaster at:

last updated 1/1/2018