Birding America VIII

Last Saturday Arthur and I attended Birding America VIII, sponsored by the Chicago Audubon Society. The event was a kind of symposium, beginning with a keynote address by Joe Lill, former president of CAS.

When we arrived I got the thrill of my life seeing one of ‘my’ bumper stickers on a car in the parking lot. I just had to take a picture!

Following the morning keynote, attendees could choose from several hour-long sessions. Generally these break-out sessions or workshops fell into three categories: Near Chicago Birding Areas; International Birding Trips; and Skill-Building Workshops. This was a nice mix and we attended sessions of all three types through the course of the day. Before the lunch break we learned about the local specialties of southern Arizona and “Birding the Frozen North” (Wisconsin). The Wisconsin presentation was by Steve Betchkal, author of All of This and Robins Too: A Guide to the 50 or so Best Places to Find Birds in Wisconsin.

Clair Postmus answers questions about the birds of Arizona. His wife Bev gave the presentation.

During the lunch break, birds of prey from three area centers were on display. One of the groups was Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, and the Saturday class of Raptor Interns was on hand to handle the birds. Yes, I was jealous! There were also birds from the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest and Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington.

A Great Horned Owl from Stillman Nature Center

Dawn with 0511, the Red-tailed Hawk. 0511 will make another appearance on this blog very soon!

In the afternoon we attended Dave Willard’s lecture on hazards of migration through Chicago, and a group presentation on bird conservation opportunities in the Chicago region. The final keynote address, by Kevin Karlson, was about the wonders of migration. It featured fabulous photographs by the Shorebird Guide co-author and noted birding trip leader.

Dave Willard answers questions about bird collisions in Chicago

It was a fun day and I learned a lot. Ironically the weather on Saturday was the most spectacular for several days before and since, yet 100+ birders were inside for their hobby! Anyway, I look forward to attending the next Birding America – hopefully on a rainy day! 😉

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