Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Next Meeting: Monday 27th January - Movie night
Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Saturday14th December - Christmas Bird Count


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 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.

Saturday 14th December, Christmas Bird Count. Please contact Mike Bertram (717-352-7936) if you would like to participate.

Saturday 18th January, Bird walk at National Cemetery, Gettysburg NMP. 9 am start.

Monday 27th January, Movie - Bird of Prey. With fewer than 800 Philippine Eagles remaining on Earth, Bird of Prey follows a small but devoted group of people who are determined to save these magnificent birds from extinction. It’s a remarkable story and a moving film—one that I hope you will enjoy and share with your family and friends.

Saturday 1st February, Bird walk starting at Ayres Avenue, Gettysburg NMP. 9 am start.

Saturday 15th February, Great Backyard Bird Count at the old Country Club grounds, Gettysburg NMP. Details to follow.

Thursday 5th March, Trip to Middle Creek

Saturday 14th March, Woodcocks at the Siefken residence

Monday 16th March, Presentation on Mexico - Monarchs and Birds by Laura Jackson

Saturday 21st March, Bird walk at Renfrew Museum and Park, Waynesboro.

Saturday 4th April, Annual Lunch at Hickory Bridge

Wednesday - Thursday, 15th - 16th April, Visit to Mt. Cuba Center, Hockessin, Delaware, near Wilmington.

Saturday 25th April, Bird walk at Oakside Park, Biglerville

Saturday 2nd May, Global Big Day - Morgan Run, MD

Saturday 9th May, International Migratory Bird Day - Spangler’s Spring, Gettysburg NMHP. Meet at 7:30am.

Thursday 14th May, Bird walk, Michaux State Forest. Details to follow.

Monday 18th May, Presentation on Birds and the Mayans.

Citizen Scientists Wanted!


The Pennsylvania Amphibian & Reptile Survey is looking for interested citizen scientists to participate in their survey in this area. Willingness to record and report amphibian and reptile observations is needed. The 2 websites listed below provide more information on the project, the opportunity to sign up, and links to help with identification of herps: PARS and Pennsylvania Herp Identification

For more additional information contact the Adams County coordinator Sue Muller. Her email address is: adams@paherpsurvey.org

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 2017 and 2018

2017 and 2018 were very productive years for new and rare species being recorded in the area:

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

2017 First Reports: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Trumpeter Swan, Mississippi Kite, Northern Shrike, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Canada Warbler.

2018 First Reports: Red-necked Grebe, Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpiper, Red-throated Loon, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Black-throated Gray Warbler.

2017 Rare birds: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher (first sighting since 2009).

2018 Rare birds: Loggerhead Shrike (first sighting since 2008), Evening Grosbeak, Kentucky Warbler.

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

2017 First Reports: Sandhill Crane, Herring Gull, Northern Harrier, Barn Owl

2017 Rare birds: Great Egret, Northern Goshawk (first sighting since 2009), Connecticut Warbler

2018 Rare Birds: Evening Grosbeak (first sighting since 2002).

Adams County (excluding sightings in the IBAs already noted)

2018 First Report: Orange-crowned 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 announced in the quarterly newsletters (when possible) and on this website.  Each field trip will list a contact person and a meeting place.  Please be sure to notify the  listed contact person of your planned attendance so that you can be alerted to any changes in the schedule or meeting place. 

Bird Arrivals and Departures

The Fall migration competitions are open. 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 sitings can be found in the Arrivals and Departures spreadsheet. The progress of migrations can be seen at eBird.org by going to the explore section and looking at the species’ recent sightings.

Lake Heritage

On the 13th September we visited Lake Heritage; 16 species were observed.

Great Blue Heron eating Bluegill
photo by Linette Mansberger

Gettysburg National Military Park

On the 26th of September the Society birded in the vicinity of the ampitheater in Gettsburg National Military Park. 18 species were observed including a number of Red-headed Woodpeckers.

Rocky Ridge Hawk Watch

On the 5th of October the Society visited the Rocky Ridge Hawk Watch, east of York. The air was clear allowing us to see to a distance of 50 miles in some directions. 27 species were observed including many bald eagles (mostly local birds, not migrants) and a flight of 4 common loons.

Oakside Park

On the 25th October we birded Oakside Park; 24 species were observed, including first of the season White-crowned Sparrows.

Eastern Bluebird

White-crowned Sparrow

photos by Linette Mansberger

Duck Drive

On the 11th November we visited Long Arm Reservoir and Codorous State Park on a Duck Drive, 22 species were observed.

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

photos by Linette Mansberger


Nine members visited the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas on Thanksgiving weekend. Those who visited for two days saw about 50 species and those who stayed longer saw about 90 species. Some highlights were Marbled Godwits, Red-throated Loon, American Oystercatcher, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Tundra Swans.

Willet and Greater Yellowlegs

Marbled Godwit

photos by Linette Mansberger