Next 3RBC Membership Meeting

Dr. Brian Wargo
Dr. Brian Wargo


Brian M. Wargo will present "Hawkwatching: An Ocean in the Sky" at the next meeting of the Three Rivers Birding Club on Wednesday, October 2. He is the author of Bird! An Exploration of Hawkwatching, which explains the lure, culture, and birders who are obsessed with staring at the sky.
A director on the board of the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA), Brian chairs the Education and Conservation Committee as well as the Data Committee. He also is the Eastern Flyway editor for Hawk Migration Studies, which entails analyzing data from 88 hawk sites and compiling a state of the raptors report for both the spring and fall migration.
Brian also created the Junior Hawkwatcher Program, which is currently available to all hawk watches through HMANA, in an effort to stimulate a love and understanding of nature in young people. For his efforts, HMANA awarded him the Counting for the Future Award at the association's 2018 conference.
He counts hawks every Saturday at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch and is president of the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society. When he is not outdoors, he is a physics teacher and was just awarded the Inspiring Educator of the Year and was a Finalist for the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.
Brian earned his physics and biology teaching certificates from West Virginia University, his master's degree in physics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.
His presentation will be in the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Avenue in Shadyside. Doors open at 6:30 PM for socializing, a business meeting begins at 7:30, and the program starts at 8:00.

Future Programs:

  • December 11, 2019 — Our Annual Slide-Slam - a popular event with members' photos.
  •             Note: This is the second Wednesday in December.
  • February 5, 2020 — Brian Shema of ASWP will present "Birds from Eco-tours to North, Central, and South America"
  • April 1, 2020 — Tessa Rhinehart will present "Eavesdropping on Eagles: New Technology to Survey Birds by Their Sounds"
  • June 3, 2020 — Dr. Bruce Beehler will present North on the Wing his book on songbird migration

What's New? (9/22/2019)



The September/October 2019 issue of The Peregrine is online. Also, see additional photos for Tom Moeller's 'Observations' column on Bolsa Chica Wetlands (PDF).


Please read the Membership Meeting Minutes from August 7, 2019, with Twan Leender's presentaion Continuing Roger Tory Peterson's Legacy - Promoting the Study of Natural History to Better Protect Birds.


Bird Outings for September through November 2019 have been posted on our Outings page.


Phipps Conservatory has been planning the renovation of the Phipps Garden Center for over a year. We at Three Rivers Birding Club use this facility as our meeting spot six times a year. We believe that some time in 2020 we will have to use the Botany Hall building as our meeting place while reconstruction takes place on the Garden Center. To see the plans and concept drawings of the possible renovation of the building, go to the site set up by Phipps:
Phipps Garden Center Renovation.


Churchill Valley Greenway

Three Rivers member Ted Weller and Tom Dougherty, the Allegheny Land Trust’s vice-president of development, recently visited the former Churchill Country Club property, about 148 acres just off of the Parkway East. ALT has signed an agreement to acquire this property in early 2020 assuming it can come up with the funding requirements. While ALT already has some substantial grant money, all of this is dependent on getting the additional grassroots funding from individuals, businesses, and other sources.

Ted and Tom spent about an hour at the Churchill property, which has not been a country club for about 10 years, on a 90+ degree sunny afternoon, and Ted came away very impressed with the birding potential of this property, let alone its other natural benefits, especially given this suburban location. Even in the midday heat, he noted at least 15 species that he either heard or saw, and the pair even flushed what Ted believed was either a Woodcock or possibly a Wilson’s Snipe. Ted believes this location has high potential with mixed habitat and a stream running through it. And because it was once a golf course, there are decent existing paved trails that were formerly cart paths.

