Classroom Presentations

Items with a binocular  icon are recommended for beginning birders.

Classroom Presentations at a Glance

1:00pm-2:00pm

4-119 — Demystifying Colombia
4-121 — Birding as a Development Strategy
4-123 — Upper TX Gulf Coast

 

2:30pm-3:30pm

4-119 –Waterfowl for Casual Birders
4-121 – Panama Bio-Diversity
4-123 – Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, Birding on America’s Byways

 

4:00pm-5:00pm

4-119 – Why is Texas #1?
4-121 – Cultivating the Wild
4-113 – Japan–North to South Then North Again

 

5:00pm-5:45pm: Sips and Bits

1:00pm-2:00pm

4-119 –Learning Gull ID
4-121 – Rails: Secrets of Swamp
4-123 – Worldwide Birding on Ships
1-113—Costa Rica Pura Vida Birding

 

2:30pm-3:30pm

4-119 – 7-Fold Path to Birding
4-121 – Birds of Cuba
4-123 – Birding British Isles
1-113 – A Case of the Shoebill at Mabamba Wetland and Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

 

4:00pm-5:00pm

4-119 – Bird Watching in Spain
4-121 – Birding Panama Hot Spots
4-123 – Explore Borneo
1-113 – Healing Power of Birds

 

5:00pm-5:45pm: Sips and Bits

1:00pm-2:00pm

4-119 – Magnificent Shore Birds
4-121 – Amazon Journeys Manu Road
4-123 – Waterfowl 101
1-113 – Livingstone African Safaris

 

2:30pm-3:30pm

4-119 — Conservation Two FL Kites (this one is 2:15pm-3:15pm)
4-121 – Explore Antarctica
4-123 – Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs
1-113 – BWD: Legacy Lives On

 

4:00pm-5:00pm

4-119 – Sparrow ID Workshop
4-121 – Cultivating the Wild
4-123 – Rails: Secrets of Swamp
1-113 – Birds of Borneo

 

5:00pm-5:45pm: Sips and Bits

1:00pm-2:00pm

4-119 – Marine Resources Council
4-121 – Birds of Honduras
4-123 – 7 Wonders Birding
1-113 – Bird Detective Class & Walk (1:00pm – 3:30pm)

2:10pm-3:00pm – Coexisting With FL Bears

 

2:30pm-3:30pm

4-119 – Birding Costa Rica Hot Spots
4-121 – Explore Borneo
4-123 – Brevard Zoo

 

3:10pm-4:00pm – Woodpeckers are Cool!

 

4:00pm-5:00pm

4-119 – Spring Migration
4-121 – Mantas Whale Sharks
4-123 – African Birdlife
1-113 –Life & Times Dolphins 4:10-5:00 pm
1-114 – Birding Across Texas

 

5:00pm-5:45pm: Sips and Bits

Classroom Presentations A-Z

7 Wonders Birding – The Bucket List Approach to Birding – The Birding Revolution
Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)
Jan. 25, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-123
The future of birding contains more photo-oriented birding. It is pushing the demand for a new form of birdwatching tours. Most birders of tomorrow will not be very interested in long life lists of birds seen, but rather the beauty of the birds seen or photographed. Kolibri Expeditions new venture 7 Wonders Birding takes you around the world to see the best species, and at the same time lets you see cultural highlights and iconic mammals. Short tours, with high focus of birds, mammals and experiences you will remember.

 

 

A Case of the Shoebill at Mabamba Wetland and Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Judith Mirembe (Bird Uganda Safaris)
Jan. 23, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 1-113
Uganda is a country that is rich in biodiversity. This is supported by the favorable climate and its location in the tropics. Uganda has over 1080 species of birds and among these is a globally threatened species, the prehistoric Shoebill. The Shoebill is a Vulnerable Species on the IUCN and is found in 12 of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Uganda. With a small population left only in about 8 countries in the world, Uganda offers the best chances of seeing this prehistoric bird. Uganda has made tremendous efforts in conserving the Shoebill through communities around the wetlands which it inhabits. These local populations benefit from proceeds that come from the bird watching and gorilla tracking activities. Uganda offers one of the best opportunities for seeing a Shoebill and tracking Gorillas all in one trip.

