Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Saturday 16th July:- 7:30 am
Willoughby Run, Gettysburg National Military Park

Next Meeting: Thursday 22nd September, Anniversary dinner, Inn 94. 5:30 pm


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 summer Backyard Bird challenge is about the start. If you are interested in participating or just want to know what is going on contact Mike Bertram at 717-809-3911.

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.

Meetings and other Activities

Saturday, July 16 - Willoughby Run, Gettysburg National Military Park - This bird walk will be held at the site of the former Gettysburg Country Club along Route 30 - just west of Gettysburg. Park and meet at 7:30 AM by the tennis courts/outdoor pool complex at 730 Chambersburg Road. Easiest access to this parking lot is from Country Club Lane. Please do NOT park in the Day Spa Parking lot. The hike will be about 1½ miles in length over flat terrain, but not all of it is an even surface, so sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended. Insect repellent may be needed.

Saturday, July 30 - Big Spring Walk, Newville, PA - This is a relatively level walk along a road that follows a creek. We will meet in the parking area where Big Spring Road intersects with Springfield Road just outside of Newville. After meeting, we can place vehicles at various parking areas along the road for those who do not wish to do the entire walk and so that we can carpool back to the starting point.

Bring water and a snack, if needed. There are no restroom facilities here. There is a Sheetz at the intersection of Routes 233 and 11. This is a good place to use the restroom before joining the walk. DIRECTIONS: From Pine Grove Furnace State Park - Take Route 233 North (Centerville Road) for 9 miles to the intersection of Route 11/Ritner Highway. Turn left onto Route 11. (Turn right onto Route 11 if leaving from Sheetz.) In about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Log Cabin Road. Follow Log Cabin Road to a T intersection. Turn right and then a QUICK left to remain on Log Cabin Road. At the next T intersection with Big Spring Road, turn left and the parking area will be on your left.

Thursday, September 22 - Rescheduled anniversary dinner at Inn 94 (on route 94). It is either a 40th anniversary, one year late, or a 41st. Either way we will have fun! Meet at 5:30 pm for a social half hour. More details to follow.

Monday, October 17 - Meeting, Mark Bonta will present “Firehawks, Arsonists or Fire Managers?”

Mark was raised on a Pennsylvania mountaintop and went on to explore the remote corners of the planet through service to the Peace Corps and academic research at several small colleges. He has traversed 40 countries and six continents in his pursuit of global citizenship and has been involved in environmental conservation efforts in the Philippines, Australia, Honduras, Mexico, and the US. His many passions include all things related to birds, including the wisdom traditions of avifauna among local and Indigenous peoples.

Across Australia’s tropical North, certain raptors have an amazing tool-using ability: they spread fires. When in need of more food, Black Kites, Whistling Kites, and Brown Falcons sometimes snatch burning brands from wildfires and campsites and drop them in patches of unburned grass to flush out prey. Every Aboriginal group and every firefighter in the bush knows this, because firehawks can become quite a nuisance. But are these raptors part of the problem, or part of the solution? In 2016, Dr. Bonta started leading teams of researchers into remote corners of the Northern Territory to find out more about this enigmatic behavior and what it could tell us about the intelligence of birds, human evolution, and the future of Australian tropical ecosystems in a warming world. Over the next few years, they talked to Aboriginal firefighters and the owners of sacred sites whose ancestors have been on the land for 40,000 years. What they found out will amaze you!

Refreshments and social time: 7:00 PM

A brief business meeting followed by the program: 7:30 PM.

Location: Ag Center in Gettysburg at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.
Free and open to the public

Monday, November 21 - Meeting, presentation to be announced. Refreshments and social time: 7:00 PM

A brief business meeting followed by the program: 7:30 PM.

Location: Ag Center in Gettysburg at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.
Free and open to the public

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 2021

The number of species observed were down from last year. There were few new or rare species recorded in the area in 2021:

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

190 species recorded.

New sightings for area: the Prothonotary Warbler has been observed for the last 3 years.

Rare birds: Olive-sided Flycatcher

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

187 species recorded.

Rare Birds: Great Egret

Adams County (excluding sightings in the IBAs already noted)

206 species recorded.

New birds: Long-billed Dowitcher

Rare birds: Trumpeter Swan, Olive-sided Flycatcher

Missing bird: Least Flycatcher

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.  

International Migratory Bird Day

On the 14th of May SMAS birded at Spangler's Spring, Gettysburg NMP. 53 species were observed, the most exciting being a Wilson's Warbler..

Wilson's Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

photos by Linette Mansberger

Monterey Summit

On the 21st of May SMAS walked the trails around Monterey Summit. 43 species were observed including tree and barn swallows, bald eagle, and osprey.

Acadian Flycatcher

Scarlet Tanager
photos by Linette Mansberger

Hashawha Environmental Center, MD

It was nice day for a bird walk on Saturday 28th May; 49 species were observed

Tree Swallow 4 not found

Tree Swallow

Hummingbird on nest not found

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on nest

Photos by Linette Mansberger

Cedar Run Farm

On the 11th June SMAS visited Cedar Woods Farm near New Oxford. Although we received a warm welcome from our hosts, the weather was disappointing, making it a poor day for both birding and photgraphy. 40 species were observed.

Educational Initiatives

South Mountain Audubon sponsors educational efforts on natural history in the local schools. On the 29th April it sponsored a presentation by Hershey Zoo America at the Bermudian Springs Elementary School

HZA not found