Read more about the Churchill Valley Greenway project at these links:


Blackwater Falls Lodge

The Brooks Bird Club will host its 2019 Fall Retreat on October 18-20. The event will be held at beautiful Blackwater Falls Lodge and will feature the lodge's excellent accommodations, the mountain views and beautiful fall colors, along with field trips and evening programs. Blackwater Falls State Park is located in Davis, West Virginia.
Frank Izaguirre
Of special interest, 3RBC's own Frank Izaguirre will speak about his work on Friday evening. Frank is the Books and Media Reviews Editor at Birding magazine and is working on his doctorate in English at West Virginia University, where he is studying field guides and how they have shaped environmental values in America. He also serves as a Technical Reviewer for Birder's Guide, has written for a number of other bird and nature-related magazines and journals, and has previously judged the writing module for the ABA's Young Birder of the Year Contest. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Adrienne.
Nathan Pieplow
Saturday's events will feature morning bird walks and outings, and, in the evening, dinner, followed by a presentation by Nathan Pieplow, who will outline his method of categorizing birds sounds and songs.

The weekend will conclude on Sunday with more bird walks and a morning business meeting.

All of this will be available for a very modest cost - including meals! Contact the Brooks Bird Club for more information on how to take advantage of this opportunity.

English Sparrow

In early May 2019 instead of flocking to Magee Marsh, Pat and Sherron Lynch took a trip to rainy olde England to find 117 birds in this European nation. See their report on this journey and the complete list of birds they saw on our "Trip Reports and Articles" page under Birding in England

And you can still see their report on their mid-winter journey down to Jamaica here:   Jamaican Birding Adventures.


If you're wondering where photos of the "Burket's Warbler" have gone, you'll have to look on the new webpage created for all the information on that exciting new bird. There are photos, background information, links to articles and interviews, and more. Be sure to read about the new honor received by Dave Toews, the researcher who deciphered the three-species warbler's DNA.

Click on "'Burket's Warbler' News" on the side menu to see this new page.

Short-eared Owl


As we hope you know, the screech-owl video has moved to our new VIDEO PAGE! Click on "Videos" in the Side Menu to find the owl and several new videos by members, including a Rufus Hummingbird, the "Burket's Warbler," and more!
We hope you enjoy this new page, and we hope that you can contribute to it too.

Bird Species Lists of Recent Outings

   View the 35 species seen on the SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS BOROUGH PARK outing (August 23) on eBird: Sewickley Heights List.

   View the 27 species seen on the GLADE RUN LAKE outing (September 8) on eBird: Glade Run Lake List.

   View the 39 species seen on the TOMS RUN NATURE RESERVE outing (September 8) on eBird: Toms Run List.

   View the 38 species seen on the SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS BOROUGH PARK outing (September 12) as a PDF: Sewickley Heights List.

   View the 31 species seen on the NORTH PARK - MINE WASTE FIELD/PINE CREEK outing (September 14) on eBird: North Park List.

   View the 44 species seen on the HARRISON HILLS PARK outing (September 21) on eBird: Harrison Hills List.

   View the 29 species seen on the FRICK PARK outing (September 22) on eBird: Frick Park List.

Items to Note!


Local and migratory birds are well into their nesting season in western Pennsylvania. As a reminder to club members and birders in general, we have reprinted the ABA Code of Ethics as a guide to proper conduct while birding.

    American Birding Association Principles of Birding Ethics

    1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment.

    1(a) Support the protection of important bird habitat.

    1(b) To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.

    Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.

    Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming, or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover. Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.

    1(c) Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings, and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance can be minimized, and permission has been obtained from private land-owners. The sites of rare nesting birds should be divulged only to the proper conservation authorities.

    1(d) Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.

    2. Respect the law and the rights of others.

    2(a) Do not enter private property without the owner's explicit permission.

    2(b) Follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing use of roads and public areas, both at home and abroad.

    2(c) Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people. Your exemplary behavior will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike.

    3. Ensure that feeders, nest structures, and other artificial bird environments are safe.

    3(a) Keep dispensers, water, and food clean and free of decay or disease. It is important to feed birds continually during harsh weather.

    3(b) Maintain and clean nest structures regularly.

    3(c) If you are attracting birds to an area, ensure the birds are not exposed to predation from cats and other domestic animals, or dangers posed by artificial hazards.