 

 

African Birdlife: Beyond the Lions, Leopards and Elephants
Shem Compion (C4 Photo Safaris)
Vicki Santello (Vicki Santello Photography)
Jan. 25, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-123
Many people associate an African safari with seeing the Big Five animals, such as lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo as well as other iconic species like giraffe, hippopotamus and zebra. What they don’t realize is that Africa is full of wonderful and exceptionally flamboyant birdlife which can be very easy to photograph. Shem and Vicki will take you on a journey of color and beauty through exotic bird images (and a few animals too) they have taken on their travels across Africa whilst on safari. They will show you just what is possible when in Africa and how you, too, can attain such images. Shem is the founder and owner of C4 Photo Safaris. Vicki is a Florida based photographer whose award-winning photographs have appeared in museums and galleries and been published in The Wild Lens magazine.

 

 

Amazon Journeys: Birding on Peru’s Manu Road
James Adams (Amazon Journeys)
Jan. 24, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-121
The Amazon Conservation Association protects over 3.5 million acres of rain and cloud forest in Peru and Bolivia. Much of this work is funded through their eco-tourism business, Amazon Journeys, which hosts thousands of scientists and bird watchers each year at its three lodges; Wayqecha, Villa Carmen, and Los Amigos. Two of these lodges, Wayqecha at over 10,000 feet elevation and Villa Carmen at 1,000 feet are situated at the upper and lower reaches of the birding-famous Manu Road, adjacent to Manu National Park which is a huge, tropical wilderness area roughly the size of Connecticut. Manu protects forests, wildlife, indigenous groups, and an incredibly rich 1,000 bird species; over half of Peru’s 1,800 species! James Adams will take us on a journey from the misty peaks of the Andean cloud forests to the Amazon basin, showcasing the emblematic and diverse birds and wildlife among this elevational gradient, and describing the conservation successes of Amazon Conservation and Amazon Journeys lodges, thanks to scientists, nature travelers and bird watchers alike.

 

 

Birding as a Community Development Strategy
Gustavo Ustariz (Choose Honduras)
Jan. 22, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-121
Many neotropical migratory birds that we know and love spend the winter season in Central America, a geographic region facing many social, economic, and environmental challenges. With so many pressing issues to address, conservation of natural spaces is not always a top priority for local governments; creating the need to come up with innovative solutions. These migratory birds need healthy habitats in their wintering grounds to prepare them for their migration flights back to their breeding grounds in North America.

In this presentation we will explore ways in which birding can be part of a strategy for socioeconomic development, providing a boost to the local economies, creating quality jobs, generating opportunities for entrepreneurship, and creating incentives for the local residents to protect the natural environment; thereby helping protect the wintering grounds of North American birds. Under the premise that “a healthy habitat for birds is a healthy habitat for humans”, we can tackle multiple issues. Gustavo will present examples of private sector and grassroots initiatives taking shape in the region, as well as provide tips and ideas of what you can do to help protect these important wintering grounds.

 

Birding Across Texas: The Best Places to Go, and What to See There 
Jesse Huth (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 25, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 1-114
In this talk you will learn how to efficiently bird the best birdwatching areas in Texas, separated into sensible birding routes.  We will discuss places to go, what to do there, and what birds you can expect to find at each location.  The areas we discus will include Central Texas, South Texas, West Texas, the Upper and Central Texas coast, East Texas, and North Texas.  And we will talk about finding specialties like Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Whooping Crane, Morelet’s Seedeater, Colima Warbler, and more.

 

 

Birding Panama’s Hotspots
Carlos Bethancourt (Canopy Family, Panama)
Jan. 23, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-121

Panama is blessed with incredible natural beauty and biodiversity. Over 1,000 bird species, hundreds of mammals, reptiles & amphibians, and a staggering number of butterflies, dragonflies, beetles and plant species and have been recorded here. Join Canopy Family’s knowledgeable and entertaining senior guide on a photographic journey of the tropical birds, bizarre mammals, unusual reptiles & amphibians and spectacular habitats from the Canal Zone, into the foothills of western Panama, and then into the wilds of the Darién in eastern Panama—all the favorite hotspots—from toucans to hummingbirds, mouse opossums to tongue-wielding Orange Nectar Bats, Carlos will keep you spellbound with his stories of discovery and vivid images. Come experience why Panama is indeed the country of amazing natural history and a favorite destination for serious birders who want to explore some of Central America’s famous hotspots.

