Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 53 | Number 8 | April 2022
Next meeting: April 20th!
Male American Redstart by Shannon Modla.

Letter from the President

Spring has already arrived in Delaware. The calm before the storm. In terms of birds, March feels like that sometimes. Winter birds are starting leave and there are yet few spring arrivals to take their place. So, if March is the calm, April is the beginning of the bird storm of spring migration that will last through May. For many, the most exciting time of the birding year begins. In spring migration, birds are in their full breeding colors and males are often singing producing a cacophony of both color and sound.
For this reason, we hold our annual Bird-a-thon at this time of year. The 16th Annual Bird-a-Thon is scheduled for May 1-8, 2022. At last year’s Bird-a-thon I issued a President’s challenge and offered $100 donation to any team that saw a Blue-winged Warbler. Six teams earned this special donation. This year’s President’s Challenge bird will be one of my favorite warblers, Cape May Warbler. (When I say favorite, I only have about 40 species of favorite warbler). Bird-a-thon teams recording Cape May Warbler will get a $100 donation from me.
We have a new feature on our website: Birding from Home under the youth birding tab. Although primarily targeted at youth birders, there are lots of resources that may be of interest to many birders of all ages. Check it out!
As I announced at the March members meeting, although the pandemic has waned for now, we will hold the April and May monthly members meetings on Zoom because the speakers we have lined up are not local. However, we are organizing the traditional June picnic and hope to see all of you there. Keep on eye on our webpage for details on all these activities.

 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

Avian Influenza Warning

Snow Geese by Mike Moore.

Recent cases of Eurasian H5 Highly Pathogenic Influenza (HPAI) in Delaware and other states have prompted responses from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Delaware Department of Environmental Control (DNREC).

Please see this DNREC statement for more information on personal precautions and precautions for domestic birds. 

To report groups of dead or sick waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, hawks or owls, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section Wildlife Disease Program at 302-735-3600.

Upcoming Field Trips


Evening Rail Trip with Andy Ednie
April 30 @ 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm EDT

Listen for rails after dark! This may be the only field trip all year where no birds are seen….only heard! A four hour Rail bonanza (in the middle of the night!) targeting 7 species. Bring long boots and bug spray. Andy Ednie  – [email protected]

*All participants must be vaccinated to attend per request of the trip leader
Meet at the Park & Ride at routes 299 & 1 in Middletown, opposite the Wawa


Nanticoke Wildlife Area with Anthony
Sunday May 1, 2022

This trip will focus on recently-arriving songbirds, including Prothonotary and other warbler species, Vireos, Tanagers, along with other residents. A Conservation Access Pass is not required for Phillips Landing, but may be needed at later stops on this trip within the wildlife area.

Meet at Phillips Landing, Nanticoke Wildlife Area at 8 AM. Participants should expect at-grade hiking for most of this field trip. Sturdy waterproof footwear is recommended and be sure to bring along water and insect repellant!

Please contact Anthony Gonzon with questions regarding the trip at [email protected].


Blackbird State Forest
May 7 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT  

Led by Ian Stewart - limited to 20 participants.

In this twist on an old walk, we will explore the area around the headquarters of Blackbird State Forest followed by a convoy to some of it’s lesser known corners in search of specialty birds and fresh experiences! Offered during the week of the DE Bird-A-Thon for folks out for the count.

Meet in the main parking lot by the pavilion (there is a parking lot by the office as you enter but keep on going past that), accessed by the entrance along Rt 471 Blackbird Forest Rd (if you are coming from US 13 the entrance is on your left just after you pass the turn for Oliver Guessford Rd. Please contact Ian to reserve a spot

Red Knot Youth Birders Trips

Sunday April 3rd, 8am to 10am
Join the Red Knot Youth Birders as we explore Middle Run Valley Natural Area in search of recently arrived migrant birds! Youth birders must be accompanied by an adult. Loaner binoculars will be available. Please email [email protected] to RSVP. 
Saturday April 9th, 11am to 3pm
Want to know more about youth birding? Please join us at the Newark Center for Creative Learning’s annual Greenfest where we will have outreach table set up with a bird beaks activity! This is a great opportunity to come talk to youth birding leaders about why birding is such an amazing activity for kids and how your family can get in on all the fun today. Please email [email protected] to RSVP.

