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The Midwest Birding Symposium 2009, September 17-20, 2009 in Lakeside, OH

Special Activities

In addition to the great programs, awesome birding locations, fabulous shopping in the Birder's Marketplace, and fellowship with hundreds of other bird watchers, the Midwest Birding Symposium will also be offering a variety of special events and offerings. Watch this page for updates as our plans for the 2009 MBS continue to evolve!

Lake Erie Island Sunset Boat Cruise Aboard the Goodtime I

Take a sunset boat cruise aboard the Goodtime I!

Start your Midwest Birding Symposium adventure on Thursday night, September 17, with a sunset boat cruise among Lake Erie's beautiful islands. The M/V Goodtime I, a sleek, all-steel vessel built for ocean-going cruises, will be loading passengers at the Lakeside dock for this specially chartered sunset cruise.

At 117 feet long, she is Coast-Guard-approved to carry 355 passengers, but we will keep our number to the first 250 registrants to maximize comfort. The Goodtime I is frequently used for private charters and special excursions, so she is well-equipped with complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. The ample windows and outside decks offer excellent opportunities for some easy birding while we're under way.

Our adventure begins when we leave port at Lakeside. Lake Erie is the 10th largest lake on Earth and, of the five Great Lakes of North America, it is the fourth largest by surface area, although the shallowest and smallest by volume. We can expect to see some of the following gull species: herring, ring-billed, Bonaparte's, and possibly great or lesser black-backed gulls. Caspian, common, Forster's, and black terns may all be visible on our cruise around South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay) and Kelleys Island. Both islands are Important Bird Areas and provide a stopover for migratory birds, both in spring and fall.

Enjoy the Lake Erie sunset and meet some of the nicest people on earth: your fellow bird watchers. The Goodtime I departs the Lakeside dock at 6:00 pm on September 17th and returns shortly after dark.


Attention: There is no parking available at the Lakeside Dock. Please park at the Lakeside Welcome Center at the South Gate entrance on Route 163. Plan to be early and enjoy the lakefront!

Free shuttles to and from the dock will run between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., and continue after the cruise concludes at 8:00 p.m. Passengers will board the boat from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.

Opposable Chums: Guts & Glory at the World Series of Birding

Filmmaker Jason Kessler follows several different World Series teams and individuals in this first-ever nature documentary comedy. The movie is free to all MBS attendees. There will be two screenings held in Orchestra Hall - one at 7:00 pm on Thursday night, then a second at 8:30 pm for attendees returning from the boat cruise. Don't miss it!

Update: the 8:30 PM showing of Opposale Chums is full! Seats are still available for the 7:00 showing. Register today >>

Learn more about the movie >>

Birders' Exchange Program

The Midwest Birding Symposium (MBS) is partnering with Birders' Exchange and Eagle Optics to collect old-but-still-useable binoculars and spotting scopes during the MBS, September 17 to 20, 2009. We are encouraging all symposium attendees to bring their old optics with them to donate to Birders' Exchange.

Birders' Exchange (which is operated under the auspices of the American Birding Association) takes used birding equipment and matches it with local scientists, conservationists, and educators in Latin America and the Caribbean. In these areas, many researchers, educators, and conservationists work without the most basic equipment.

Birders' Exchange will collect the optics, clean them, and will see that they are delivered to needy guides, researchers, and programs in the American tropics. Please note that any optics being donated need to be in good working order.

You'll feel good about donating your old optics, but here's a reason to feel even better:

Eagle Optics, a Midwest Birding Symposium sponsor, is sweetening the deal for any symposium attendee making an optics donation to the MBS/Birders' Exchange program. Each donor will receive a coupon for a discount on the purchase of new optics as well as a free Eagle Optics harness strap*. Now that's doing well by doing good! (*One coupon/strap per MBS attendee, please)

Digiscoping Birds with the Digiscoping All-stars

We have arranged with several optics companies to have their "pros" conduct a digiscoping workshop. On Friday, September 18th and Saturday, September 19th, from 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM, they will hold an informal digiscoping session for a small group of interested attendees. They will begin their workshop at South Auditorium, and move on from there. Bring your digiscoping rig if you have one, or your digiscoping questions if you don't. Below is a list of confirmed representatives—the folks we call our Digiscoping All-stars:

  • Eagle Optics - Ben Lizdas
  • Swarovski - Clay Taylor & Sharon Stiteler
  • Kowa - Joshua Lazenby
  • Leica - Jeff Bouton
  • Zeiss - Stephen Ingraham
  • Nikon - Mike Freiberg

Back To The Wild Exhibit

Birds of Prey - up close and personal. Learn about their lives in the wild and their importance in the environment. In this presentation, you will see live hawks, owls and a Bald Eagle, who serve as ambassadors, to help this rehabilitation center educate thousands of children and adults each year.

BACK TO THE WILD is a non-profit Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Education Centers located in Castalia, Ohio. The center was founded in 1990 by Bill and Mona Rutger and is situated on 30 acres, at the Rutger’s private residence. It is one of the few centers in Ohio licensed to accept injured and orphaned wildlife for the purpose of rehabilitation and release back into the wild. Throughout each year, over 2,500 wild animals are treated at this center including hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds, waterfowl, deer, fox, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, skunks, reptiles and amphibians. Every effort is made to return each animal back into its natural habitat. Special permits allow permanently disabled, non-releasable live hawks and owls to be used as educational tools to help visitors understand the most critical problem facing wildlife today — loss of habitat. Open to the community, this center presents educational programs to over 65,000 students and members of youth groups and adult organizations each year, where listeners are encouraged to respect, appreciate, preserve and protect our natural world.