 

 

Birding the Hot Spots of Costa Rica
Barry Rossheim (Holbrook Travel / Selva Verde Lodge & Private Reserve)
Jan. 25, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-119

Thousands of years ago, rugged volcanic mountain ranges erected barriers between the Caribbean and Pacific lowlands; they formed a land bridge linking North and South American fauna in Costa Rica, making this small country “big” when it comes to biodiversity and a mecca for bird lovers worldwide. Join us for an introduction to birding the varied and splendid “hot spots” of beautiful Costa Rica. Costa Rica boasts around 900 spectacular avian species in easy-to-access habitats and within relatively short distances, making the country a true paradise for birders.  Venture across montane cloud forests, deep into valleys and lowland rainforests, through mangroves, along two ocean coastlines, and everywhere in between. Parrots, toucans, tanagers, trogons, macaws, hummingbirds, motmots and flycatchers are only some of the beautiful birds to be discovered! Barry Rossheim, a zoology teacher at Venice High School and Venice Area Audubon Society member has used Holbrook Travel to lead student and adult birding groups to Costa Rica over a dozen times since 2005. He is excited to share his Costa Rica birding experiences.

 

 

Birds of Borneo – Endemic Species and Birdwatching in Sabah
Dean Jais (Sticky Rice Travel)

Jan. 24, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 1-113
Borneo is a tropical haven with numerous birdwatching locations, including Kinabalu Park, Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sayap Substation, Sepilok Forest Reserve and the beautiful Kinabatangan (Sukau) region. From peat swamps to lowlands to mountains, Dean will touch on Sabah’s geographical landscapes and their avian wonders. Sabah is a Malaysian state occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. Out of 673 different species of birds that can be found in Borneo, more than 400 species are in Sabah. Of the 60 endemic species of Borneo, 33 can be found in Sabah’s hill slopes and montane forest. The 4,095m-tall Mount Kinabalu is the country’s highest peak. Kinabalu Park is the place to fill your list of montane species – it is home to 17 endemics. Dean will introduce you to the Whitehead’s trio, the montane’s most wanted birds: Whitehead’s Broadbill, Whitehead’s Spiderhunter and Whitehead’s Trogon. The lowland forests, freshwater swamps and mangrove forests of the tropics are some of the most species rich habitats in the world. In Sabah, the mighty Kinabatangan River is a must for a glimpse into these habitats. Your most memorable birdwatching experience awaits you in Borneo, a country that is decorated with exotic flora and fauna and renowned as a destination for nature lovers.

 

 

Bird Watcher’s Digest: A Look at the Life and Legacy of America’s First Birding Magazine
Dawn Hewitt (Bird Watcher’s Digest)
Jan. 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 1-113
Dawn Hewitt, Bird Watcher’s Digest’s senior editor, will share inside stories about the history and legacy of Bird Watcher’s Digest. As the first dedicated birding magazine in the US, Dawn will reflect on the trials and triumphs of BWD since 1978, and their vision for the future.

 

 

Birdwatching in Spain
Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal)
Jan. 23; 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-119

Spain offers a fantastic diversity of habitats and a large variety of birds, besides an excellent infrastructure and a rich cultural heritage, with winding streets, historic plazas and squares, an array of castles, cathedrals, museums, Roman ruins, promenades, culinary delights and great wines. Joao will talk about some of the practical aspects, should you plan a visit.

 

 

Brevard Zoo: Walking the Talk through Conservation Action
Jody Palmer (Conservation Director, Brevard Zoo)
Jan. 25, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-123
At Brevard Zoo, Wildlife Conservation through Education and Participation is more than a mission statement, it’s a part of every decision we make. Through the Zoo’s various conservation programs wildlife and wild place across the globe are being saved. Beginning right here in our backyard, the Zoo’s Restore Our Shores program is working to restore habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. By raising juvenile oysters off resident docks, recycling shells at local restaurants, piloting seagrass restoration projects and constructing living shorelines that consist both of oyster reefs and native plants, Brevard Zoo is working each day to ensure the lagoon’s health for years to come. The Zoo relies heavily on volunteers to make these projects possible, and with even more exciting things on the horizon (hint, hint:  AQUARIUM), now is the time for you to get involved!

