Sharing the joy of birds since 1971

Archive for September, 2023

Raptor Weekend!

Meet amazing raptors face-to-face at our Southern Maryland Audubon in-person meeting 10:30-noon Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Port Tobacco Recreation Center in Charles County. Raptor expert Mike Callahan will describe the behavior and habits of hawks, eagles and owls native to Southern Maryland. 

Mike will be accompanied by several live raptors from the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center, providing a closer look at these magnificent and remarkable birds. Open to all ages. Event is free and no RSVP required.

Open to all ages. Port Tobacco Recreation Center, 8190 Port Tobacco Road, Port Tobacco, MD 20677

(Mike Callahan with Barn Owl by Todd Anderson)

But wait, there’s more! Gene Groshon, naturalist with Calvert County Government Department of Parks & Recreation will be sharing Adventures in Raptor Research on Friday, Oct. 6 from 7-9 p.m. at Flag Ponds Nature Park, 1525 Flag Ponds Pkwy, Lusby, MD 20657. Event is free, but please register at:

30-Year-Old Royal Tern Spotted

Ben Springer has reported hundreds of banded terns and gulls to the U.S. Geological Survey.

But, he wasn’t prepared for the notice he received on a Royal Tern he spotted at Point Patience at the Solomon’s Navy Recreation Center this past July.

“I just got a band return for one of the Royal Terns I reported this summer and he’s 30 years old, banded in 1993!” Springer texted me when he received notification from the USGS. “That’s only six months younger than the oldest ever known.”

Springer’s Royal Tern Number 174-29837 169 was banded as a nestling in 1993 before it could even fly, according to the certificate USGS sent Springer. It was banded July 9, 1993, at Rhodes Point in Accomack County, VA. Thats about 34 miles, as the tern flies, from where Springer photographed it this July 12.

The year the Royal Tern hatched Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Beanie Babies first hit the market, gasoline was $1.16 a gallon, Bill Clinton took office as President and Ben Springer had not yet been born.

Springer, who is vice president of Southern Maryland Audubon and is a senior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, surveys for banded terns as part of an internship he’s had for three years at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

“This one was in a flock with some other terns and gulls,” said Springer. “There was a flock on the point most days and I would go out to get band numbers. Most of the time new birds would be there each day I went out.”

Royal Terns stand out with their brilliant tangerine orange bill and racy black crest against a snowy white head.

Springer tucked his camera under his t-shirt and straddled a paddle board with a kayak paddle to get close enough to the birds to photograph the small silver bands on their legs. His 30-year-old tern was one of 21 Royal Terns he identified that day.

Springer estimated he has reported about 120 banded Royal Terns and 130 Common Terns this year. But, in the bird world, No. 174-29837 169 stands out as true royalty.

Photo by Ben Springer. Story by Molly Moore

Upcoming Events: Bird walks & talks

We have a great line-up of events for all ages! Click here to sign up for any of our free activities:

In-Person Monthly Meeting/Meet Southern Maryland Birds of Prey live and up close. SATURDAY, October 7 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm:

Port Tobacco Recreation Center 8190 Port Tobacco Road, Port Tobacco, MD, United States


September 30 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am:Birding the Fields and Trails of Sotterley

Historic Sotterley 44300 Sotterley Lane, Hollywood, MD, United States

October 8 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm: Bird Walk

Sharp-Tailed Sparrows and Migrants

Cove Point (Private property)

Joy of Nature Journaling

Oct. 22 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am (Please note this new time)

White Plains Regional Park, 1015 St. Charles Parkway, White Plains, MD 20695

Experience nature up-close and learn new nature journaling skills with Kaelyn Stewart. A great way to spend a colorful fall morning learning to look at birds and nature from a different angle. Workshop is free.  Open to all ages 10 and above. Sketchbook and pen will be provided. Meet in the park parking lot, look for us beneath a hand-held Southern Maryland Audubon logo sign. RSVP required to