    4. Group birding, whether organized or impromptu, requires special care.

    Each individual in the group, in addition to the obligations spelled out in Items #1 and #2, has responsibilities as a Group Member.

    4(a) Respect the interests, rights, and skills of fellow birders, as well as those of people participating in other legitimate outdoor activities. Freely share your knowledge and experience, except where code 1(c) applies. Be especially helpful to beginning birders.

    4(b) If you witness unethical birding behavior, assess the situation and intervene if you think it prudent. When interceding, inform the person(s) of the inappropriate action and attempt, within reason, to have it stopped. If the behavior continues, document it and notify appropriate individuals or organizations.

    Group Leader Responsibilities [amateur and professional trips and tours]

    4(c) Be an exemplary ethical role model for the group. Teach through word and example.

    4(d) Keep groups to a size that limits impact on the environment and does not interfere with others using the same area.

    4(e) Ensure everyone in the group knows of and practices this code.

    4(f) Learn and inform the group of any special circumstances applicable to the areas being visited (e.g. no sound devices allowed).

    4(g) Acknowledge that professional tour companies bear a special responsibility to place the welfare of birds and the benefits of public knowledge ahead of the company’s commercial interests. Ideally, leaders should keep track of tour sightings, document unusual occurrences, and submit records to appropriate organizations.

    Please follow this code. Distribute it and teach it to others.

    Additional copies of the Code of Birding Ethics can be obtained from ABA. The ABA Code of Birding Ethics may be reprinted, reproduced, and distributed without restriction. Please acknowledge the role of ABA in developing and promoting this code.

    © American Birding Association

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Be sure to visit our club's Facebook page for up-to-date news on happenings with the club, member photos, or links to other birding sites.


The National Aviary Wants You to Volunteer!

Volunteer with the National Aviary and engage with their visitors. Find opportunities to teach classes, guide tours, work in our gift shop, facilitate crafts, or operate our bird flight simulator. Build lasting relationships and gain excellent experience. Volunteer positions available for teens ages 16-17 and adults ages 18+.

Call 412-258-9455 to learn more or apply online at Volunteer Opportunities.

Longer Articles are Still Available

Read Kathleen Siebert's article on her journey to Ecuador Take the "Sun Route" to Enjoy Ecuador's Avian Wealth, and Geoff Malosh's tale of chasing the sun's eclipse A Different Kind of Chase: Not for Birds This Time.
Don't forget David Yeany II's wonderful report by about his adventure pursuing a Kirtland's Warbler in Michigan with friends on a "slow" day at Magee Marsh in May 2018: Kirtland's Warbler.
Plus, the stunning gallery of birds and scenery from Northwest Argentina, which is an adjunct to Claire Staples' article "A Very High Adventure: Birding to 15,000 Feet in Argentina's Andes" [The Peregrine Vol. 18, No. 2, March/April 2019], can still be enjoyed: Northwest Argentina.

The Peregrine "Online-only" Option Remains Available to Members

As we announced at our April 4 meeting, our members may choose NOT to receive a paper copy of our newsletter The Peregrine, in order to reduce clutter, save trees, or protect the environment. If you only want to view our newsletter online, please email Tom Moeller at and ask him to put you on the "online only" list to NO LONGER receive paper copies of The Peregrine.
Our membership rates remain the same with this change. It is your preference whether or not to receive the paper copy of the newsletter.

The List of Birding Checklists

We offer more checklists on our Outings page. There are now nine (9) lists you can download and use as you explore these birding hotspots. Check them out!

2018 was another busy year for the Three Rivers Birding Club!

Mike Fialkovich has compiled a summary of the club's 2018 activities and has also compiled the 2018 Birds Reported in Allegheny County summary.

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PENNSYLVANIA BIRDS — See what you've been missing!

The Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology (PSO) publishes sample article from the current issue of Pennsylvania Birds online. Anyone who does not subscribe or perhaps does not even know about PSO can now actually see a little bit of what they've been missing, and hopefully be encouraged to join PSO!

Image Gallery

Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Brian Shema, Chuck Tague