Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 54 | Number 9 | May 2023
Next meeting: May 17th
Blue Grosbeak by Mike Moore.


Get your team ready for our annual Bird-a-thon: May 6-14, 2023!

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.May is the favorite birding month for many birders and who can deny the thrill of finding a flock of brightly colored spring warblers. But May is also the time for the DOS Bird-a-thon. This is our signature fundraising event and has raised an astounding $718,000 and protected 2,680 acres of critical wetland habitat. I hope you are planning to participate, donate or both in this event which runs from 6-14 May. We recently added a page to the website with more details about the history of the event including the money raised and land purchased.

For many years, the Bird-a-thon focused on the Red Knot. Red Knots also migrate through in May and congregate in places like Slaughter Beach and Mispillion Harbor to feed on the rich abundance of Horseshoe Crab eggs. The last two years were disastrous for the Red Knot because cold weather delayed the spawning of the crabs until after the Red Knots had migrated through. We still do not know how much this impacted the population of this federally endangered Red Knot subspecies. I was relieved to see on a visit to Mispillion Harbor in late April that the crabs are already spawning. So, barring a sudden cold spell, there should be an abundance of crab eggs and we are eagerly awaiting to see how many Knots return to feed on them.
A great triumph for Bird-a-thon was completing the purchase of all the shoreline at Mispillion Harbor to help protect the Knot’s feeding areas. Since DOS does not manage land, this land was turned over to the state. After some delays, there are now signs that the state is actively managing this property, most notably a new fence to prevent access to the shoreline.

Another big DOS-sponsored event each spring is Falcon Cam. The Wilmington Falcons Facebook page has over 3,000 followers from all over the world! We are excited that DOS had two additional falcon cams installed this spring with funds from Chemours. The two cameras give us a view outside of the nest box for the first time and will be especially helpful tracking fledglings during the Fledge Watch. Check them out on the DOS webpage.

There has been lots of drama at the falcon nest box this spring. After over a decade of hosting the same pair, named Trinity and Red Girl, a new pair has taken over, named Bridget and Whitman. This new pair has been very slow to lay eggs, but as of this writing there were two eggs in the nest box. We will have to wait and see whether any more will be laid or if they are viable.

Hope your spring is filled with Blackburnians, Cape Mays, and Magnolias and I hope to see you in the field.

 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

May 17 Meeting:

“Supporting Backyard Birds with Native Plants”
by Leah Brooks
May 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

From fruiting shrubs to seed-bearing wildflowers, native plants provide shelter and forage that are essential to our local birds. Take an in-depth look at how plants that add seasonal interest to the home garden also serve as lifelines for our feathered friends. Join Leah Brooks as she explores the intricate connections between native plants and the animals that have evolved alongside them.

Leah Brooks is Mt. Cuba’s Public Programs Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Delaware with dual bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Wildlife Ecology. Leah’s an avid contributor to the Delaware Native Plant Identification and Exchange group on Facebook. Her passion is sharing the joy of nature and native gardening with others.

The meeting is in person at Ashland Nature Center.

Candidates for DOS
Officer Positions

Below is the list of candidates for DOS Officer positions that will be voted on at the May 2023 meeting. We are excited to announce that Joe Francis has agreed to become the next DOS president. However, Joe cannot start until July of 2024 so we will need to pass a bylaws amendment at the May meeting to allow Mike Moore to serve an additional year until Joe can step in.  

We are still looking for volunteers to serve as Vice President. The primary responsibility of the VP is to find speakers for the monthly meetings. However, Scott Northey has agreed to serve in this position for one year unless someone else steps up.  

President: Mike Moore
Vice President: Scott Northey
Secretary: Shannon Modla
Treasurer: Angie Barbato
Councilor:  Matt Halley

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. 

Scott Northey joined DOS Council in 2020 and has since served a three-year term as a Council Member-at-Large. Scott played an instrumental role in working with DOS leadership on a successful grant application through his employer, Chemours, which has the potential to award over $100,000 towards DOS initiatives such as youth birding, the annual Wilmington Falcon Watch, and the Delaware Bird-A-Thon. Scott is an Environmental Compliance and Strategy Manager at Chemours’ Chambers Works Facility in Deepwater, NJ. He has spent almost 30 years working in the environmental field in the areas of chemical manufacturing, regulatory compliance, remediation, and sustainability.

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.

Cataldi Bird and Nature Walk with Matt Sarver
May 6th @ 8am-10:30am EDT

Photo by Matt Sarver.

Join Matt Sarver for a sneak preview nature walk to our 2022 Bird-a-thon property, the Cataldi Tract, soon to be part of Woodland Beach Wildlife Management Area. This property is not yet open to the public. We should expect to see a nice combination of marsh, forested wetlands, and wildflowers. Rubber boots are recommended. Come help us document the biodiversity on this new parcel!

Meet at the parking lot across the street. Contact Matt at [email protected] if you have any questions.


Blackbird State Forest with Ian Stewart
May 7 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am EDT

Indigo Bunting by Mike Moore.

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 its lesser known corners in search of specialty birds and fresh experiences! Helpfully offered during the week of the Delaware 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). There is no admission fee to the state forest.

Limited to 20 participants so please let us know you’re coming with an RSVP to the email listed below!

Our leader is Ian Stewart, contact at [email protected].