April Meeting: Jason Kitting

Bird Bander and Educator at Rio Grande Bird Research

"Understanding the Bird Life of New Mexico’s Rio Grande"

Profile view of a Greater Roadrunner face.

Jason will present about the research and education programs carried out by Rio Grande Bird Research and how these projects support the conservation of New Mexico’s unique avifauna.

Jason grew up in the mountains oJason Kitting Profile Photof central New Mexico where he spent his childhood exploring and enjoying nature. His fascination with birds started when his mother put out a bird bath on the front porch and a flock of Western Bluebirds decided to pay a visit. About a month later Jason put up a birdhouse and had a pair of these beautiful birds setting up home. That summer he then started volunteering at Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico and that was the start of many bird filled years to come.

The meeting is held online 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.

Big Year at DNERR!

Calling all birders, experienced and newbies – the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve has a Big Year challenge for you!

Below are the nominations for next year’s members of the DOS Council.  Elections will be held at the May regular monthly meeting.  At the April monthly meeting the DOS Bylaws state: “any member present may propose additional nominations for any office on the ballot. Any such proposal must be supported by at least five additional members. No nominations may be made after the April regular monthly meeting.”

DOS Council Nominees
Mike Moore: President
Shannon Modla: Secretary
Angie Barbato: Treasurer
Matthew Halley: Vice President
Kayla Krenitsky: Council member

Mike Moore is a retired Biology professor who has been a life member of DOS since he moved to Delaware from Arizona in 2009. He started his life list when he was 11 years old and has been an avid lister ever since.  He serves as an eBird reviewer for Delaware. As current DOS president, he has tried to help advance DOS’s multifaceted mission, strengthen its relationship with partners. and increase its visibility in the birding community. 


Shannon Modla began birding in 2009 in Delaware and enjoys using photography to capture the beauty of birds and other flora and fauna. She is grateful for the conservation efforts put forth by DOS and their ability to secure important habitats that will support populations of birds and other creatures. Shannon has recently become enthusiastic about the implementation of native plants in residential landscapes and their ability to provide ecological benefits.

Angela Barbato: Raptors! Raptors! Raptors! They are what took me beyond backyard birds. I started as a volunteer at the Ashland Hawk Watch in 2012, then joined DOS shortly thereafter and have seen so many amazing things and met so many fantastic people thanks to this membership. Hawk Watch, Falcon Watch, and Bird Banding have been my favorite activities, and now I look forward to taking on a larger role in this one of a kind organization. 

Matthew Halley is an ornithologist and historian from Chester County, PA, who has been active in the Delaware Valley birding community for more than a decade. He is the author of numerous research papers and a popular blog about the evolutionary biology of American birds and the history of American science. He earned an MS degree from Delaware State University (2014) and a PhD from Drexel University (2021), where he conducted extensive research on Catharus thrushes and other American songbirds. Halley is also known for relocating lost artifacts, specimens, and manuscripts which have transformed our understanding of the history of American ornithology. He currently serves as the Interim Curator of Birds at the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science and is a Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Kayla Krenitsky has been a member of DOS since 2018 and currently runs the DOS Instagram account under the membership committee. She has always had a love for nature and wildlife and graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware in 2015. She began seriously birding during college and has been hooked ever since. She is looking forward to contributing to the organization on a deeper level and furthering the mission of DOS.
Blue Jay by Shannon Modla.

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!

2022 Bird-a-thon!

Mark your calendars and get ready to do some birding for a great cause, because the Delaware Bird-A-Thon is back! In the 16 years since it began, the Bird-A-Thon has raised over $600,000 for conservation, helped preserve over 2,400 acres of habitat, and supported DOS's Conservation Science Grants program.

Given this track record, we are thrilled to announce that this year's Bird-A-Thon will take place from May 1-8, 2022! Brochures will be mailed directly to members in April, but registration forms, the full list of rules, and tips and tricks for a successful Bird-A-Thon are available on our website.

In years past, Bird-A-Thon funds have been used to protect critical habitat across the state of Delaware, from the marshlands around Mispillion Harbor to the Fortner Farm in the Augustine Creek drainage to the famous Fowler Beach. This success is wholly because of the support that our partners, and DOS members like you, have shown us. Thank you, and we look forward to another successful Bird-A-Thon!

