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The Midwest Birding Symposium in Lakeside, OH

MBS Speaker Bios

Jane Alexander

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

2009 MBS Topic: Birding On and Off the Movie Set.

During her illustrious career on stage and screen, Jane Alexander has always kept bird watching as an important part of her life. In this presentation she will share some of her more memorable experiences as an actor who also watches birds.

Paul Baicich

2009 MBS Topic: National Wildlife Refuges: Great Birding Made Even Better

For birders, National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) offer spectacular destinations where birds can often be found in lavish abundance or in spectacular diversity. Some of the best birding to be found in the country is to be found on NWRs; some of the "most-wanted birds" are also to be found on refuges. This presentation reminds us about this reality and stresses some of the ways that refuges are striving to become better birding destinations.

Al Batt

2009 MBS Topic: Snippets from a Life Gone to the Birds.

You will not want to miss this presentation. Al is a delightful humorist, storyteller and birding enthusiast from Hartland, Minnesota. Al will appeal to everyone-avid birder or novice. His stories will tickle your funny bone. He has a "down-home" style that will bring back memories of your childhood and those wonderful times gone by. His talk will make you feel so good you'll want to sing like a bird!

Mike Bergin and Sharon Stiteler

2009 MBS Topic: Blogging About Birds

Find out about blogging from two of today's most popular and successful bird bloggers. Mike Bergin is one of the founders and creators of the popular birding site 10,000 Birds (10000birds.com). He has been blogging about birds and about other bird bloggers for several years. Many people think that bird blogs are the new virtual bird clubs. Mike will explain what a blog is and why we bird watchers seem to be so taken by the plethora of bird blogs on the Web today.

Jim Berry

2009 MBS Topic: Roger Tory Peterson: Yesterday and Today

Roger Tory Peterson was perhaps the greatest birder/naturalist of all time. His Field Guide to Birds, first published in 1934, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and with moving bird study out of the shotgun era. Today Peterson's work and message are still as vibrant as they were in the mid-20th century. Jim Berry traces the influence of this great American and demonstrates RTP's impact on today's thoroughly modern birder.

Jeff Bouton

2009 MBS Topic: The Digiscoping All-Stars

Jeff Bouton has been digiscoping birds and wildlife since before we knew what digiscoping was. He and a hand-picked few of his birding optics colleagues will do a tag-team presentation on digiscoping. We're calling this The Digiscoping All-Stars because these people are, quite simply, the best digiscopers in the world. Jeff and the DAS team will be outside on both Friday and Saturday mornings doing their digiscoping thing and helping you do yours.

Sorry no audio file available for this program.

Lang Elliott

2009 MBS Topic: Sound Quest: 20 years of Recording Birds and Nature

For a little over two decades, Lang has traveled far and wide in North America recording birds, frogs, insects, and mammals. In this presentation, Lang will tell stories about his adventures in the field and share a number of his favorite recordings, from habitat soundscapes to species portraits, nearly all recorded at the crack of dawn or in the middle of the night.

Jeffrey A. Gordon

2009 MBS Topic: How Technology Can Enhance—Not Clutter—Your Birding

Every week brings news of various digital doodads that are supposed to make birding easier and/or more fun. But how well do these things really work? Do you need a degree in computer science to operate them? We'll ask representatives from a number of companies that offer tech-oriented birding devices to demonstrate their products, then open a discussion on how ipods, cameras, or computers might just join binoculars on your list of must-have birding equipment.

Alvaro Jaramillo

2009 MBS Topic: Bird ID Outside the Box

This workshop will aim to teach a little bit of birding voodoo and introduce other features to concentrate on while birding. It also aims to be fun and informative and certainly not above anyone's head. The hope is that you will come out of it aching to try out some of what you have learned and begin to claw yourself out of the birding box.

Dr. Andy Jones

2009 MBS Topic: Who Keeps Changing My Field Guide? A review of what scientists are up to that causes field guides and checklists to be revised so frequently.

This talk highlights several major reasons for why the common and scientific names of the birds are not the same today as when you first started birding (remember the Rufous-sided Towhee, the Slate-colored Junco, and the Northern Oriole?). It will also cover some of the prospects for future changes.

Sorry no audio file available for this program.

Kenn Kaufman

2009 MBS Topic: Flights Against the Sunset: Why We Need Birds

If you're caught in the grip of a birding addiction, how do you explain that to someone you love -- or to yourself? How do you make the lure of bird watching understandable for someone who has never tried it? No, Kenn doesn't know the answers to these questions, either. But in this wide-ranging and thought-provoking talk, he calls on a host of his unusual friends -- bikers, spies, monks, musicians, gourmet chefs, polar explorers, and more -- to help him look at the questions, and at the birds themselves, from a series of brand-new angles.

