Overview and Activities

Quick Look

South Mountain Audubon Society has decided to schedule a few outdoor activities for the upcoming weeks. We have chosen locations where it is relatively easy to practice social distancing and where we can divide the groups into smaller numbers if needed. Please note varying beginning times and locations.

Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Friday 29th May - Ayers Avenue, Gettysburg NMP


Unless indicated otherwise, all SMAS Programs are held at the Adams County Agricultural Resource Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, PA at 7:30 pm (refreshments at 7 pm). A room number for the SMAS meeting will be posted on the front lobby entry inner door.

Bonnie Portzline (profile - courtesy of The Gettysburg Times) is happy to give her presentation ‘Birds with a Gettysburg address’ to interested parties. The presentation is based on her wonderful photographs of local birds.

Bird Arrivals and Departures

The Spring 2020 migration competitions are concluding and the winners will be announced soon. A Backyard Bird competition will start at the beginning of June. If you are interested in participating or just want to know what is going on contact Mike Bertram at 717-352-7936.

The state of Adams County sightings can be found in the Arrivals and Departures page. The progress of migrations can be seen at eBird.org by going to the explore section and looking at the species’ recent sightings.

Friday 29th May Bird Walk on the Battlefield - Peach Orchard and Devil’s Den Areas

Meet at 7:30 AM in the parking area on Ayers Avenue.

Directions from Gettysburg: From Emmitsburg Road/Business 15S in Gettysburg, take a left onto Wheatfield Road (directly across from Millerstown Road), then turn right onto Ayers Avenue - just past Sickles. The Ayers Road sign is not visible until after the turn is made. Parking area is on the right in about 500 feet

Saturday, June 13 - State Game Lands #249

Meet at 7:30 AM at the SOUTH parking area on Twin Bridges Road located 0.2 miles off Old Harrisburg Road (north of Gettysburg and south of Heidlersburg).

Saturday, June 27 - Oakside Park, Biglerville

Meet at 8:00 AM at the parking lot off Route 394 - 2880 Table Rock Road.

The South Mountain Audubon Society aims are to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity focusing on Adams County, PA.

The Society works towards those aims with meetings, birding trips, and conservation activities.

There are 2 Important Bird Areas locally:

Click here to join National Audubon and the South Mountain Audubon Society. Please select U17 as the Chapter code from the drop down menu on the form.

If you only want to join the South Mountain Audubon Society only then sign up at the next event you attend. The annual membership is $15.

The Society can be contacted in the following ways:

email: SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Tel.: 717-809-3911

Mail: SMAS, P.O. Box 3671, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Local Bird Sightings in 2019

There were a number of new and rare species recorded in the area in 2019, although they have been previously recorded in adjacent areas:

South Adams Grasslands Important Bird Area (covering part of Adams County) -

New sightings for area: White-winged Scoter, Common Gallinule, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, American Avocet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Whimbrel, Barn Owl, Prothonotary Warbler.

Rare birds: Surf Scoter, Yellow-throated Warbler, Common Redpoll.

South Mountain Important Bird Area (covering parts of Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland Counties)

New sightings: Red-necked Grebe, Golden Eagle, Greater Yellowlegs, Peregrine Falcon.

Rare Birds: Redhead.

Adams County (excluding sightings in the IBAs already noted)

Rare birds: Rough-legged Hawk, Semi-palmated Plover, Cerulean Warbler

Further details including lists of all the bird sighted can be found on the Bird Lists page. See map for the definition of the IBA areas.

Field Trips

FIELD TRIPS - Field trips will be planned on an annual basis and a tentative list will be sent in late December to those on our email list. Details for day trips will be announced in the monthly email blasts, and details for overnight trips will be announced a few months in advance. Also, information can be found on this website. Each monthly email will list a contact person and a meeting place and time for the upcoming events. If you are not on our email list, you can contact Mike Bertram at mike@the2nomads.org or call 717-809-3911 (please leave a voicemail) if you have questions or need other details. Field trip cancellations will be announced by email as soon as possible and also on this website.  

Battlefield Walk

On the 1st of February the Society had a winter’s walk in the Battlefield. 11 species were observed including Red-headed Woodpeckers

photo by Linette Mansberger

Great Backyard Bird Count

On the 15th February 40 attendees braved the winter cold for a walk at the Old Country Club, Gettysburg. 23 species were observed and were reported as part of the Greater Backyard Bird Count.

photo by Ralph Siefken

Middle Creek

On the 5th March 13 members visited Middle Creek to see the amazing sight of thousands of Snow Geese and Tundra Swans. 44 species of bird were observed.

Snow Geese landing

Tundra Swans
photos by Linette Mansberger


On the 14th March around 20 people turned up at Deb and Ralph Siefken’s house. We saw and heard at least 3 woodcocks.

photo by Anne Woods