 


Coexisting with the Florida Black Bear

Nancy and Dan Kon (Imagine Our Florida)
Jan. 25, 2:10pm-3:00pm; 1-113

Using hands-on displays, folks will learn to connect with Florida Black Bears by understanding how they live, what they eat, and how, in many ways, they are not much different than humans. Common fears will be dispelled and replaced with a shared respect for bear families. We will learn how, in the absence of human intervention, nature will regulate bear populations. We will explore the ways that humans interfere with nature’s perfect balance by unknowingly inviting bears into human neighborhoods where we put them at risk. Discover ways that we can peacefully coexist with Florida’s iconic Black Bears.
Connect. Respect. Coexist.

 

 

Conservation of Two Florida Kites
Gina Kent (Avian Conservation and Research Institute)
Jan. 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-119

Join Gina Kent of the Avian Research and Conservation Institute as she discusses some of the fascinating work she has been conducting with Swallow-tailed and Snail kites. See how the secret lives of these species are being reviled through ARCI’s 30 plus years of tracking research. Compare and contrast kite foraging strategies and movement patterns. Learn about important nesting and roosting areas, and how protecting these special places is key to kite conservation.

 

 

Costa Rica: Pura Vida Birding in the Birdwatching Republic
Serge Arias (Costa Rica Birding)
Jan. 23 1:00pm-2:00pm; 1-113
Discover with Costa Rican Serge Arias the birdwatching routes of Costa Rica, the top hotspots, accommodations and locations for the best birds. Costa Rica is home to 921 species of birds (10% of the birdlife of the world) and 5% of the biodiversity of the planet. Learn with a local guide the real birding locations for a successful experience in Costa Rica, with the added value of the charming Pura Vida life style and culture in one of the safest countries on Earth, which has not had an army since 1948! Learn about the six great birding eco zones, the Important Bird Areas and how to combine them for reaching your targets and the biggest number of birds in your trip, while you also support conservation and social development in the rural areas of Costa Rica.

 

 

Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, Birding on America’s Byways
Christina Majdalani (Beaumont Texas Convention and Visitor Bureau)
Jan. 22, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-123
Near Lake Charles, Louisiana, alligators, over 400 bird species, marshlands teeming with life, 26 miles of natural Gulf of Mexico beaches, fishing, crabbing, Cajun culture, and more can be experienced as you travel along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. One of only 43 so designated scenic byways in the USA, and affectionately known as Louisiana’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail is a journey into one of America’s “Last Great Wildernesses.”

 

 

Cultivating the Wild: William Bartram’s Travels
Robert Wilson (Kowa Sporting Optics)
Jan. 22 & 24, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-121
This is a very special presentation of the newly released documentary on William Bartram. The documentary film, Cultivating the Wild: William Bartram’s Travels is both a scholarly examination of the scientist’s life and work as well as a meditation on what has come to pass in the more than two hundred and twenty years since Bartram’s Travels was written. It was produced by Eric Breitenbach and Dorinda G. Dallmeyer. Robert Wilson, Kowa Sporting Optics Brand Ambassador, contributed much of the digiscoped bird video in the film. This educational and thought-provoking film will be of interest to environmentalists, photographers, birders and plant lovers. It was beautifully filmed throughout the southeastern U.S. through the eyes of six modern day Bartrams: manatee researcher, Wayne Hartley; former Altamaha Riverkeeper, James Holland; artist, Philip Juras; ornithologist, Drew Lanham; writer, Janisse Ray; and native American educator, Jim Sawgrass. The film examines our relationship to our beloved planet and gives thought to a better future. It is a must see!

Robert Wilson is a 30-year retired Staff Photographer for Lockheed Martin and currently US Brand Ambassador for Kowa Sporting Optics. Robert is recognized as one of the country’s top digiscopers with a passion for teaching and leading workshops throughout the US. Eric Breitenbach is a Senior Professor at The Southeast Center for Photographic Studies at Daytona State College. He has directed films for National Geographic Television, The Sundance Channel, national and regional PBS, and a variety of museums and non-profit organizations Dorinda G. Dalimeyer directs the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. She is a past president of the Bartram Trail Conference, and in 2010 published one of the most highly regarded books on William Bartram: Bartram’s Living Legacy: The Travels and the Nature of the South.

