April 16, 2016
If toads aren't your style, wildlife is there for the viewing in other places in and around Philadelphia. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (8601 Lindbergh Blvd., 215-365-3118, www.fws.gov/heinz ) is an important rest stop and feeding site for migrating birds, and home to a breeding pair of bald eagles, whose nest can be seen from one of the refuge's hiking trails. There are volunteer opportunities and family-friendly activities scheduled all year round. In the fall, you can watch the migration of 16 different kinds of birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, from the observation deck at Fort Washington State Park (500 Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, Pa.)
March 19, 2014 |
About 15 years ago, Villanova University biology professor Robert Curry was looking for a project that would allow his students to investigate something interesting without much travel. He found it in a cheeky little bird with a black cap, familiar to anyone with a backyard feeder: the chickadee. His idea was to catch a lot of birds (with special nets), band them to identify individuals, and keep track of all they did - who was nesting with whom and where, how many offspring they had, where the young went when they set out on their own. Little did Curry know how quickly this creature, weighing less than two quarters, would provide clear evidence of birds moving northward - at quite a clip - in association with climate change.
June 22, 2012 |
KEMPTON, Pa. - Exhausted but joyful, a bleary-eyed Elizabeth Christman stood in front of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary visitor center in Berks County at 1 a.m. Thursday. "We're ecstatic," the 38-year-old Allentown occupational therapist said, speaking for her husband, Scott. "We feel joy and thankfulness. " Her father, Robert Durn, 74, of Allentown, and her two sons, Garrod, 9, and Griffen, 5, had been missing in a remote section of Hawk Mountain for more than eight hours before being found shortly before 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
September 2, 2010 |
Not long after 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the air was still cool and the sun was just a glow on the horizon, Melissa Roach and Pete Dunne saw it through their binoculars, riding in low over the cedars: an American kestrel, also known as a sparrow hawk. They watched it for a while, then looked at each other and smiled. "Another year begins," Dunne said. It was the first day of the annual hawk watch at the best place in North America to see the fall migration: Cape May Point State Park.
October 26, 2009 |
On a Sunday afternoon in 1932, Harold and Richard Pough and two friends went to a mountain in Berks County and changed the history of conservation. After the brothers saw hawk after hawk being shot while migrating, Harold returned to photograph the results of the slaughter and helped alert a benefactor. "His significance was that . . . his photographs ultimately led to the creation of the first refuge for birds of prey, in the world" - what is now Hawk Mountain Sanctuary - sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Linkevich said last week.
October 12, 2009 |
Every autumn they came to Hawk Mountain, the men carrying shotguns, rifles, ammunition, and whiskey, the women toting picnic baskets and children. From a rocky vantage point, the sharpshooters took aim at the migrating birds that, by instinct, came flapping, soaring, and hovering along the narrow ridgetop. When the hunters fired, there was an enormous shudder of sound followed by the acrid tang of gun smoke. Then six seconds of eerie silence. Finally came the loud crackling as dozens of birds, some of them weighing as much as 14 pounds, crashed into the dry leaves on the valley floor below.
October 2, 2004 |
A priest, a minister and a rabbi were relaxing near the pinnacle when someone said to look up. They saw a bird - a magnificent hawk, spiraling higher and higher toward darkening clouds, an example of the glory of God's creations. An 11-year-old boy said he was drawn to hawks by their eyes, unpredictable and impossible to know. His little sister focused on the birds' beauty. Others among the three dozen people sprawled on boulders Monday afternoon were mesmerized by the raptors' projection of power and sense of freedom, the knowledge that these creatures travel thousands of miles south every fall and have done so for thousands of years.
May 13, 2003 |
At the end of the Hawk Mountain trail, where two hikers emerge to a breathtaking vista known as North Lookout, stands a short man with copper-colored skin, a clipboard at his side, and binoculars pointed skyward. In a thick, unfamiliar accent, he lists some of the raptor species he's spotted migrating along the ridge this day. He is friendly, telling the hikers he teaches at an impoverished school in Nepal. So what is he doing in Berks County? The story goes back 3 1/2 years, to another hillside, this one at the edge of the Himalayas.
August 19, 1997 |
Lewis Lehrer, 81, an anesthesiologist who worked in the Philadelphia area for a half century, died Friday at his home in Voorhees. Born in Altoona, Pa., Dr. Lehrer resided in Wyndmoor, Pa., before moving to Cherry Hill in 1967. He had lived in Voorhees since 1996. Dr. Lehrer was the chief anesthesiologist at Underwood-Memorial Hospital, Woodbury, between 1967 and 1980. During his career, he also worked at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia General Hospital, Deborah Hospital, Kensington Hospital and Lower Bucks Hospital.
March 9, 1997 |
Getting a bit spooked by the shadows of wide-winged birds circling high overhead? You're not imagining things. The warm winter and a bounty of backyard bird feeders have caused more hawks to be seen this year in Southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, naturalists say. It's part of a longer-term trend. The National Audubon Society says that, from 1980 through 1995, sightings of some hawks in this region have increased significantly. Although bad for rodents and small birds, it is terrific news for the rest of us. "Predators are often the best biological indicators of a healthy environment," said Keith Bildstein, research director at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, near Kempton, in northern Berks County.