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Presentations and Workshops

The Birdiest Festival is proud to have a lineup of

experts this year to educate and entertain you.

    

Please DO NOT select a talk that conflicts

with your choice of field trips.

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Presentation:

More then Just a Pretty Face - ID by Sight and Sound

North America’s colorful warblers are often considered the pinnacle of Spring birding.  While their incredible variety of colors, patterns, and plumages keep even the most ardent birders entranced, their equally varied songs often get treated much less enthusiastically.  This is particularly true in the southern reaches of the country where many species sing only sporadically during migration.  When you have specific targets in mind, knowing each species habitat preferences in migration and on their breeding grounds combined with a working knowledge of their typical vocalizations will enable you to find your target species more easily.

 

This program will concentrate on North America’s wood warblers, their identification in the field and how to learn (and more importantly REMEMBER) their songs.  We will take a virtual bird walk on a beautiful Spring morning and learn how a multi-faceted approach to birding can yield more birds…and everyone knows that more birds means more FUN!

Wednesday – April 26

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

$7.00 Per Person

Kim Risen began birding 50 years ago at the age of ten and began leading field trips in the upper Midwest while in high school.  His passion led to a full-time career in leading birding and nature photography tours.  His tour leading travels with NatureScape (www.naturescapetours.com) have taken him to six continents.  In 2004, he smashed the one-year record for Mexico by 60 species, ending up with 876 species.  Kim has led 260 tours in Mexico, with Oaxaca being his favorite foreign destination.  His next tour to Oaxaca (October 2023) will mark his 58th tour there. Kim and his wife Cindy are both longtime freelance photographers and writers.  Their work has appeared in many different newspapers, magazines, field guides, and books.  In their home state of Minnesota, they are youth mentors working with beginners and children, introducing them to birds, birding, and photography.  Even after 40 years, Kim still looks at birds every day, often with camera in tow, with the same excitement he felt on his first birding trip so many years ago.

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Workshop:

Shorebird Identification

 

Displaying Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Hudsonian Godwits at their most gorgeous, Upland Sandpipers trotting through fields with their weird windup toy gait, Wilson’s Phalaropes spinning in small puddles, Solitary Sandpipers giving their sharp call as they rocket through the air; few places on earth can compete with the quality and quantity of the shorebird show that unfolds on the Texas Coast every Spring.  Now the only problem is sorting them all out!

 

Shorebirds are usually found in flocks; thus, multiple species can be compared side-by-side.  Using comparisons rather than obsessing over each bird individually triggers the more analytical parts of our brain and enhances memory, allowing us to learn more quickly. 

 

This workshop will be less stressful, taking a step back to take a large picture approach rather than obsessing over details.  The aim is to celebrate these incredible birds while learning in a fun way.

Wednesday – April 26

2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

$15.00 Per Person

Cameron Cox is the owner and operator of Avocet Birding Courses (www.birdingABC.com) a company that offers workshops and tours that reexamines the standard narrative of how birders identify birds and offers and alternative approach based on cognitive psychology.  This approach aims to make learning birds faster and more fun, reducing frustration in the bargain. Cameron is the coauthor of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching as well as articles on shorebird and waterfowl identification.  He is a former editor of Birding Magazines’s photo quiz.  He lives with his wife and small herd of dogs and cats in coastal Maine.

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Christina Baal is an artist, illustrator, and environmental educator whose dream is to meet and paint 10,000 species of birds in her lifetime.  After graduating from Bard College in 2014, she started her art business, “Drawing 10,000 Birds”, and has since traveled nonstop looking for birds.  Christina loves going to birding festivals to show her work, lead trips, teach art, and spent time with the birding community.  She has designed artwork for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, the Biggest Week in American Birding, New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding, and created the Bird of the Year artwork for the American Birding Association in 2022.  In between festivals, Christina works as an environmental educator and is a certified Master Naturalist for Wisconsin and California.  She currently gets to live alongside her favorite bird, the California Condor, in Pinnacles National Park with her partner, a California Condor biologist and their two golden retrievers. SPECIAL NOTE – The T-Shirt design for the Birdiest Festival in America 2023 is being created by Christina.  By purchasing a T-Shirt you will own a piece of Art.

Workshop:

Bird Art Basics

Have you ever wanted to draw birds, but found it difficult to know how to start?  Or maybe you already love to draw birds, but wanted to learn some new tips and tricks to enhance your practice?  This bird drawing workshop is designed to break through the trepidation of the “white page” and get you drawing birds right away.  We will learn simple but effective techniques to improve drawing and observation skills that can be easily practiced even alongside hectic daily schedules.  Most importantly, this workshop is designed to convince you that drawing is fun and can be a practice to look forward to improving your skills as an artist AND as a birder.