 

 

Demystifying Birding in Colombia—One bird at the time
Giovani Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours)
Jan. 22, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-119
Let’s take a journey through the regions, landscapes, and habitats that make Colombia a truly unique world-class birding destination. This small country is home to over 1,900 bird species – that’s 20% of all bird species in 1% of the earth’s land. Our journey will take us to birding hotspots in the Cauca Valley (home to +900 bird species), the Choco Bioregion (even more biodiverse than the Amazon itself) and the almighty Santa Marta Mountains in the Caribbean Coast, home to the largest concentration of range-restricted bird species in the world.

 

 

Drawn to Nature
Christina Baal (Drawing 10,000 Birds)
Jan. 22 & 24, 8:00am-11:00am; 4-119

Adventure awaits you the moment you step out your door! Grab a sketchbook, a pencil, and get ready to see the natural world in new ways as you explore your surroundings with new eyes. In this short classroom session followed by an outdoor walk, we will learn how to keep a nature journal, a lifelong practice that both records and enhances your experiences within the natural world, while getting to know the flora and fauna of the Chain of Lakes Park. Those who already keep a nature journal are invited as well, as we will be exploring techniques to capture the emotion of the moment in new ways.
Please bring at a minimum a sketchbook, a pencil, and eraser. Any other art supplies are encouraged, but please keep in mind that we will be walking around so do not bring more than is comfortable to carry in the field!

 

 

Explore Antarctica, Falkland and South Georgia Islands
Ric Zarwell (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures)
Jan. 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-121

Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures presents the Classic Expedition to Antarctica, the singular nature experience of a lifetime! This presentation introduces fascinating lives of birds and mammals throughout the Southern Ocean, spectacular vistas, hauntingly beautiful icebergs, and the planet’s greatest concentrations of marine wildlife.  Thrilling yet comfortable travel begins and ends at Ushuaia, Argentina, southernmost city in the world.  We experience an amazing circular route to the gorgeous Falkland Islands, the even more majestic and remote South Georgia Islands, and the incomparable Antarctic continent.  The expedition includes the world’s last truly pristine wilderness. Walks amongst crowded nesting colonies of nearly a million King Penguins is an experience that defies description.  Thrilling pelagic birding and species impossible to see elsewhere are offered throughout.  Visits to historic outposts where valuable research continues, and experiences on land for close-up photos of iconic wildlife, are not to be missed.

 

 

Explore Borneo – A Photographic Journey Through the World’s Oldest Rainforest
Charles Ryan (Sticky Rice Travel)
Jan. 23, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-123
Jan. 25, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-121
Charles Ryan will be talking about everything Borneo from the natural history, ecology, and diversity of the island. The talk will also include slides showcasing some of the most interesting birds and wildlife of the island. Take a visual journey through the ancient forests of Danum Valley, and then ascend into the clouds and see the montane endemics of Mt. Kinabalu.

 

 

Flying Mantas and Whale Sharks of the Sea of Cortez
Dave Grant (Shark Research Institute)
Jan. 25, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-121
“Every new eye applied to the peep hole which looks out at the world may fish in some new beauty and some new pattern, and the world of the human mind must be enriched by such fishing.” – John Steinbeck

Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez “The World’s Aquarium” for its clear waters, diversity, and concentration of marine life. Dave will present a combination program about the birds and wildlife of Baja, and the Shark Research Institute’s primary research animals – whale sharks and manta rays of Mexico. Sailing from La Paz, follow Steinbeck’s voyage, which was immortalized in his travelogue “Log from the Sea of Cortez.” Explore the islands and bays in search of endemic birds and sea life, and visit remote settlements to work with local fishermen and deliver needed supplies to villagers.

 

 

Japan–North to South Then North Again
Nigel Moorhouse (Sarus Bird Tours)
Jan. 22, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 1-113
Japan is a diverse country of many islands stretching from the north in Hokkaido with equal latitude to Michigan, to the southernmost Yaeyama Islands being similar to the Florida Keys. The summers in the north are lush and green, with an abundance of warblers and songbirds, while Brown Bears wake from hibernation and prowl the wilder areas. The heavily populated central islands still have many mountainous areas which are sparsely populated which provide havens for birdlife, including the symbolic Mt. Fuji. The southern islands have endemic birds and mammals, and the sub-tropical climate means they are warm all year. As winter arrives, the central islands play host to many Asian species, including tens of thousands of cranes, and many thrushes and buntings. Hokkaido’s Red-crowned Cranes gather to dance, while the world’s largest eagle, Steller’s Sea Eagle, comes down from the far north to haunt the harbors.

