Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Regular meetings are cancelled until further notice. Bird Walks and Competitions are being organized. Please note varying beginning times and locations.

Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Saturday 31st October - Camp Michuax area, Michaux State Forest

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.

Bird Arrivals and Departures

The Fall 2020 competition has started. We are counting the first arrivals of Winter residents, last sightings of Summer residents, and continuing the competition of pass-thru migrant observations from the Spring. If you are interested in joining the competitions, or just want to better understand the state of the bird populations in Adams County, 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.

The November and December activities have been reorganized in order to fit in an additional event. Please note the changed dates and addition.

Saturday 31st October, Bird walk at Camp Michaux. 9 am start. Take Michaux Road off route 233.

Camp Michaux

Saturday 14th November, Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, Mount Hope Road, Fairfield. Meet at 8 am.

Saturday 21st November, Duck Drive - details to follow (rain day: 22nd)

Friday 27th November, Oakside Park, Biglerville. Meet at 8 am. (rain day: 28th)

Thursday 3rd December, Conowingo Dam to view Bald Eagles. Leave Gettysburg at 7:30 am.

Saturday 19th December, Christmas Bird Count

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.  

Salisbury Farm

On the 2nd September 12 members walked through the Salisbury Farm. 21 species were observed on a wet day.

Rocky Ridge Hawk Watch

On the 19th of September the Society visited the Rocky Ridge Hawk Watch west of York. 27 species were observed

Red-tailed Hawk

photos by Linette Mansberger

McAllister’s Mill area

On the 25th September Dean Shultz led a SMAS group along Rock Creek. We were entertained by a large family of Red-headed Woodpeckers including two who were having a disagreement. Notice the flying bark.

Red-headed Woodpeckers fighting; photo by Linette Mansberger and Ralph Siefken

State Gameland #242

On the 2nd October SMAS members birded the State Gamelands near Dillsburg. 40 species were observed including Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Tennessee, Black-throated Blue, Palm, and Magnolia Warblers.

Devil’s Den area, Gettysburg NMP

On the 17th October, 12 members birded in the area of Devil’s Den in Gettysburg Military Park. 33 species were observed on a beautiful Fall morning. They included first of season Golden-crowned Kinglets

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Great Blue Heron
photos by Evan Vaeth and Linette Mansberger