Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 54 | Number 7 | March 2023
Next meeting: March 15!
Red-winged Blackbird by Mike Moore.


Get your team ready for our annual Bird-a-thon: May 6-14, 2023! Our fundraising target property will be announced soon.

The Bird-A-Thon is a competitive fundraiser focused on purchasing and conserving critical habitat in Delaware. Over 15 years we have raised over $600,000 and protected 2,100 acres of habitat for shorebirds and other coastal species of concern. Many of these sites are used by long-distance migrants, including the famous Red Knot. A portion of the funds are also used to support the DOS Conservation Science Grants program.

President’s Challenge: $100 donation from the DOS President to any team adding Blue-winged Warbler to their Bird-a-thon list. 

New Additional President's Challenge: $500 donation to any team that first discovers a species that is on the Delaware Bird Records Committee review list.
Keep an eye on the DOS website for more information.

Letter from the President

A profile of DOS President Mike Moore. This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Delaware Ornithological Society. Sixty years of dedication to enjoying, protecting, and studying Delaware's bird life. This mission has many facets and I think this month we should all reflect on what we have accomplished, entirely with a driven community of volunteers. 
DOS conducts birding field trips and monthly meetings, but also much more than these typical bird club functions. DOS runs the only two Hawk Watches in the state and six of the seven Delaware Christmas Bird Counts. Our Falcon Watch program live-streams the activities of urban nesting Peregrines to a world-wide audience. Our community engagement spans all ages because of our Youth Birding program.
Our signature event is the Bird-a-thon which has generated over $600,000 used to permanently protect 2,100 acres of critical habitat and has brought national prominence to DOS. We also work with state and federal politicians to pass conservation-informed legislation.
DOS also works to make bird knowledge accessible to everyone by maintaining our website, distributing the weekly Delaware Birdline, sharing the monthly DOS Flyer newsletter, and publishing our annual journal, The Delaware Ornithologist. 
Through our 60 years of effort, it’s clear that DOS members shine with a passion for birds and service. We hope you will consider your place in DOS and how you might serve our organization, our community, and the wildlife we love.
Leading this organization has been a richly rewarding experience for me. But the bylaws stipulate that I must step down on 30 June. I have loved being DOS president and cannot recommend the experience highly enough. We must find a new president to continue our mission, and we need your help. We have not yet identified a willing candidate. Therefore, I encourage you to consider running. If you are interested in serving or know someone who may be, please contact us.
 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

March 15 Meeting:

Annual Christmas Bird Count Recap
March 15 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Usually held in January, this meeting was moved to March due to a scheduling conflict. Join host Jim White and other Christmas Count compilers for a recap of all the exciting discoveries during the 2022-2023 Christmas Counts. Each compiler will summarize the highlights of their count and discuss recent trends in bird populations.

The meeting is in person at Ashland Nature Center.

2023 Lifetime Achievement Award

At the January 18 DOS members meeting, Sally O-Byrne was awarded the DOS Lifetime Achievement Award. This is DOS’s highest award and Sally becomes only the ninth recipient of this award in DOS’s 60 year history (list of winners here). The bylaws state that the recipient of this award “must be a member who has made a prolonged and significant contribution to the affairs of the Society.” 

Sally has been a pillar of the Delaware birding community for decades and has served DOS and the community in many ways. Just a few examples: she served two terms as DOS president, founded the DOS conservation committee and named Bill Stewart its first chair. She was awarded the DOS Conservation Award in 2018 and becomes only the third person to win both DOS awards. Sally served as the coordinator for the hawk watches, a complex multiagency project, for more than a decade. She has been the long-time compiler of the Rehoboth Christmas Bird Count. She regularly leads DOS field trips. She is known for her research on Chimney Swift roosting behavior and has published two articles in the Delaware Ornithologist on the results. 

This award is richly deserved and serves as a thank you to Sally from the Delaware birding community for all of her contributions and leadership over the years. 

Upcoming Field Trips

Nanticoke Wildlife Area – Phillips Landing with Anthony Gonzon
April 16 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Barred owl by Chris Bennett. A barred owl perched overhead, surrounded by branches and green leaves.
Barred Owl by Chris Bennett.
***Note two meeting times & places!***

Join Anthony for a visit to the southwest corner of Delaware along the Nanticoke River and Broad Creek. Search for newly arrived migrants and summer residents, including Prothonotary and Worm-eating Warblers, and for year-round specialties like Barred Owls. Northern participants can meet Anthony at the Odessa Park & Ride at Routes 1 and 299 at 6:00 am. Southern participants can meet the group at Phillips Landing at 8:00 am. A Conservation Access Pass may be necessary for some locations.

Our leader is Anthony Gonzon, contact at [email protected], if you have any questions about this trip.

Evening Rail Trip with Andy Ednie
April 29 @ 9:00 pm – April 30 @ 1:00 am EDT

Saltmarsh at sunrise by Tim Freiday. A beautiful purple and pink cloudy sky blankets a dimly lit view of saltmarsh. A paved road cuts through the foreground at an angle.
Saltmarsh at sunrise by Tim Freiday.
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. 

Our leader is Andy Ednie, please contact at [email protected] if you plan to attend or have questions about this trip.

*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.

Red Knot Youth Birders

The Red Knot Youth Birders logo, which is a digital rendering of a red knot walking, surrounded by text.
 Sunday, March 19th, 8:30 to 10:30
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

On this field trip, we will explore all that this fascinating urban wildlife refuge has to offer, which is also the largest remaining tidal freshwater marsh in Pennsylvania! Raptors, waterfowl, wading birds, and other water birds are all possibilities. We will bring scopes and binoculars to borrow. There are no entrance fees for this refuge.

Meet at the Visitor Center parking lot
8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia PA 19153

Sunday, April 23rd, 8:00 to 11:00
Bucktoe Creek Preserve

This trip kicks off our exploration of spring migration!  We will explore the trails searching for early migrant songbirds like phoebes, gnatcatchers, and hopefully some warblers.  Binoculars will be available to borrow.

Meet at the parking area: 432 Sharp Rd, Avondale PA 19311

Sunday, May 21st, 8:00 to 10:00
Ted Harvey Wildlife Management Area:
 Logan Lane Central Tract

Our trip to Ted Harvey will explore shorebird migration.  From the parking area, we will walk along the roadway through the marsh and out onto the beach to look for shorebirds like sandpipers, plovers, and the Red Knots that give our group its name.  Binoculars and scopes will be available to borrow.  Conservation Access Pass required.

East of Dover, DE. Map of parking area here.

Sunday, June 11th, 8:00 to 10:00
Bellevue State Park

This trip will focus on the breeding birds in northern Delaware, including warblers, vireos, finches, catbirds, and orioles.  We will also look for acrobatic aerial insectivores like chimney swifts and purple martins.  Loaner binoculars will be available.  State park fees will be in effect.

Meet at the parking lot by the park office
800 Carr Road, Wilmington DE 19809
In February, the Red Knot Youth Birders visited Bombay Hook for a morning of duck-watching. We started off enjoying the sounds of Snow Geese flying overhead and Red-winged Blackbirds serenading in the fields near the Visitor Center. From there, we explored flocks of Northern Shoveler, discussed how to identify Northern Pintail in flight, and even got a chance to observe a large flock of Wilson’s Snipe doing their best to hide in Shearness Pool!
Sign up at [email protected] to receive field trip schedules and other updates for the fall.

Time to renew your membership?

All members in good standing receive the Delaware Ornithologist journal in December. This year’s issue is big with lots of interesting articles. Don’t miss it and renew your membership now! Memberships must be renewed by November 15th to receive a copy!

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 annual pass is $32.50 for Delaware vehicles and $65.00 for out-of-state vehicles. Click here to get your pass!
Shop DOS Merchandise!
American Goldfinch by Shannon Modla.