 

 

Learning Gull Identification
Amar Ayyash (www.anythinglarus.com)
Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-119

Often approached with apprehension, gulls have gained a love-hate relationship with many birders. Among the larids are some of the most coveted bird species in the world, but recent genetic data and frequent hybridization in this family compel us to reassess the very concept of a species. Amar will touch on these topics as he highlights key identification field marks for separating our winter gull species. He will also
touch on some of the often-ignored topics in gull-study such as the aging process and molt. Come learn why an increasing number of people are being drawn to this family of birds and are eagerly calling
themselves “larophiles”.

 

 

Life & Times of Indian River Dolphins
Megan Stolen (Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute)
Jan. 25, 4:10pm-5:00pm; 1-113

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is home to a resident population of bottlenose dolphins which are born, grow up and eventually die without leaving the lagoon. They have been studied since the late 70’s but much about their lives remains a puzzle. Learn some of the myths about dolphins and some of the mysteries surrounding unusual die-offs. You’ll get a glimpse into the research underway in laboratories and in the field and see how a CSI approach to stranded animals may hold the key to solving some burning questions that are waiting to be answered. Megan will talk about the current threats to (IRL) dolphins and what you can do to help them. Come into our lab, aboard our boat and into a super cold freezer and get to know YOUR local dolphins. Megan Stolen is a research scientist at HSWRI. Her research focuses on stranded whales and dolphins, particularly dolphins of the IRL.

 

 

Marine Resources Council—Turning Science into Action
Nicole Broquet (Marine Resources Council)
Jan. 25, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-119

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is critical habitat for an abundance of species, but over the decades, this estuary of national significance has been greatly changed. To help save the IRL, a group of Florida Tech professors founded the Marine Resources Council (MRC) in 1983, with the mission to protect and restore this essential ecosystem. Over the years, the MRC has implemented numerous programs to revitalize the IRL, but our mission has remained the same. Come learn about the status of the IRL, the current programs of the MRC, and what you can do to help restore this critical ecosystem!

 

 

Panama: Biodiversity and Habitats of the Wild West
Jim Kimball (Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge)
Jan. 22, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-121
From volcano to beach and all points in between, Panama hosts amazing landscapes, different cultures and culinary delights. Its biodiversity is staggering – the country is home to 218 mammal species, 226 species of reptile, 164 amphibian species and 125 animal species found nowhere else in the world. Panama also boasts 996 avian species: the largest number in Central America. Thirteen of those are endemic. In a span of less than 40 miles in western Panama, the Caribbean Slope of the Talamanca Mountain Range plunges 11,000 feet from the high alpine forest of La Amistad National Park into the lowland rainforests bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is here that Jim Kimball and his partners literally hacked their way into the jungle to pioneer a new wildlife destination on Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, a beautiful archipelago that is lost in time and blessed by nature. In this talk, Jim will cover the best of western Panama’s wildlife reserves, and the history, culture and geography of this fascinating area, as well as travel information to make your Panama trip the best it can be.

 

 

Rails: Secrets of the Swamp
Erin Lehnert (M.Sc. Ornithology)
Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-121
Jan. 24, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-123
Join Erin as she talks about the ecology, natural history, and conservation of the world’s rails, as well as a more in-depth look at the rails of North America. Rails are a bird family that are found worldwide, but are secretive, cryptic, and hard to find. This presentation will give you an in-depth look into secrets of this “rail-y” awesome bird family! Erin got her master’s degree in ornithology from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she studied rails.

 

 

Seven-Fold Path to Better Birding
Stephen Ingraham (Carl Zeiss Sport Optics)
Jan. 23, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-119
Note: This is an ideal class to take before any of the Festival’s Beginning Birding activities.
What do good birders know that you don’t know (yet)? Here are seven simple disciplines that will make any birder a better birder and increase your enjoyment of the time you spend in the field. Great for beginners and any birder who wants to improve. Stephen Ingraham, ZEISS Senior Brand Advocate for Birding and Nature. He is well known from his years as the editor of the “Tools of the Trade” section in Birding magazine, his frequent articles in the birding magazines, his appearances at birding events around the country and as the founder and editor of Better View Desired and betterviewdesried.com. Bring paper and pen and be ready to take notes.