The Back to the Wild Exhibit will be a part of the MBS all day on Friday and Saturday (from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM). The exhibit will be held in a tent outside of South Auditorium. Attendees are also welcome to visit and tour the center on Sunday, after the Symposium is over.

Learn more about Back to the Wild >>

Birding on a Segway!

You've seen people riding Segways, the two-wheeled vehicles that roll quietly down city streets, mall walkways, and woodland paths. Now's your chance to experience birding on a Segway at the 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium!

Our friends at Firefly Hollow will be offering Segway tours (from 7:30 to 9:30 am) around the Lakeside grounds during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the MBS. One tour will be offered on each day, and five Segways will be available for each of the tours. The tour will consist of 1/2 hour orientation/training and 1 hour for the actual tour. Helmets will be provided and required for all riders, and each Segway is equipped with a bag to hold your birding gear.

Cost is just $45 per person. Riders must be at least 18 years old and weigh between 100-250 lbs.

Don't miss out on this great birding opportunity! To reserve your spot on an MBS Segway birding tour, call 740-541-9821.

Songbird Banding Demonstration

A songbird banding demonstration will be held at Black Swamp Bird Observatory on Friday, September 18 and Saturday, September 19 from 8:00-9:30 AM. Don't miss this opportunity to learn fascinating facts about bird banding, migration in this area, and see some incredibly beautiful birds "up close and personal."

Read more about the Black Swamp Bird Observatory on our Birding Sites page >>

MBS does the Big Sit!

Come join your fellow birders on the scenic shore of Lake Erie for the Midwest Birding Symposium's Big Sit, which will take place all day (midnight to midnight) on Saturday, September 19th. The Big Sit is like a bird-a-thon in that the object is to tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours, but from within a 17-foot diameter circle! If interested in taking part, look for signs for the Big Sit near the Pavilion at the waterfront anytime during that 24-hour period. This event is FREE! Don't Miss Out!

Digital Photography with Arthur Morris of Birds As Art

Are you interested in digital photography? If so, you don't want to miss out on Artie Morris' workshop. On Saturday, September 19th, from 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM, Artie will hold an informal digital photography session. He will meet interested attendees at the back entrance to Hoover Auditorium. Please bring your camera and be prepared to walk around the Lakeside grounds taking better digital pictures than you ever have before.

Birding Uganda: Astounding Bird Diversity in Central Africa

By Herbert Byaruhanga
Bird Uganda Safaris

Time: 8:00 am, Saturday, September 19
Orchestra Hall

Uganda is landlocked and falls at the confluence of a number of biomes in Central Africa, each with its characteristic avifauna. From the source of the River Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Rwenzori ranges, the montane forests to the semi-arid plains of Karamoja, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrast. Despite its relatively small size, Uganda remains the richest in terms of biodiversity in Africa. This can be demonstrated by an incredible record of more than 600 species listed on a three-week tour (the highest for any protected area in Africa), and a 296 species recorded in one day in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Join Herbert Byaruhanga from Bird Uganda Safaris to learn about this fascinating Central African birding destination.

Herbert Byaruhanga has been leading bird and nature tours in Uganda for a decade and a half. He is the managing director of Bird Uganda Safaris Ltd. and he is rated among the top bird guides in Africa. Since 1995, after founding Uganda Safari Guides Association, Herbert has been instrumental in fostering the tours and travel sector in Uganda.

Visit Guatemala!

By Hugo Haroldo Enriquez Toledo

Time: Saturday, September 19th 9:00 AM
Orchestra Hall

Join native Guatemalan, Hugo Enriquez Toledo as he introduces you to the wonders of birding in Guatemala! Hugo has been leading birding tours in Guatemala for more than 15 years and is currently a research associate for the Center of Conservation Studies at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. With its mosaic of seven primary eco-regions, Guatemala's avifauna is among the world's most diverse. More than 700 bird species are found in this small Central American country. Hugo will share many of his most remarkable bird-related experiences, including his quest to see the horned guan, the stunning pink-headed warbler, and the long-tailed manakin.

The Ohio Ornithological Society is proud to announce GUATEMALA ADVENTURE 2010! Stop by the OOS booth or the INGUAT Guatemala Tourism booth in the vendor halls.

THE Ohio Young Birders Club presents:
Activities for Young Birders!

Saturday September 19, 2009 is Young Birder's Day at the Midwest Birding Symposium! Join us from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Wo-Ho-Mis (across the street from South Auditorium). Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Our friends from the Ohio Young Birders Club and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory will offer the following activities:


The Binocular Laboratory—kids will make a pair of binoculars and learn how to use them

The Feeding Station—kids will build a bird feeder out of a variety of common recycled items

Fun with the Hooos!—kids will make an owl puppet or mask

Middle School:

Midwest Birding Symposium Junior Duck Stamp Contest—We'll help participants paint a portrait of their favorite duck, goose, or swan! Lily Sprang, winner of this year's National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, will be leading the activity along with her brother Eli, an Ohio Junior Duck Stamp winner and national runner-up!

We'll also give all our artists materials introducing them (and their parents and teachers) to the Junior Duck Stamp Contest. When the portraits are finished, artists can choose to take their art home with them or enter it into the contest. We will award prizes for the top three contest entries.

For Teens:

Bird Walk—The Ohio Young Birders Club will lead a bird walk from 8:00 – 9:45 a.m. Saturday on the Lakeside grounds. We will meet at the front entrance to the Hotel Lakeside.

For details, contact BSBO at 419-898-4070.

All About Bird Blogs

With Mike Bergin of 10000Birds.com

Several bloggers will be blogging in our Birder's Marketplace. They will be demonstrating their blogs and creating new blog posts LIVE. Don't miss out — stop by and see them in action!