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"Birds with a Gettysburg Address
 — the 2015 Edition"

(7/20) "Birds with a Gettysburg Address — the 2015 Edition" is a special nature program on Saturday, August 1, for the Gettysburg National Military Park’s summer series of nightly campfire programs. The free program begins at 8:30 p.m. at the park amphitheater along West Confederate Avenue.

This is the third year that Gettysburg resident and birding photographer, Bonnie Portzline, is sharing a slideshow and chat in the park about her recent birding experiences in and around Gettysburg National Military Park. She recommends the park to birdwatchers and nature lovers because that it where she learned to become a birder.

Photos in the 2015 edition are almost entirely new as she constantly updates it with interesting sightings of many of the more than 175 species reported within battlefield boundaries. She will reprise a few of her "National Geographic moments" from previous years and new ones, including a June sighting of a Bald Eagle soaring over downtown Gettysburg.

The photos in "Birds with a Gettysburg Address" tell stories about the colorful daily life of birds: courting, competition, nest-building, seeking food, protecting their territory and young, feeding their nestlings, leaving the nest, flying, and what appears to be problem-solving and being playful. There are dramas too, such as her photos of a screeching Mockingbird near Culp’s Hill fighting off a Red-tailed Hawk intent on stealing a young Mockingbird for lunch. Most of the program is a colorful celebration of birds that can entertain and inform birders and birders-to-be of all ages.

"I hope that appreciating birds as a wonderful presence in our lives reminds us of the ecological importance of caring for Adams County’s trees, fields, mountains, and streams — for the habitat or homes of birds and all living things," said Portzline. "After all, the health of birds and their habitat reflects the condition of the ecosystems upon which we humans depend. We are fortunate to have Gettysburg National Military Park both preserving history and conserving nature within its boundaries."

Portions of Gettysburg National Military Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site and private lands in the south of the county have been designated an "Important Birding Area" because of their grassland habitat. Portzline has photographed some of the bird species that rely on it such as the Bobolink and Dickcissel.

A resident of Gettysburg since graduating from Gettysburg College, Portzline has served as an educator for the South Mountain Audubon Society. She has written a monthly local news column, "Bird's Eye View." Raised in East Pennsboro Twp., across the Susquehanna from Harrisburg, she has been taking photos since her parents gave her a plastic film camera on her sixth birthday — at a picnic at the Gettysburg home of friends.

This program is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park. Throughout the summer the park presents free campfire programs at the amphitheater on West Confederate Avenue every night of the week at 8:30 p.m. This summer’s last regularly scheduled campfire program is August 18. For schedules of additional weekend campfire presentations, go to:

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history.

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