 

While this workshop is geared toward beginners, all skill levels are welcome!  Basic art materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own favorites.

Thursday - April 27

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

$30 Per Person

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Martha McLeod is an award-winning semi-retired elementary science lab teacher and youth birding program sponsor.  She has been in education for 30 years.  Her student birding teams compete yearly in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Great Birding Classic achieving top honors.  She was named “Birder of the Year” by Swarovski Optik/Birdwatcher’s Digest in 2018 and inducted into the National Teaches Hall of Fame.

Presentation:

A Peek into the Most Successful Kid’s Birding Program in Texas

This program will highlight how Martha begins her youth birdwatching program yearly and maintains the excitement and interest of her students.  Each year approximately 20 to 25 Elementary students try out for the youth birding team and participate in weekly study sessions and monthly field trips.  Older Middle School and High School students continue to join her at practice sessions and serve as co-teachers and mentors to the younger kids.  The year of birding culminates in competition in the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Great Birding Classic as students compete in several categories including Rough Wings and Gliders.  Martha will share highlights from her years of birdwatching with students and will give pointers on making successful outdoor experiences with children.

  

Thursday - April 27

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

$7 Per Person

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Sara is the Preserve Manager of the Oso Bay Wetlands, a municipal nature center owned and operated by the City of Corpus Christi.  Sara has a background in marine biology and environmental education.  Beginning in 2010, Sara has had the opportunity to lead school trips, adult education programs, and a variety of other groups first at the Nueces Delta Preserve in Odem and now at the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve in Corpus Christi’s southside.  She is passionate about introducing our local community to their native wildlife. SPECIAL NOTE:  Sara has already created an APP for the Birdiest Festival in America 2023.  Check it Out and Join in the Fun and help other Birders and Naturalists.

Presentation:

iNaturalist, A Way to Enjoy Nature More

You may have heard of eBird, which allows you to keep a bird list – but have you ever wanted a way to keep track of the other things you see in the field?  Or maybe you wanted to know the name of an interesting flower, bug, or snake you saw while birding?  Then you may need iNaturalist.  This is a different kind of social media dedicated to the identification of plants, animals, and fungus all over the world.  The iNaturalist App can help individuals document their wildlife sightings and can be used for community science.  Find your fellow nerds and learn all about this useful tool.

SPECIAL NOTE:  There is an iNaturalist Board already set up for the

Birdiest Festival in America 2023! Just download the app on your smart phone or tablet and search for Birdiest Festival in America!

Thursday - April 27

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

7$ Per Person
 

Friday – April 28

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

7$ Per Person

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Christina is an artist, illustrator, and environmental educator whose dream is to meet and paint 10,000 species of birds in her lifetime.  After graduating from Bard College in 2014, she started her art business, “Drawing 10,000 Birds”, and has since traveled nonstop looking for birds.  Christina loves going to birding festivals to show her work, lead trips, teach art, and spent time with the birding community.  She has designed artwork for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, the Biggest Week in American Birding, New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding, and created the Bird of the Year artwork for the American Birding Association in 2022.  In between festivals, Christina works as an environmental educator and is a certified Master Naturalist for Wisconsin and California.  She currently gets to live alongside her favorite bird, the California Condor, in Pinnacles National Park with her partner, a California Condor biologist and their two golden retrievers. SPECIAL NOTE – The T-Shirt design for the Birdiest Festival in America 2023 is being created by Christina.  By purchasing a T-Shirt you will own a piece of Art.

Workshop:

A Splash of Color -

Expressive Art in Watercolor

We love birds for so many reasons:  their beautiful songs, their fascinating behaviors, their incredible life histories.  And, of course, their gorgeous plumage!  This watercolor workshop will focus on capturing the amazing colors and patterns of birds in an expressive splashy watercolor painting style that is simple to use and requires basic, easy to obtain materials.  The class will focus on letting go of anatomical perfection to examine instead a combination of emotion, energy, and color that portrays a bird in a way that is loose and fun.  We will learn tips and tricks that make it easy to jump into a painting no matter your skill level!

 

While geared toward beginner/intermediate skill levels, anyone is welcome to attend.  Please Note that this class can bey messy – dress accordingly!  All materials required will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Friday – April 28

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

$30 Per Person

Brent Ortego is retired from the Texas Parks and Wildlife.  He has been a wildlife biologist since 1982 who primarily worked with conservation of endangered species.  He has been a speaker and field trip leader at many of the festivals in Texas.  Brent is still active with breeding bird surveys and Christmas Bird Counts.  He runs the CBC for the Guadalupe Delta WMA, one of the largest counts in the country and is the leader for the Birdiest Festival to this destination.