 

 

Shorebirds and Horseshoe Crabs – The Pole to Pole Connection
Dave Grant (Shark Research Institute)
Jan. 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-123
Writer/Naturalist John Hay observed: “There is no animal more maligned and at the same time worthier of attention than the horseshoe crab.”

Although they are the most intensively studied marine invertebrate, scientists are discovering new things about horseshoe crabs all the time. They are an important marine resource that has been harvested by the millions for bait, fertilizer and medical research. In recent decades, shorebird populations have plunged because of the over-harvest of this keystone species in Delaware Bay and its eggs that fuel the northward migration of the Red Knot. We’ll follow shorebirds from Barrow to Bahia Loma to examine their lives, and the link to horseshoe crabs – which save people’s lives every day with their unique medicinal properties.

 

 

Spring Migration, A Parade of Colorful Birds
Paddy Cunningham (Birding Adventures)
Jan. 25, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-119

Spring Migration is the HIGHLIGHT of the birding year. It reveals a parade of males in their bright spring plumage with a wide variety of species such as thrushes, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks and up to 25 species of warblers. Learn amount the mechanisms of migration, what are the best hot spots and what beautiful birds you are likely to see in Florida.

 

 

The Birds of Cuba

Arturo Kirkconnell Sr. (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 23, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-121
Cuba is the largest and most bio-diverse land mass in the Caribbean region. The richness and diversity of Cuban birdlife features 384 bird species, among them a total of 28 species that are endemic to Cuba, with 8 bird endemic genera and one endemic family, Teretistridae with two species, Oriente Warbler and Yellow-headed Warbler. The endemic species include the charming Cuban Tody, the striking and elegant Cuban Trogon (the national bird), the colorful Cuban Green Woodpecker and the smallest of all birds, the Bee Hummingbird. The National System of Protected Areas has declared 211 protected areas and 28 IBA’s in Cuba. A total of 28 species are threatened, including 11 endangered species. Arturo will cover birding locations in Cuba, the main threats for the Cuban avifauna and Cuban bird surveys and their importance for bird conservation. Arturo is co-author of the Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba and A Birdwatchers’ Guide to Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Caymans. He partners with his son, Arturo Kirkconnell Jr. to operate their tour company in Cuba, Kirkconnell Birds.

 

 

The Birds of Honduras and Their Habitats
Alexander Alvarado (Natural Selections Nature Tours)
Jan. 25, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-121
Located in the heart of Central America, Honduras is home to dazzling Mayan ruins, Caribbean coastlines, lush rain and cloud forests, mangroves, dry forests, vast wetlands, and pine studded highlands. The small nation is a treasure trove of biodiversity and highly varied habitats, boasting over 100 national parks and protected areas and 775+ different species of birds. The highest concentration occurs in the central region around Lake Yojoa. Within this tiny area can be found a high number of regional endemics, such as Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Wine-throated Hummingbird, Tody, Keel-billed Motmot, and the Honduran Emerald. The Caribbean coast has high visitation due to the avian diversity within its reserves. One of the most sought-after species here is the Lovely Cotinga. The Pacific region is a mosaic of dry forests and areas of broad-leafed forests and is also high in regional endemism. Species found here include Long tailed Manakin, Blue tailed Hummingbird, Thicket Tinamou, Fan-tailed Warbler and White-bellied Chachalaca. Join Alex Alvarado, co-owner of Natural Selections Tours as he takes us on a virtual bird watching tour from east to west and north to south through this fabulous bird rich landscape; a genuine paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

 

 

The Healing Power of Birds and Birders
Wendy Clark (Bird Watcher’s Digest)
Jan. 23, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 1-113
As the newly appointed President and Publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, Wendy will talk about the recent loss of her partner Bill Thompson III, her own mother Judy Merrell, and Bill’s mother, Elsa Thompson. This promises not to be a tear-jerking account, but rather an encouraging testimony of the healing and joy that birds, nature, and people can provide during the journey through grief.

 

 

The Magnificent Behavior of Shorebirds
Brian Zwiebel (Sabrewing Nature Tours)
Jan. 24, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-119

Join Brian for an exploration into the magnificent behavior of shorebirds.  From migration to the breeding grounds and beyond Brian will share his passion for shorebird behavior through his award-winning photography and personal experiences on the breeding grounds of the high Arctic.  You will learn of the mind-bending migrations of the Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit and Brian will recount his personal observations of breeding behavior not seen in the scientific literature.  Be forewarned, you may never look at a wintering shorebird on a beach or mudflat the same way again!