Meet DOS Member Cynthia Bonnes!
My name is Cynthia Bonnes (she/her). My spouse and birding buddy Gabriel, daughter Anna and her two cats, and our dog Olivia are recent residents of Newark, Delaware. I was born and raised in North Wilmington and am a graduate of Concord High School and Wilmington University. I am in the 27th year in my career with a large global rare disease and oncology biopharmaceutical company. 
I am continuously inspired by the beauty of our natural world and the way diverse environments support each other. I believe everything is connected in one way or another and when we act cohesively we make progress towards a sustainable reciprocal relationship. I consider myself a “bird apprecionado” as I am no expert by any imagination. I enjoy spending free time in the field with my binoculars and camera capturing the amazing birds we have just outside our doors and love sharing my work with others. 

How long have you been a DOS member?  Starting my 4th year in 2022!

What is the best thing about being a part of DOS?  The inclusiveness of the members regardless of experience and membership level. You are welcome to participate however works for you and your needs. As a newer bird enthusiast that has limited free time I am always made to feel welcome when I am able to drop in and learn from the more tenured members and am never made to feel like I don’t belong. What a great way to learn and grow while still balancing my personal and professional life. 

Do you have a ‘spark’ bird?  As a kid I can remember being so enamored by breeding Blue Jays at my Grandparents summer cottage in Elk Township, NJ, even when they attacked me for no apparent reason other than simply existing LOL. As an adult birder I can recall the first time I saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron with my partner at Harry’s Pond at the Brandywine Town Center in Wilmington, DE and just having to know what that amazing bird was. This really started the obsession for us to get out and find new species. 

What is your favorite bird and why?  This changes with seasons. Right now Eastern Bluebirds but once my Common Yellowthroats and Blue Grosbeaks return that might change. I’m always a sucker for any woodpecker. Clearly, I don’t have ONE!! 


Do you have a favorite birding patch?  Ashland Nature Center is my definite go-to year round. A close second is my yard in Newark, DE just next door to White Clay State Park along the Christina.

Do you have a favorite book about birds, bird website or bird app?  North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring by Bruce M. Beehler. Such a great read while going through a Spring Migration bug at the tail end of winter.
When is your favorite time of year to bird?  Spring is most definitely my favorite. There’s so much excitement finding a new patch and enjoying watching and listening to the males woo their mates back to their breeding grounds. Late Spring brings in some of my favorite songbirds at Bombay Hook NWR.
Do you have a favorite ‘type’ of birding?  Backyard birding at home. There’s something so intimate observing “your” birds and watching them thrive in the space you’ve created for them. 

Who’s been your most influential birding mentor?  Jerry Liguori. Hands down the raptor authority that simplified identification of how you actually see them in the fields and possibly the best educator and friend you can ask for. 


Do you create bird-related art?  While I wish I could get into sketching as it seems like such a tangible way to observe each and every subject, I really enjoy bird photography and love sharing my photography on social media for others to gain an appreciation for the world just outside their windows. 

What advice would you give to someone newly interested in birds? Join a local organization (DOS is amazing) and get out on bird walks when you can with other birders at all levels of experience. It is important to find the experience, knowledge and balance with others that are still learning so you feel a deeper connection with the community. Also, be wary of the birder that “knows everything.” That’s impossible and constant learning is what makes birding such an exciting hobby. 

How have birds changed your life?  Besides always having something exciting to do every minute of every day, I have met so many great people that share a passion of preserving and conserving natural resources to protect wildlife and a healthy environment. 
Carolina Chickadee by Shannon Modla.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"It's not just the flowers that are blooming!"

Two bluebirds perched on a WBU nestbox.

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

Andrew Dunn continues in the lead, gaining 27 species since last month.

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of April 11, 2022.

Member Photo Gallery

Eastern Towhee and House Wren by Mike Moore.
Want to see your photos in the Flyer? Submit them to [email protected]!

DOS Flyer Archive

Click here to read digital copies of past Flyers.
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DOS, P.O. Box 4247, Wilmington, DE 19807

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