DOS Conservation Science Grants

The Delaware Ornithological Society (DOS) Conservation Science Grants support innovative investigations into bird conservation challenges. DOS encourages projects with a strong emphasis on species and habitat conservation and management. We also are interested in projects that greatly enhance our understanding of the conservation requirements of bird species of conservation concern.

To be eligible for funding, projects must be located within the state of Delaware or within the Delaware Estuary in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Projects in adjacent areas with results that are transferable to this focus area may be considered at the discretion of the committee (please contact us before submitting).

Open to non-profit organizations; university-affiliated researchers, including graduate students; and to qualified unaffiliated researchers. University-affiliated proposals must be submitted directly by the Principal Investigator.

Deadline: April 15, 2023
Find more details and the grant application here.

Call for nominations for Officer Positions and Fellow & Honorary members

We are seeking to fill upcoming vacancies in DOS President and Vice-President. The President is responsible for: presiding at regular monthly meetings, leading the Council and Executive Committee, and in general be the chief executive of the Society.

The Vice-President is responsible for assuming the responsibilities of the President in the event that they are unable to serve, assisting the President in the administration of the affairs of the Society and serving as chair of the Program Committee, where they are responsible for arranging the programs for the regular monthly meetings of the Society.

If you are interested in serving or nominating someone for these positions, please contact Scott Northey.


It’s that time of year again when we start accepting nominations for DOS Fellows and Honorary Members! Nominations for either category can be submitted to Mary Braun.

Nominees for DOS Fellow must be active members of at least two years standing who have made a significant contribution to the affairs of the Society, preferably as a Committee or Council member, and/or to the ornithology of the greater Delaware area.

Nominees for Honorary Membership should be of national prominence in the field of ornithology or a closely related field and have been of service to the Society.

~Mary Braun, DOS Membership Committee
Field trip participants from Chris Bennett's recent Sea Watch III at the Indian River Inlet/ Delaware Seashore State Park.

Falcon Watch Announcement

Photo by David Lewis.

This season we welcome two new camera feeds to our Peregrine Falcon Watch live cams! The cameras are installed and links to those streams will be shared as soon as they are available. Check back here.

June Picnic Announcement

Mark your calendars: our annual June Picnic will be held on the 24th.
Location to be announced.

New Bombay Hook Trail

A new 2.5 mile forest trail for Bombay Hook NWR will open this spring. The trailhead is just outside the new Visitor Center and will wind through the Shearness Pool shoreline forest. The trail highlights older growth stands of mixed hardwoods in Bombay Hook NWR. Stay tuned for the official opening date! See more details here.


Are you a Black birder or Brown birder that lives in the United States or Puerto Rico and identifies as Black, African-American, and/or Latinx/e/a/o? Are you also an undergraduate student studying in STEAM? Apply for the annual Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship through Amplify The Future.

DEADLINE: April 15, 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. Two students will receive a one-time annual award. For questions or to submit supporting documentation, please email: [email protected].

Perryville Field Trip Report

Last month Andy Ednie led a successful field trip to historic Perryville to observe waterfowl along the Chesapeake. Read his trip report here.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"Are You Ready for Nesting Season?"

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

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

Bird ID Pop Quiz

This songbird species is often ironically remembered by its lack of memorable features, as they tend to be drab gray-olive and otherwise plain. However, they always have telltale yellow undertail coverts!

Check your answer
here. Photo by Shannon Modla.

We'd love more quiz photos! Send yours to
[email protected] 

DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Andrew Dunn continues to lead the pack in the yard birding challenge, gaining 4 species in the last month. The competition should heat up in March as early migrants start winging their way north!

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of March 2, 2023.

Member Photo Gallery

Horned Lark by Mike Moore. Virginia Rail by Shannon Modla.
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.
Current DOS Officers & Committee Chairs
Copyright © 2022 Delaware Ornithological Society, All rights reserved.

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

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