Alapocas Woods with Joe Francis
May 13 @ 7:30 am – 10:30 am EDT

Baltimore Oriole by Mike Moore.

Visit an oasis within the city of Wilmington with good successional field habitat, mature woodlands and the Brandywine River. Target birds include migrating warblers and thrushes as well as the many summer and year-round residents. Helpfully offered during the week of the Delaware Bird-A-Thon for folks out for the count!

Contact Carolyn at [email protected] if you have any questions about this trip.

Meet at the Blue Ball Barn near the traffic circle on West Park Drive off Rt 141.

Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area with Chris Bennett
May 13 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Kentucky Warbler by Mike Moore.

Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, located northwest of Felton in Kent County, is a mosaic of forest, fields, and wetlands near the geographic center of Delaware. The site is a lightly birded area teeming with great breeding songbirds including Pine, Kentucky and Worm-eating Warblers, Ovenbirds, Yellow-throated Vireos, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos and more. With luck, we may also find a nice variety of migrants as well. We will be walking a flat, unimproved road for a distance of about 4 miles. Offered during the week of the Delaware Bird-A-Thon for folks out for the count!

Contact Carolyn at [email protected] if you have any questions about this trip.

A Conservation Access Pass is required to park in the Wildlife Area parking lot where we will meet. The parking lot is located on Five Foot Prong Road near its junction with Firetower Road.

Mother’s Day Walk at White Clay Creek with
Judy Montgomery & Mike Hudson
May 14 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Pileated Woodpecker by Mike Moore.

Come spend Mother’s Day at beautiful White Clay Creek State Park looking for local breeding birds and late migrants still passing through.  Offered during the DE Bird-A-Thon (DBAT)

Contact Carolyn at [email protected] if you have any questions about this trip.

Meet at the Chambers House Nature Center off of Hopkins Road in Newark; State Park Fee/Pass required.

Redden State Forest with Anthony Gonzon
May 21 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Yellow-throated Warbler by Chris Bennett

Join Anthony for a leisurely hike at two great birding hotspots in Redden State Forest! Target birds will include southern Delaware summer nesters such as Summer Tanager, Worm-eating Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler and more.
Northern participants can meet Anthony at 6:30 am at the Odessa Park & Ride at Routes 1 and 299. Southern participants can meet the group at the Redden State Forest Headquarters at 8:00 am.

Contact Carolyn at [email protected] if you have any questions about this trip.


Fair Hill Bobolink Trip with Ian Stewart
June 3 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Bobolink by Mike Moore.

Fair Hill NRMA nearby in Maryland boasts breeding Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Savannah Sparrows, all within easy view from numerous groomed trails throughout their grassland habitats. Excellent photographic opportunities within a short walk of the parking area where we’ll meet. Much of the time will be spent enjoying the Bobolinks and Sparrows tending their young, but we may also explore adjacent woodlands along the Big Elk Creek for additional species. The multiple management practices throughout the 5,656 acres will provide the potential for participants to note 60+ various bird species during our visit!

Contact Carolyn at [email protected] if you have any questions about this trip.

Meet at North Appleton Parking Lot #3 (2895 Appleton Road) – Day fee in effect

Red Knot Youth Birders

The Red Knot Youth Birders logo, which is a digital rendering of a red knot walking, surrounded by text.
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
Sign up at [email protected] to receive field trip schedules and other updates for the fall.

Nanticoke WLA Field Trip Report

Read the full report here.

First State National Historic Park
Trip Report


The trip to First State National Historic Park on May 3rd was a great success! Despite the past week’s chilly weather slowing migration and some rain during the walk putting a damper on bird activity, we still ended up with nine warbler species including a vocal Blue-winged, Black-and-white, and Prairie. Other migrants seen and/or heard included both species of oriole, Indigo Bunting, and Yellow-throated Vireo. Thanks so much to everyone who joined me for this walk and I look forward to running another DOS trip at First State during fall migration.”  — Declan O’Neil

River of Raptors Trip
DNS & ProNatura Veracruz

Swainson's Hawks above Veracruz by John Mercer.

Sally O'Byrne is leading a trip to Veracruz, Mexico to see the River of Raptors next September. It is a Delaware Nature Society trip working with ProNatura Veracruz.

This trip will not only feature the largest migration in the Western Hemisphere, there will also be birding in a variety of habitats around Veracruz as well as historic and cultural sites.

Here is the link to the brochure and detailed itinerary.   

Sally can answer anyone’s questions about the details here.
Shop DOS Merchandise

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!

Wilmington Falcon Watch


Photo by David Lewis.
We now have two eggs! Check out our falcon cams here.

June Picnic Announcement

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

Shorebird License Plate Reminder

The DOS specialty license plates are starting to show up in the wild! Have you gotten yours yet? They are available at your local DMV, details here.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"Don't take down your feeders, the best is yet to come!"

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

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

Bird ID Pop Quiz

It's baby bird season! What's this bird? 

Check your answer here. P
hoto by Katie Bird at Ashland Nature Center.

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

DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Andrew Dunn is well in the lead, gaining 26 species in the last month. Can he be caught? Migration is in full swing -- keep your eyes on your yard birds!

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of May 3, 2023.

Member Photo Gallery

Prothonotary Warbler by Mike Moore. Palm Warbler 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 © 2023 Delaware Ornithological Society, All rights reserved.

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

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