Presentation:

Hummingbirds -

Their Amazing Lives

 

Everything about hummingbirds fascinates most birders.  Their biology includes adaptions on how they feed, keep warm, or just fly.  Their nests and nesting habits are interesting to study.  The different species have different foraging habits.  Join Brent Ortego, who has banded over 30,000 individuals of 14 different species of hummingbirds.  We know you will Enjoy!

Friday – April 28

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

$7 Per Person

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Have you ever enjoyed the visual thrill of seeing a raptor kettle at a hawk-watch site? What’s a kettle? We’ll tell you. You’ll also learn how they count all those migrating hawks. Join Dane and Libby Ferrell for a two-hour workshop on how to be a hawk watcher. We will discuss hawk watching techniques, such as scanning, counting groups of migrating hawks, and identifying both close and distant flying raptors. Our workshop will culminate outside the meeting room as our group will scan the South Texas sky, searching for northbound raptors. So, bring your binoculars. Dane and Libby are long-time raptor enthusiasts.  They have counted raptors at the United State’s largest hawk migration site for HawkWatch International at Corpus Christi for the past 16 Fall seasons.  When not counting hawks at home, they are chasing raptors, and other birds around the United States, Mexico, Central and South America.

Workshop:

Hawk Watching 101

 

Have you ever enjoyed the thrill of a raptor kettle at a hawk-watch site?  What’s a kettle?  We will tell you.  You will also learn how they count all those migrating hawks.  We will discuss hawk watching techniques such as scanning, counting groups of migrating hawks, and identifying both close and distant raptors.  Our workshop will culminate outside the meeting room as our group will scan the South Texas sky, searching for northbound raptors.  Bring your Binoculars!

Friday – April 28

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

$15 Per Person

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After retiring from a sales management career in the medical industry, Stephen Fisher (www.stephenfisherphotography.com/) progressed from taking snapshots of his travels to becoming a full-time fine art nature photographer.  The images Stephen creates are very special to him, as he captures a single moment in time and allows it to last forever.  He always tries to find something unique while making his images.  Just presenting a beautiful bird isn’t enough….he wants to bird to be doing something quite special.  It is critical to Stephen that his landscapes reflect the beauty that Mother Nature so generously provides. Stephen currently lives in Rockport, Texas.  He lives and breathes photography and never tires of taking pictures of the Coastal Bend.

Workshop:

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Nature Photographer with Stephen Fisher 

Most photographers shoot nature for one reason... they enjoy being outdoors! Nature photography includes many different genres. Everything from landscapes to mammals, insects to flowers, and much more. Regardless of your skill level, I have 10 steps to share that will definitely up your game… and make it much more enjoyable.

Saturday – April 29

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

$15.00 Per Person

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Ben Horstmann serves as the Reginal Interpretive Specialist for South Texas State Parks.  His addiction to birding was a direct result of moving to the Coastal Bend and birding with park staff and volunteers.  His favorite pastime is birding in the parks and natural places in Texas.

Presentation:

Where to Next? Nearby Birding Sites and What to Look for at Each

 

This Presentation will take you on a tour of the local birding sites, highlighting what types of birds to look for at each and at what time of year.  We will use eBird reports and other tools to locate birds in the area so you can plan a successful local birding experience.  This Presentation will be a tour that will take you to the many different habitats in the coastal bend.  Depending upon the time of year, like now, even birders with average skills could see 100+ species in one day.

 

Saturday, April 29

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

$7 Per Person

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Cameron Cox is the owner and operator of Avocet Birding Courses (www.birdingABC.com) a company that offers workshops and tours that reexamines the standard narrative of how birders identify birds and offers and alternative approach based on cognitive psychology.  This approach aims to make learning birds faster and more fun, reducing frustration in the bargain. Cameron is the coauthor of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching as well as articles on shorebird and waterfowl identification.  He is a former editor of Birding Magazines’s photo quiz.  He lives with his wife and small herd of dogs and cats in coastal Maine.

Presentation: 

Warblers - The Colorful Gems

 

The flitting colorful gems we know as the Warblers of the Americas are one of the main attractions of birding the Texas Coast in Spring.  We will touch on the identification and habits of all the warblers of the Texas Coast.  We will also examine the strategies of trans-Gulf and cicum-Gulf migrants and how these strategies influence which warblers are seen where.  We will also learn how flight calls can be useful in identifying warblers without actually learning flight calls.  It’s a lot to cover, Strap In!

 

Saturday, April 29

2:30 PM to 3:30 PM

$7.00 Per Person

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