Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Regular meetings and bird walks are cancelled until further notice. Competitions and counts are being organized.

Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: to be announced

Next Meeting: to be announced, probably late Spring 2021


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.

Christmas Bird Count, 2020

On the 19th December South Mountain Audubon participated in the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count, as it has been doing since 1983.

The number of species observed was 72, 1 less than in 2019. The number of birds counted was significantly higher than the last 2 years, at 9214 birds. The biggest reason for that increase was an irruption of Dark-eyed Juncos, with nearly 1900 birds, against 200 last year.

Hermit Thrush
photo by Linette Mansberger

January & February Winter Backyard Bird Challenge, contact Mike Bertram at mike@the2nomads.org with any questions.

12th - 15th February, Great Backyard Bird Count; see web site for details, or contact Linette Mansberger at southmountainaudubon@gmail.com.

February Spring Migrants Competition starts (both Woodcocks and Phoebes start appearing this month)

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 2020

There were a number of new and rare species recorded in the area in 2020, although they have been previously recorded in adjacent areas:

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

220 species recorded.

New sightings for area: Long-tailed Duck, White Ibis, Summer Tanager

Rare birds: Sora, American Bittern, American Golden Plover, Forster’s Tern, Golden-winged Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Mourning Warbler

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

193 species recorded.

New sightings: Townsend’s Solitaire

Rare Birds: White-winged Scoter, Northern Harrier, American Avocet, Wilson’s Snipe, Yellow-throated Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll

Adams County (excluding sightings in the IBAs already noted)

231 species recorded.

Rare birds: Common Gallinule, Philadelphia Vireo

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.  

Strawberry Hill

On the 14th of November the Society visited the Strawberry Hill. 25 species were observed

Golden-crowned Kinglets
photos by Evan Vaeth and Linette Mansberger

Duck Drive

On the 21st November a SMAS group took part in a Duck Drive, visiting all the easily accessible ponds and lakes in Adams County. 41 species were observed, one of the highlights being Hooded Merganser males displaying.

photo by Linette Mansberger

Short-eared Owls

Most winters the grasslands in Adams County have Short-eared Owls as winter residents. This year, Evan Vaeth took these beauitful photos of the birds: