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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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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!  Fortunately this is much easier than it is often made out to be.  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 lower stress, 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.

 

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.

Wednesday – April 20

2:00PM to 4:00PM

$15.00 Per Person

 
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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 warbler of the Texas Coast.  We will also examine the strategies of trans-Gulf and circum-Gulf migrants and how these strategies influence which warblers are seen where.  We’ll also learn how flight calls can be useful in identifying warblers without actually learning flight calls.  It’s a lot to cover, strap in!

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.

 

Thursday – April 21

1:00PM to 2:00PM

$5.00 Per Person

 
 
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WORKSHOP:

Hawk Watching 101

 

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 longtime raptor enthusiasts. They have counted raptors at the United States’ largest hawk migration site for HawkWatch International at Corpus Christi for the past 13 fall seasons.  When not counting hawks at home, they are chasing raptors, and other birds, around the country, Mexico, Central, and South America.

Thursday – April 21

2:30PM to 4:30PM

$15.00 Per Person

 
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PRESENTATION:

Identification Challenges

of the Texas Coast

Many species of birds on the Texas Coast are a challenge to separate.  Sure, no one can mess up the ID of a Roseate Spoonbill or a male Painted Bunting, but what about some of the look- alike vultures, grackles, cormorants and flycatchers.  This program aims to stock your birding toolbox and help you identify a number of these species with confidence in the field.  Learn some quick tips that the experts use to make those amazing fast identifications.

 

David Sarkozi is a well-known Texas birder who started birding in high school after reading Ken Kaufman’s 1973 big year.  David has since become a fan of Big Days and Big Years.  He has served as president of the Texas Ornithological Society and worked on its executive board for 16 years.  He recently retired from the University of Houston where he worked for 35 years.

 

Friday – April 22

1:00PM to 2:00PM

$5.00 Per Person

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WORKSHOP:

Finding Birds 101

 

How can I find birds near me?  If you are a new birder or new to the area, it can be tough to find places to bird or find out about rarities quickly.  We will share some pointers and resources for finding birds and birding hot spots near you, or to locations you plan to travel.  This will include websites, apps, and range maps.  We will also discuss ways to ID, report, and keep your lists.

 

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

 

 

Friday - April 22

2:30PM to 4:30PM

$15.00 Per Person

 
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PRESENTATION:

Native Plants for the Birds

Food, water, and shelter on your landscape can make a huge difference in the number and variety of birds you attract. Learn how to entice specific birds to your yard using native plants, while also learning which birds you are likely to find in South Texas.


Janet Cunningham is a Native Plant Society of Texas member and will be hosting this presentation

Saturday – April 23

1:00PM to 2:00PM

$5.00 Per Person

 
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WORKSHOP: Nature Photography with Stephen Fisher 

This 2-hour presentation explores the wide range of nature photography. While the emphasis is on avian photography will be included. This presentation will cover everything from gear required for nature photography, how to attract subjects, and other "pro tips and tricks" I've acquired over the years. 

Everyone from new photographers to seasoned professionals are welcome to join us. It's always nice to spend time with like-minded nature lovers. There will be plenty of time to answer all of your nature photography questions.

About Stephen Fisher:

Photography became very important to me after I retired from a sales management career in the medical industry. I progressed from taking snapshots of my travels to becoming a full-time fine art nature photographer. Today, I live and breathe photography. It's one of the ways I define myself. I live in Rockport, Texas, and never get tired of making photographs of the Coastal Bend... 

A complex blend of Art and Science is how I see photography. It's always been that way. My computer replaces the traditional darkroom and digital media replaces film. Even with these changes, the process remains basically the same. A good image is a good image regardless of when and how it was created... 

The images I make are very special to me. I love to capture a single moment in time and allow it last forever. I always try to find something unique while making my images. Just presenting a beautiful bird isn't enough...I want the bird to be doing something quite special. It's critical to me that my landscapes reflect the beauty that Mother Nature so generously provides for us... 

 

My goal is to create photographs that evoke some kind of emotional response from the viewer. I want to take my capture of something truly special to me and share it with others. I make these photographs for me! But when one of my images touches the heart of someone else, I feel like I've shared the creative process with them...and I smile! 

 

Saturday – April 23

10:00AM to 12:00PM

$15.00 Per Person

 

PRESENTATION:

The Resilient Whooping Crane: Challenges to Recovery

The Texas Coastal Bend is the Winter home of the only naturally occurring flock of wild Whooping Cranes in the world.  Learn the factors that have impacted the steady recovery of this endangered species, while discovering the efforts focused on overcoming the challenges they face.  For decades, people, institutions, and government agencies have worked to minimize negative impacts on the cranes.  Hear what’s left to be done and how you can help.

                
Dr. Liz Smith received her formal training at Corpus Christi State and Texas A&M Universities. For 16 years, she was employed as a research scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies. She recently joined the Whooping Crane Conservation Biologist in Texas with a specific goal of ensuring quality wintering habitat for the Whooping Crane as its’ populations continue to increase.

Saturday – April 23

3:00PM to 4:00PM

$5.00 Per Person