Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 53 | Number 5 | January 2022
Next meeting: January 19th!
Eastern Bluebird by Shannon Modla.

Letter from the President

New Year’s Eve has special significance to birders who keep year lists. As the clock strikes 12:00 on New Year’s Eve, all year lists reset to zero and the chase begins anew. Starlings, Grackles, Robins and Canada Geese become sought after birds for a few days. To me this one of the fun parts of keeping a year list. Common birds become significant once again and you develop a new appreciation for them (especially if you are missing one after a couple of weeks!). In 2021, I know of 4 birders who reached the magic number of 300 or more birds on their Delaware year lists. You can see year list totals for birders who use eBird, by going to Explore/Top 100 on
Sadly, it looks like the pandemic will be with us for a while, which continues to put an emphasis on the importance of outdoor recreation. Not only is outdoor recreation safe, but it is important to reduce stress and for your mental health in general. One of the best ways to combat pandemic burnout is to get outdoors. If you have never kept a year list, this might be the year to give it a try. Running up a big year list means keeping tabs on the rare bird reports, discussed last month, and journeying to all parts of the state to fill in your list. Although some people consider it meaningless “ornitho-golfing”, by pursing a year list, I gain an appreciation of the wide diversity of birds and habitats in Delaware. But, yes, I enjoy the friendly competition aspects of it as well.
Whether you keep a year list or not, I hope you get outdoors as much as possible and that we all get though the next few months safe and well.

-Mike Moore, DOS President

Renew your membership now!
Have photos of yourself birding? The Flyer would love to feature you! Send your birder selfies to [email protected]. Photo above by Katie Bird, in a patch along the Christina River.

DOS Flyer Archive

Click here to read digital copies of past Flyers.

January 19th Meeting:
Annual CBC Recap


Join host Jim White and other Christmas Count compilers for a recap of all the exciting discoveries during the 2021-2022 Christmas Counts. Each compiler will summarize the highlights of their count and discuss recent trends in bird populations.

The meeting is held online from 7-9pm via Zoom software.

Members will receive an email with Zoom login info prior to the meeting.  If you are not a member and would like to attend, please click here to request login info which is available a few days before the meeting.

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you soon!

Upcoming Field Trips

A group of birders silhouetted against a sky and ocean.

Sea Watching 2021-2022
Indian River Inlet (South side parking lot)
8:00am - 12:00pm
Join Anthony Gonzon and Chris Bennett for brisk birding adventures at the Indian River Inlet this winter!

Sea Watch II – January 23 (Sunday) 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM
Sea Watch III – March 13 (Sunday)  8:00 AM until 12:00 PM

To be enjoyed at the Southside Day Use Area (lot on the south side of Indian River Inlet along ocean). Come prepared for cold conditions and the seashore wind and bring your scope if you have one – as a COVID precaution there will be no scope sharing, but we will try to round up some extras.

Participants should monitor the DOS website and social media for last minute changes due to weather or other conditions.

A male Eastern Towhee perches in some green briar.

Midwinter Bird Walk at Alapocas with Sally O’Byrne

January 15, 2022 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Come out and get to know some of the birds that are at home in the woods and fields during winter!

Sally O’Byrne – [email protected]

Meet at the Blue Ball Barn near traffic circle on Rt 141.
Blue Ball Barn, 1914 W Park Dr, Wilmington, DE 19803


Owl Walk with Jim White (DOS Members Only)
February 13, 2022 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location to be determined – Owl Walk with Jim White

Full day search in various locations for as many species of owls as possible, and other raptors along the way! Bring snacks, lunch etc, although there is typically a stop around lunchtime at Wawa/Royal Farms to refuel. Be sure to dress appropriately for extended periods of time in the mid-winter elements!

DOS members only – MUST contact Jim if you’d like to attend, registration is required (302) 593-9622



Submission period opens January 15th, 2022 and closes March 15th, 2022.

Open to undergraduate students 18 and older, in any year of their college studies (full-time undergraduate). Through this scholarship, we seek to increase the number of Black birders and Latinx birders studying in STEAM. Scholarship awards range from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $5,000, depending on funding for the current year. Click here for more details on how to apply!

The committee for the annual Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship includes independent members and members of Amplify the Future, American Bird Conservancy, Audubon Society, Audubon New York, and DC Audubon Society.

Christmas Bird Counts

The Delaware Ornithological Society sponsors six counts: Wilmington, Middletown, Bombay Hook, Rehoboth, Cape Henlopen/Prime Hook and Milford. All the counts are looking for birders to participate. Contact the appropriate count compiler if you are interested in joining any or all of this year’s Christmas counts. New birders are always welcome. The counts are free to all participants.
~Jim White, DOS Christmas Count Coordinator
[email protected]
Brown-headed Nuthatch by Mike Moore.

Access Pass Reminder

Don't forget: Conservation Access Passes are required to visit state wildlife areas such as Augustine (including Ashton Tract), Assawoman, Cedar Swamp, and Woodland Beach.
The cost to renew your pass is $32.50 for Delaware vehicles and $65.00 for out-of-state vehicles. Click here to get your pass!
Can you spot the Ross's Goose among the sea of Snow Geese? Be on the lookout for these stubby-billed birds at Bombay Hook and other places where Snow Geese gather in large numbers. Photo by Shannon Modla.
David Brown 2021 Ashland Hawk Watch Summary

Meet DOS Member Lisa Smith!

Lisa (left) after a pelagic trip with Alvaro Jaramillo in San Francisco (2019). They are posed together while on a boat.
Lisa after a pelagic trip with Alvaro Jaramillo in San Francisco (2019).