 

 

Travelogue – Birding the British Isles
Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)
Jan. 23, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-123

Travel around England and Scotland with a fellow Brit. Despite having been a global wanderer from an early age, Simon is originally from the east of England where he spent at least a few years of his childhood. The UK doesn’t have the diversity of many nearby European destinations, but it has great bird reserves, beer and thousands of years of history. From castles and palaces to spectacular bird reserves and yes, plenty of good birds, a visit to the UK is a wonderful experience. Join Simon as he takes on a birding and cultural journey through a part of the British Isles.

 

 

Upper Texas Gulf Coast Birding
Christina Majdalani (Beaumont Convention and Visitor’s Bureau)
Jan. 22, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-123

28 Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail sites, all within a 40-mile radius, make Beaumont/Port Arthur your best choice for a southeast Texas birding adventure. Legendary hotspots include High Island, Sea Rim State Park, Sabine Woods, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Big Thicket, and a newly constructed boardwalk and education center at Cattail Marsh. In addition to miles of wild coastal beaches, southeast Texas has more than a dozen lakes and three major river systems, which make it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Nearly 30 species of ducks and flocks of snow geese winter here. Beaumont/Port Arthur’s coastal marshlands are prime territory for wading birds, shorebirds, gulls and cormorants. The piney woods of east Texas also draw songbirds; many varieties of warblers nest here and more than 350 species of birds are spotted annually.

 

 

Waterfowl 101
Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)
Jan. 24, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-123

Does duck identification leave you cold? If so, join us for an insight into the world of waterfowl.  Winter is by far the best time of the year for waterfowl here in Florida and most of the birds should be in their full breeding colors in anticipation of the upcoming breeding season. Males are the most distinctively marked of the sexes and the easiest to identify, but we shall spend time deciphering the cryptic plumages of those look-alike females as well as the tricky domestic waterfowl species. We will also examine their structure, biology and improve our identification skills.

 

 

Waterfowl ID for Casual Birders
Kevin Karlson (Kevin.T. Karlson Photography)
Jan. 22, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 4-119

This short introduction to waterfowl is geared towards casual birders, and it will help you to identify the common waterfowl species found in Florida. Ducks, geese and swans will be covered in this photographic talk, and separation of difficult species (including females) will include comparative digitized photos that show them in the same frame to allow direct comparison. If you want to elevate your ID skills with waterfowl, come to this casual workshop.

 

 

Why is Texas number one?
Keith Hackland (Alamo Inn B&B Gear and Tours)
Jan. 22, 4:00pm-5:00pm; 4-119 
The largest state in the lower forty-eight offers rich birding, picturesque drives, diverse habitats, striking scenery, and dramatic overlooks. But you could drive a thousand miles on the freeways and miss it all. So, come and listen to Keith Hackland outline the essence of traveling Texas to enjoy the birds, 648 species of them, the largest terrestrial birding list of any U.S. state. This is a presentation illustrated with photos and maps of the what, when, and where of Texas Birding. Seasonal: what changes in birding? Best hot spots for migration and when? Richest areas for birds? Which routes avoid the heavy traffic of big cities? What about accommodation and restaurants? What about the border areas?

 

 

Woodpeckers are Cool!
Steve Shunk (Paradise Birding)
Jan. 25, 3:10pm-4:00pm; 1-113
Have you ever watched a woodpecker pounding its head on a tree? How does it do this without getting a headache?! And how does it climb trees so easily? Woodpeckers also nest inside trees, but how do they make their nests? Woodpecker expert, Steve Shunk, will share fun stories about our forest carpenters, including Florida’s Downy Woodpecker—one of the world’s smallest—and the giant Pileated—one of the world’s largest. Bring all your woodpecker questions and Steve will have the answers!

 

 

World Wide Birding from Cruise Ships
Ken Burgener (Carefree Birding)
Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:00pm; 4-123 

Learn how and where to bird from a cruise ship. We will discuss the best options for seeing the local birds while enjoying all the comforts of a cruise. You will learn how to save money and where to find information about local birds. Short videos and pictures will help you understand the unique way to travel and bird in foreign lands. You’ll get tips on how to prepare for your trip and how to navigate the terrain of the country you are in.