Who Are We

Downy Woodpecker

Photo Courtesy of Roger Mayhorn - mayhorn@netscope.net


Handlan Chapter is Charleston's oldest and only organized group dedicated to the study and enjoyment of wild birds.  We are part of a larger group, the independent Brooks Bird Club.

Active since 1944, our chapter sponsors a wide variety of activities designed to promote the care and protection of birds in their natural environment, and encourage wise stewardship of our natural resources.  We welcome folks with all levels of interest and skill in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.




Handlan Chapter was established on February 29, 1944 and named in honor of its president John W. Handlan.  Handlan had been one of the founders of Brooks Bird Club in Wheeling, WV, and wrote a nature column for the Charleston Gazette, "Signs Along the Trail".  The new chapter held a Christmas count in 1944 and a spring migration count in 1947.  Much research was conducted in the forties on the elusive Swainson's Warbler, with nests and populations finally documented in several Charleston local stream hollow locations.  In 1952 club members started traveling to Monroe County each fall to count migrating raptors on the peaks of Peter's Mountain.  In the sixties Handlan Chapter had a clubroom at Sunrise Museum and also hosted showings of the Audubon Wildlife Films.  The 60's and 70's also found us helping with birds at nearby Coonskin Park, Kanawha State Forest, and at a South Charleston purple martin roost.  We were feeding and banding birds and conducting nest counts.  We published "Birds of the Kanawha Valley" in 1976.  We helped with the statewide census for the "Atlas" project in 1984-89, leading to the publication of "The West Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas".  In 1994 we changed meeting sites to First Presbyterian Church and three years later we published a new edition of "Birds of the Kanawha Valley".  Most recently we published the "Swainson's Warbler" journal and partnered with Spring Hill Cemetery for bird walks and a bird checklist.  We now meet on the third Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the South Charleston Public Library

Least Sandpiper

Photo Courtesy of Joe Browning - dtb48@charter.net


Handlan Chapter Officers - 2016

President Jim Smith
Secretary Marilyn Morton
Treasurer Laura Mahony
Executive Committee Member Doren Burrell
Executive Committee Member Joan Steven
Executive Committee Member Laura Ceperley



Program Committee

Chairperson Laura Ceperley
Committee Person Jim Waggy
Committee Person Martha Hopper




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