| PGAS monthly
held on the second Tuesday of
September through June, in partnership with the Patuxent
Bird Club, a chapter of the Maryland Ornithological
There are no programs scheduled
the summer months. PGAS members
are encouraged to attend monthly meetings and non-members are always
The formal program always begins at 7:30 pm,
doors open at 7:00 for informal conversation, refreshments, and
of birding news. Each program opens with brief statements from
of both clubs about upcoming events, items of interest and other club
followed by the featured speaker with a question-and-answer period
Click on the location links
below for directions and click on the
dates for more information about the presentations.
|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 Darwin’s 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 Darwin’s observations of plants and animals found
nowhere else in the world that later inspired his theory of evolution.
Claudia’s 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 George’s chapter and is
a public speaker for Audubon’s 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 Master’s 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 Ferguson’s 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
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 Maryland’s 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 Resources’
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
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, 2018
at 7:30 pm
Park Airport Operations Building
"Birds and Climate Change: Using Climate Change Projections to Inform Conservation throughout the Americas"
presented by Zachary Slavin
Slavin from the National Audubon Society will speak about the Society’s
work on climate change, including the development of the Audubon
climate models (http://climate.audubon.org/
) based on citizen science data and how the new Climate Watch program is designed to test them.
Zach is a Program Manager with National Audubon Society’s Science
Division, where he works on citizen science programs, including the
Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, and Hummingbirds at
Home. Previously he managed the Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants
program that provided funding and training to environmental projects
and leaders around the country. Zach also serves on the Board of
Directors of the Audubon Society of the District of Columbia and is
currently president of that organization. Zach holds a Bachelor of Arts
in Biology and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University. Zach
enjoys leading bird walks, especially for beginners, and is also
interested in bird and wildlife photography.
|Tuesday, April 10, 2018
at 7:30 pm
Park Airport Operations Building
"Playing Dr. Doolittle: Understanding Bird Songs and Social Behavior"
Presented by Dr. Kim Derrickson
Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll – Avian Style. Well, maybe not the drugs, but more than enough of the other two to make an
entertaining evening. Come hear about the amazing lives of our
feathered friends. You will be utterly amazed by its complexity.
Come learn about our local avian virtuoso, the Northern Mockingbird,
and hear why they keep you up at night singing from your chimney.
Dr. Kim Derrickson, our speaker for this evening, will tell you all you
ever wanted to know* about Northern Mockingbirds (*and you don’t have
to be afraid to ask). He will also discuss his various research
endeavors attempting to unravel the social lives and singing styles of
another local species with a beautiful song, the
Wood Thrush, and a Panamanian bird, the Dusky Antbird. As these
stories unfold, you will see how experiences in the field, several
completely unexpected, have directed and altered Kim’s research
efforts. During the presentation, we will explore questions such
as: Why do mockingbirds have one of the largest vocal repertoires
of any bird species? How do birds know how far away a neighbor is
by listening? Why are there good Dads and poor Dads in Wood
Thrushes when it comes to parental care? And, do Wood Thrushes
actually see their eggs?
Dr. Kim Derrickson is an Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of
the Department of Biology at Loyola University, Maryland where he
teaches an introductory course on ecology, evolution, and biodiversity
and upper level courses in animal behavior and evolution. He has
also taught upper-level courses in avian biology, ecology, conservation
biology, and ecosystems during which
he took classes to the Amazon Rainforest and our Desert
Southwest. His research has been supported by the National
Foundation and Smithsonian Institution. He has published over 20
scientific papers and given numerous professional presentations on the
behavior of several local species, most notably Northern Mockingbird
and Wood Thrush. Kim is recognized as one of the world’s experts
on the Northern Mockingbird, a local species with an exceptionally
large vocal repertoire. He also participated in a long-term study
at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on the singing behavior
and mating system of the Dusky Antbird. In recognition of his
research career, he has been appointed an Elective Fellow of the
American Ornithological Society. Dr. Derrickson earned his B.Sc.
degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his Ph.D. from the
University of Pennsylvania. He was a Research Associate at the
National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
before joining the faculty at Loyola.