PIAS Monthly Programs:
PIAS holds programs on the third Friday of each month (except for holidays) from September through June, excluding December and January. The meetings are held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Room 112, 301 Peninsula Drive in Erie. They begin with a social gathering at 7 p.m., followed by a 7:30 program. Everyone is invited; you need not be a member to attend and enjoy the informative, educational and fun programs.
Field Trips and Activities
PIAS offers a variety of field trips which provide individuals with recreational and educational experiences throughout the year.
In addition, PIAS sponsors other annual activities including the
Allegany Nature Pilgrimage
Join in the fun and be sure to mark your calendar for
June 3, 4, 5, 2016
The pilgrimage has been made possible through the efforts of volunteers from these organizations since 1959:
LAURA ERICKSON, the 2014 recipient of the American Birding Association's prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Award, has been a scientist, teacher, writer, wildlife rehabilitator, blogger, public speaker, photographer, contributor and American Robin Expert for the popular Journey North educational website, as well as Science Editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She’s written eight books about birds, including the National Outdoor Book Award winner Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids, 101 Ways to Help Birds, The Bird Watching Answer Book for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the National Geographic Pocket Guide to Birds of North America. She’s currently a columnist and contributing editor for BirdWatching magazine, and is writing a field guide to the birds of Minnesota for the American Birding Association. Since 1986 she has been producing the long-running “For the Birds” radio program for many public radio stations; the program is podcast on iTunes. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota, with her husband, education Eastern Screech-Owl Archimedes, two indoor cats, and her little birding dog Pip.
Christmas Bird Count
Join us in Erie, PA for the 116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Between December 14, 2015 and January 5, 2016, hawk-eyed volunteers across the country will brave various weather conditions to count birds during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Saturday December 19th, birders and nature enthusiasts in Erie will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate in the longest running wildlife census on the planet. The tradition continues here in Erie with participants meeting at the Presque Isle State Park Ranger Station between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Once gathered, "teams" will form to canvas assigned areas of the park and count the birds that they see. At noon, teams will reconvene at the Ranger Station for lunch (bring a brown bag lunch) to do the initial tally and determine what areas of PI and the surrounding area remain to be counted. If you can't commit to the full day, we welcome participants to join us in the morning and leave before or after lunch as long as count data is turned in. There is also a contingency covering other areas of the circle in the county (our count circle has its epicenter at Presque Isle and comprises a 50 mile radius from there). The final tally and dinner will take place at Hoss's restaurant at 5:00 p.m. which is also optional as long as count data is turned in. If you can't make it to Presque Isle, but would like to participate, we can also accept counts from your yard as long as you are within our count circle. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you are within the circle and how to count the birds you see.
"The data gathered during the Christmas Bird Count is invaluable to the many dedicated scientists who use it to analyze avian population trends over the long term. Equally important, in my mind, is the gathering of the participants, all devoted to making this planet a safer place for birds, other wildlife and, yes, people!" Michele Franz, President of the Presque Isle Audubon and CBC compiler for the Erie County CBC count circle.
Last year’s count in Erie revealed another, but smaller, influx of snowy owls, over the year prior. These annual "irruptions" usually occur once every few years, not back-to-back as occurred in the winters of 2014 and 2015. Interestingly, there are already sightings recorded of snowy owls in Pennsylvania and other northern states. "It looks like we may be looking at yet another "snowy" winter. I'm not sure if this has even happened three years in a row in Erie!
The annual Christmas Bird Count is a Citizen Science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the annual published report, American Birds, is available online. Audubon Christmas Bird Count information is also available on-line in Spanish.
For more information and to find a count near you visit,
PROGRAM SCHEDULE: 2015 - 2016
Motus Wildlife Tracking System Manager
Birds Studies Canada
The Motus Tracking System
Motus is a coordinated hemispheric tracking system for all migratory bird species, and is the world's most ambitious bird tracking initiative. The project's goal is to understand the connections between breeding, migrating, and wintering locations for every Canadian bird species by 2030.
Motus technology is the first of its kind in the world, and involves a combination of miniaturized radio transmitters and a new, expansive network of receivers. The "nano-tag" tracking devices are light enough to track even the smallest animals, such as hummingbirds, dragonflies, and butterflies.
MARCH 18 - Luke DeGroote
Bird Banding Coordinator at Powdermill Avian Research Center
Here and gone again: Studying migrating landbirds at America's longest running bird banding station.
DeGroote will discuss past, present, and future studies of migrant landbirds stopping over in the foothills of the Laurel Highlands. Research includes the application of the 54 year historic banding dataset to investigate the impact of climate change and the employment of laboratory analysis to determine past and present breeding origins. Avian research staff also utilize captured birds to investigate the origin of migratory flight calls and to test birds' ability to see patterned glass prototypes that manufacturers are creating to reduce the threat of collision mortality.
APRIL 15 - Kate St. John
Birder, blogger and longtime peregrine monitor in the Pittsburgh area.
Peregrine Falcons, an Environmental Success Story
Eastern Grassroots Organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Wild Utah: America's Redrock Wilderness." The multi-media presentation documents citizen efforts to designate public lands in southern Utah's spectacular canyon country as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This journey through redrock splendor invigorates and motivates viewers to participate in the movement to protect these unique lands and includes narration by Robert Redford.
Hammill will talk about recent developments in the work to protect this spectacular landscape.
JUNE 17 - Picnic