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Women in Birding-a Force beyond Feathers


Debbie Beer - President of the Birding Club of Delaware County (BCDC)

Women have connected to birds long before there were binoculars, smart phones or social media. As culture and communications evolve, the stories of women's roles in ornithology and birding are emerging with due prominence. In pre-industrial America, it took special grit for a woman to stand out in any scientific endeavor, amid scores of men. It still takes effort, but the scales are tipping as women birders make a difference as ornithologists, teachers, researchers, writers, artists, promoters, tour operators, and inspiration for all who love wild birds. From Rosalie Edge - the hellcat of raptor conservation, and Harriet Hemenway - the plume-scorning fashionista, to Graceanna Lewis - a maverick in bird taxonomy, and Rachel Carson, whose book saved countless endangered species, women have been influential members of the birding community for millenia. Join me to learn about a few women whose names may be unfamiliar, but whose impact is indelible as a force beyond feathers.


Debbie Beer has been an avid birder for more than 20 years. She's travelled to multiple countries and continents for birding, including Africa, India, Brazil and beyond. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia is Debbie's favorite local patch, where she directs the annual "Big Sit" event and leads monthly bird walks. Debbie is fortunate to blend professional and personal interests while working for Natural Lands as Director of Volunteers. In that capacity she manages robust volunteer bird survey, nestbox monitoring, and land stewardship programs on Natural Lands properties. Debbie participates in the annual Christmas Bird Count, Philadelphia Mid-Winter Bird Census and other conservation initiatives. She is an avid eBirder, fellow of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) and president of the Birding Club of Delaware County (BCDC). Debbie is passionate about sharing nature with others, supporting conservation, and advocating access to green space in a diverse, urban community.


Note: This is a virtual meeting. Zoom signon will start at 7:15 to enable the meeting to begin at 7:30.

Debbie Beer



Dr. Jeffrey Buler - Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware

Sparrows Simplified: Making Sense of the Little Brown Jobs


Michael Moore - President of the Delaware Ornithological Society

Many birders struggle with identifying sparrows, referring to them as LBJ's (little brown jobs) or sparrow sp. This talk will help you tackle this difficult group. It will discuss and then attempt to blend the two main approaches to identification, the Peterson System and the Cape May School, to lead you to sparrow identification confidence. Each of the 16 species of regularly occurring sparrows in this area will be compared and contrasted with some discussion of finding and identifying rarities.

Mike is a recently retired Biology professor. He was at Arizona State University for 27 years and then at University of Delaware for 11 years before retiring a couple of years ago. He has published nearly 100 papers in scientific journals on behavior and hormones of birds and reptiles. He worked as an intern at Manomet Bird Observatory in Massachusetts in college and then completed a PhD in Zoology at the University of Washington on White-crowned Sparrows. He started birding in Massachusetts at 11 years old and has pursued it passionately since with a special interest in identification challenges and chasing rarities, splitting his field time between birds and his other passion, odonates. He is currently President of the Delaware Ornithological Society, a Vice President of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas and an eBIrd reviewer for Delaware.


North American Bird Names – The Apostrophes


Bert Filemyr

Of the over 950 birds on ABA's North American Bird List, almost 100 have apostrophes in their common names. These birds are named in honor of some of our most famous North American ornithologists (Audubon's Shearwater, Wilson's Plover, Cassin's Finch, etc.). But some are named for little known people (Lucy's Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow, Bicknell's Thrush, etc.) and some are even named in honor of people who never set foot in North America (Swainson's Thrush, Henslow's Sparrow, Bewick's Wren, etc.). Learn the fascinating stories behind the birds with apostrophes in their common names and the very human people who have been so honored.
Bert Filemyr is an active field birder both in the Delaware Valley and throughout North America. He has birded extensively in all 50 states. He has having seen at least 100 species in each of the lower 48 states plus several Canadian Provinces. Retired from a public school teaching career, he pursues his passion for birding while researching topics related to early American ornithology. He was a member of the championship Nikon/DVOC World Series of Birding Team, the Lagerhead Shrikes for many years. He co-authored, along with Jeff Holt the book "The Composite Prints of Audubon's Birds of America" and a major article on Alexander Wilson in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

Members’ photos


Coordinated by TBD. If you have photos to contribute contact TBD at TBD.

Note: This is a virtual meeting. Zoom signon will start at 7:15 to enable the meeting to begin at 7:30.