Welcome

The surface of the country is exceedingly varied, abounding in high mountains with enormous perpendicular cliffs, while large streams flow in the valleys. Lakes, ponds, and brooks are very numerous, affording, as they do, favorite resorts for both migrating and stationary birds. The numerous islands of the Hudson afford choice resting places for migrating flocks of small birds, which prefer to follow, on their long and fatiguing vernal and autumnal journeyings, the course of the river. The whole region is wild, and sparsely inhabited.

—Edgar A. Mearns, A List of the Birds of the Hudson Highlands, with Annotations (1878)

Welcome to the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club website. We like birds, birders, and birding! If you enjoy watching a Bald Eagle soar over the icy Hudson River, a Great Blue Heron patiently hunting at the edge of a pond, or a Northern Cardinal perched in a snow-covered evergreen, the Mearns Club might be for you. Check us out by attending one of our monthly meetings—or, better still, join us for a field trip. Although we’re based in Orange County, New York, we venture beyond the county boundaries to explore the Hudson Valley’s diverse birding habitats and to seek out migrating birds. Did you know that more than 250 bird species have been observed in Orange County?

ORANGE COUNTY CHECKLIST

Come explore the birding world with us. We’re certain you’ll enjoy spending time outdoors, experiencing the scenery and all the exciting and enlightening things nature has to offer in the Hudson Valley. You can start with the beautiful images on this site, which were generously shared by Mearns Club members.

Some Mearns Club members on the annual Cape Ann trip (2017)

About Us

Club Activities

During the spring, winter, and fall, club members lead weekly birding field trips in and around Orange County. In addition, we hold monthly meetings, which feature a presentation on birding-related topics, such as habitat, ecology, and travel. We take part in the statewide Audubon Christmas Bird Count, as well as the winter waterfowl count for Orange County. The club is also a member organization of the New York State Ornithological Association (Region 9–Hudson-Delaware) and a partner organization of the New York State Young Birders Club. Mearnsers are integral participants in the hawk watches at Mount Peter and Bear Mountain and assist with the Hawk Migration Association of North America‘s winter raptor survey.

How to Join

The Mearns Club welcomes new members—please join us! Membership entitles you to attend all club events and field trips, and you’ll also receive our semiannual newsletter, “The Orange Feather.” Annual dues are $20 for an individual membership, $30 for a family membership, and $8 for a student membership. Please mail a completed membership form, along with a check made payable to E. A. Mearns Bird Club, to the club treasurer: Linda Strohl, 8 Park Road, Salisbury Mills, NY 12577.

MEMBERSHIP FORM

  • Merlin. Photo by Dave Baker.

Email Discussion Group at Groups.io

You can receive e-mails about Mearns Bird Club business and activities by joining the club’s email discussion group at Groups.io. On this platform, the club also maintains records and information about birding in the Hudson Valley. To join the discussion group and access group content, you’ll need a free Groups.io account (email address and password required). After creating an account, request to join the E.A. Mearns Bird Club group. Note that you don’t have to be a member of the Mearns Club to join the email discussion group.

GROUPS.IO

  • Snow Geese. Photo by Karen Miller.

WhatsApp Bird Alerts

Dues-paying members can participate the club’s WhatsApp bird alert system to be notified about rare or uncommon birds in the area (Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties). Want to know how to reply privately to a WhatsApp message, instead of to the entire group? Read the instructions here.

WHATSAPP GUIDELINES

Board of Directors

President: Karen C. Miller
Vice-president: Kathleen Ashman
Treasurer: Linda Strohl
Secretary: Kathy Hranowsky
Chair of Outings and Christmas Count: Bob Slechta
Program Chair: Alan Wells
Membership Chair: Della Wells
Website Administrator: Carlotta Shearson

  • Ovenbird. Photo by Dave Baker. "During the day, it utters a loud chant; always monotonous, and sometimes positively disagreeable to the weary listener." —EA Mearns

Our History

The Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club—founded in 1959 and based in Orange County, New York—takes its name from ornithologist and naturalist Edgar A. Mearns, who was born in Highland Falls in 1856. Mearns’s fascination with nature began at an early age, and he published his first paper, “The Capture of several Rare Birds near West Point, N.Y.,” when he was only 22. He continued his work as a naturalist during his long career as an Army surgeon, collecting specimens and making observations wherever the Army posted him; and he maintained extensive records of the flora and fauna of our area. His A List of the Birds of the Hudson Highlands, with Annotations was published in 1878. Mearns was a founding member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. At the time of his death, in 1916, it was estimated that he had collected or contributed more than a tenth of the total number of bird specimens in the U.S. National Museum (now part of the Smithsonian).

Edgar A. Mearns. Source: Smithsonian Institution.