Ben Lizdas, Eagle Optics

2009 MBS Topic: The Basics of Birding Optics

Ben Lizdas answers loads of questions each day from bird watchers looking to purchase the right binocular or spotting scope. This experience, along with his many appearances at birding and nature festivals across North America, makes Ben uniquely suited to offer solid advice on optics for bird watchers. Bring your optics questions along and Ben will answer them.

Jim McCormac

2009 MBS Topic: Birding Ohio's Lake Erie Shore

We're starting off the 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium with an overview of the birds of Ohio's Lake Erie region. There's no better person to give us just such an overview than Ohio's own Jim McCormac. Whether you're from the Buckeye State or from some far-flung corner of the bird watching universe you won't want to miss this entertaining and informative program.

Arthur Morris, Birds As Art

2009 MBS Topic: Digital Bird Photography Basics

Few people are as focused on getting the perfect bird photograph as Artie Morris is. In this program he will show some of his best images and discuss how they were taken, and share some of the reasons why he loves bird photography so much.

Wayne R. Petersen

2009 MBS Topic: Tattlers, Twitchets, and Creakers: Getting To Know Inland Shorebirds.

Lots of birders typically associate shorebirds only with coastal regions, yet many species regularly migrate in large numbers through interior areas as well. Where appropriate conditions exist, sometimes hundreds of individuals of a variety of species can be found concentrated in appropriate habitats during both spring and fall migration. This brief workshop will offer some thoughts on where to look for some of these species and how to recognize them when they are encountered. Notes on behavior, feeding ecology, molt, and plumage acquisition will be included that collectively should be helpful in sorting out these often similar species.

Diane Porter

2009 MBS Topic: The Joys of Backyard Birds

Some great bird watching can happen right outside your windows. Diane Porter will share some of her magical and fascinating experiences as an avid birder who rediscovered the joys of her own backyard.

David Allen Sibley

2009 MBS Topic: Trees, Birds & Birders

David Sibley's newest book is The Sibley Guide to Trees, covering more than 600 North American tree species. His MBS presentation will discuss the creation of the new Trees guide and the connections between trees, birds, and bird watchers.

Dr. Amanda Rodewald

2009 MBS Topic: Singing the Blues: The Challenge of Conserving the Cerulean Warbler

Amanda will discuss the challenges associated with conserving neotropical migratory birds. In her talk, she'll use the declining cerulean warbler as an example to illustrate how research and conservation efforts can be coordinated.

Bill Thompson, III

2009 MBS Topic: No Child Left Inside: Birds as a Doorway into Nature

Bill Thompson, III spent three years working with his daughter Phoebe's elementary-school class to create a new bird book for kids. Called The Young Birder's Guide to Eastern Birds, the book is intended to give young people ages 8 to 12 an introduction to the world of birds in a way they can appreciate and enjoy. It is a part of the Peterson Field Guide Series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

He'll discuss how the book was created, how to get kids interested in nature, and will share stories about his own adventures as a young birder. Bill will also offer some insight into countering the growing trend of "nature deficit disorder."

Scott Weidensaul

2009 MBS Topic: Of a Feather: A (Brief) History of American Birding

Join naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul as he traces the unpredictable history of bird study in America, from frontier ornithologists (one of whom barely escaped pursuing Apaches with a precious hawk egg hidden in his mouth) to society matrons who organized the first effective conservation movement; from luminaries like Alexander Wilson (a convicted blackmailer) and Audubon (an accomplished liar) to modern geniuses like Roger Tory Peterson.

Chris Wood (Cornell Lab, eBird)

2009 MBS Topic: Do You eBird?

Chris Wood explains what eBird is and why so many bird watchers are using it to keep their lists and share their sightings.

Sorry no audio file available for this program.

Julie Zickefoose

2009 MBS Topic: Letters From Eden

Letters from Eden is a naturalist's journal, telling the countless small stories of the woods and meadows in flowing prose and lively watercolors. Copperheads strike; starlings battle and become prey; bullfrogs snap up hummingbirds in Julie Zickefoose's essays. Though firmly rooted in southern Ohio, this book has struck a powerful chord with readers nationwide, evoking the rhythms of the seasons and an awareness of natural events that many people long for in the age of "nature deficit disorder." Reading from her work while showing her paintings and photographs, Julie will reveal the deep connection with nature that keeps her walking her 80-acre Appalachian sanctuary outside Whipple, Ohio.