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National Organization Holds Annual Meeting at Concord College

National Organization Holds Annual Meeting at Concord College

Athens, W.Va. - Just as the birds migrate back to their spring nesting grounds in West Virginia, so will a contingency of bird watchers from the Brooks Bird Club, Inc. For the past 60 years, the club has been conducting an eight-day or nine-day camp in June known as a foray, which has been held in various locations throughout the state. The purpose of the foray is to gather information about bird populations and breeding habits in West Virginia.

As habitat is so important to the well being of birds, botanists will be noting their "finds" to complete the picture. The scientific data obtained from the annual foray are then published in the club’s quarterly publication, The Redstart, which is exchanged with universities and libraries in the United States and countries abroad. The club also sends all its findings to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This year’s target location will be Concord College in Athens, W.Va., June 9-17. This Mercer County College has an elevation of 2,600 feet, and is home to many interesting and varied habitats. The Brooks Bird Club has three regular foray destinations that it visits every five years: Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Tucker counties. During the remaining two years, it visits other areas. This is the club’s second foray to Mercer County. 

Foray is designed to be fun and educational. The club encourages teachers and young students, as well as people with a general love of the outdoors with particular interest in birds, plants, mammals, butterflies, or other residents of the outside world. No one has to be an expert; learning will be part of the fun. There will be special presentations throughout the week on topics such as butterflies and identifying plants.

Field trips will also be scheduled during camp. Pipestem State Park, Bluestone State Park, and many other natural areas are in the vicinity. Foray directors will be Carl and Juanita Slater from Wheeling, W.Va. Foray committee members will assist them with the field trips.

Group Will Look for Endangered Species

Foray committee member and Concord College Assistant Professor of Biology Ronald A. Canterbury helped organize the foray at Concord that will start Friday, June 9. "We will be surveying all birds, but focusing on the Golden-winged Warbler, an endangered species whose highest density is in southern West Virginia. The bird’s range is eastern North America and they have disappeared completely from our neighboring state, Ohio," commented Dr. Canterbury. "I expect that the population has declined in this area since our last foray in 1987."

Mountaintop Removal Affects Habitat

Assistant Professor of Geology Dr. Joseph L. Allen and Assistant Professor of Biology Tonya McKinley will be presenting lectures on geology and habitat to the group. Dr. Canterbury will be discussing bird habitat as it relates to mountaintop removal. Although the impacts of mountaintop removal are relatively unknown, the focus of this seminar will compare forested landscape with grasslands created by mountaintop removal.

Bird Club Members Will Be Staying at Concord College

Dr. Canterbury expects about 100 participants at this year’s foray. The group will be staying at Concord College. Although most attendees will be pre-registering, you still have time to register for the event either for the week or by the day. The day rate, including 3 meals, snacks and 1-night’s lodging is just $35 in Wilson Hall or $29 if you bring a tent. Prices for the 9-day event are $260 for lodging in Wilson Hall and meals, and $215 if you bring a tent. All prices for children 12 and under will be half price.

The club plans forays in Tucker County in 2001, Raleigh County in 2002, and Pocahontas County in 2003.

For information about this event call 1-304-384-5214, 1-304-384-4275 or e-mail at

For information about Brooks Bird Club log on to their web site: or write to the Brooks Bird Club, P.O. Box 4077, Wheeling, WV 26003.


Concord College Notes: The Brooks Bird Club is an independent, educational, non-profit organization which promotes the study and enjoyment of birds and other elements of the natural world. Its purpose is to inform members and the public of environmental issues, to encourage intelligent use of our natural resources and preservation of our natural heritage. The club undertakes studies, which have scientific value, including population and breeding bird surveys. The symbol of the club is the American Redstart, a wood warbler with black and orange plumage (illustrated on the organization’s web page).