Lisa Smith is the executive director at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, DE. She has been a DOS member for approximately 10 years, and has served as an at-large member of DOS Council from 2014 – 2017. While she has lived “just over the line” in PA for nearly 20 years, she is a born and bred Delawarean and loves all that Delaware birding has to offer.

What is the best thing about being a part of DOS?
I like going on field trips to new spots that I’m not familiar with – it can be helpful to have an experienced person showing you the trails, birdy spots, parking, etc. I also like meeting other birders and comparing notes on good birding spots. DOS has a supportive and encouraging culture for birders of all experience levels, and I really appreciate that.

Do you have a ‘spark’ bird?
Not really… I grew up in Hockessin in the 70s when it was quite rural, and my parents’ house was surrounded by woods and fields (not quite so much anymore, unfortunately). My dad and his parents loved birds, and we’d often walk around our yard and theirs (it all used to be part of the same farm), and I can remember a lot of great birds in my youth. One year, we had a Baltimore Oriole and an Orchard Oriole nesting in the same apple tree. I also remember my grandmother patiently explaining the difference to me between White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows until I could finally ID them myself. I think I was about 9 or 10. Andy Ednie and I have a running joke about those White-crowned Sparrows in Hockessin…

What is your favorite bird and why?
Oh, I’m not falling for that. Too many favorites to name, and they change seasonally. I’m currently in love with the Evening Grosbeaks on Cornell’s Ontario Feeder webcam. In general, though, waterfowl are my favorite type of bird.

What is your favorite bird song?
It’s hard to beat a Wood Thrush or Veery, but I also love *all* the noises that Carolina Wrens make. They are so mouthy, and I also love that they belt out their song in the dead of winter; it puts a smile on my face every time.

Do you have a favorite birding patch?
This area has so many great birding spots that it’s hard to pick just one, and they also vary by season. I do go to Bombay Hook the most, though. It’s so relaxing to just drive around and look at the birds.

Do you have a favorite bird book, website, or app?
I am a bit addicted to the feeder cams that Cornell offers, particularly the ones in Ontario and Panama. It’s fun to see such different bird species but also see the similarities with local species in the same family.

When is your favorite time of year to bird?
Spring is great, but it can be a little overwhelming with every bird coming back at once (or so it seems). It’s hard to beat the springtime shorebird spectacle and also the fallouts of songbirds during migration. Fall is great for hawks and also songbirds, and winter is fantastic for ducks. We always get a trip in to Indian River Inlet in January to say our seasonal hello to the scoters, Long-tailed ducks, loons, and Canvasbacks.

What’s the farthest you’ve traveled to bird or see a particular bird?
I don’t do a lot of “chasing,” but during the Snowy Owl irruption in 2013, I drove down to Sussex County and saw my lifer Snowy Owl -- only to see two more that day, at Bombay Hook and along Rt. 9 (the one that EVERYONE saw that day). That was a pretty cool day (also got a lifer Greater White-fronted goose), and I ended up with the unintended hat trick of a Snowy Owl in every county. Dumb luck.

Share a favorite bird fact.
There are so many! My personal saying is “There is nothing about birds that isn’t cool!” From their thermodynamics to their aerodynamics to their plumage and fascinating physiology to their breeding and feeding strategies… so many cool things! I think one of my favorite facts is that birds are waterproof due to the interlocking structures in the feathers, and many birds have serrations in their bills or “combs” on their toes to help keep these interlocking structures (and thus, their waterproofing) intact. Birds don’t preen just to look pretty – it’s for survival!

What advice would you give to someone newly interested in birds?
Just do it! It doesn’t matter what you know and what you don’t. No one was born knowing how to ID a Sharpie from a Coops, so you can learn it, too. But – don’t try to learn it all at once. Try learning a few warblers or shorebirds each spring, and a few hawks each fall, and build on it each year. It definitely takes time, especially if you are, ah, a little older when the interest hits. Also, don’t get so wrapped up in ID that you don’t enjoy watching the behaviors and interactions. To me, that’s one of the best parts of birding. I could spend all day watching birds bathe, no matter what the species.

How have birds changed your life?
I can’t imagine a life without birds and birding. They have connected me to nature and to other people, and my life is rich and rewarding because of these connections.
Adult White-crowned Sparrow. Photo by Mike Moore.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"Recycling Works! 
This Suet Plug feeder is made entirely out of Wild Birds Unlimited seed bags."

A Pileated Woodpecker using a recycled bird bag suet feeder.

Wild Birds Unlimited-Hockessin 
Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm.

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

Bird ID Pop Quiz!
What's this bird? Click here for the answer.
Photo by Shannon Modla.

DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Aaron Reb secured an astounding unbroken win for the 2021 Challenge! Congrats and outstanding work. Nearly 200 species in one yard is an incredible accomplishment.

Thank you to all our other competitors as well. We hope this year of birding has brought you closer to the nature you can find at home.

A New Year means a new season of our DOS Backyard Birding Challenge! Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of January 1, 2022.

Member Photo Gallery

Common Loon by Mike Moore. Short-eared Owl by Shannon Modla.
Want to see your photos in the Flyer? Submit them to [email protected]!
Copyright © 2020 Delaware Ornithological Society, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
DOS, P.O. Box 4247, Wilmington, DE 19807

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You may unsubscribe to this list here: {{Unsubscribe URL}}.

For the best Flyer viewing experience, check to make sure your email inbox display settings allow images.