Monday, March 4, 2013

Adams County Amish Birding Symposium

In the dark days of late winter, we bird and botany people ban together and do whatever we can to cheer up and preserver until spring's arrival.

 One of those things, just happened in southern Ohio: the Adam's County Amish Birding Symposium.

We filled the hall with a maximum capacity of 300 people!  The generator purred outside the backdoor, making it possible to power the speaker's computers and power point programs.  In an "Old Order" meets "new birders" scenario, folks gathered in from many miles away to enjoy home-bakes, loads of vendors, displays, and an outstanding line up of programs.

 This year's kick off was Connie Toops, with a program featuring the Albatrosses of Midway Atoll.  I must admit wondering how this would be relevant to my life.  But, Connie brought it home!  Her excellent presentation wrapped up with a reminder...

our trash (think plastic islands floating at sea) has become a major killer of seabirds.  Reduce, reuse, recycle- the albatrosses are counting on you.  We featured this theme before with programing from the Cleveland Aquarium.

Kenn Kaufman waits in the wings...
as Chris Bedel announces, The Vast Parade.

Migration: the great spectacle of  life and survival, a drama played out in our skies each year.  Kenn Kaufman spun new thoughts on the topic and made us reach inward for answers.  Maybe the greatest gift of migration is the wonder it creates in people.
Especially people who choose to do something with that wonder.Meet Kristina Polk. This is the live wire that sparked hope into an entire audience.  She gave us a vision for the future, in spite of all the "bad" impacting nature: plastics, wind-turbines, glass/ buildings, climate change, natural disasters.  This is the Young Birder who calls us to look- really look- at each individual bird, as you will not see that particular one again.  She came face to face with this Catbird at The Biggest Week in American Birding, and became fired for conservation.  

We are expecting big things from this little dynamo.  Watch for her program at birding venues, you'll not want to miss it.

Operation Migration's Joe Duff
The last program of the day had us howling with laughter.  Joe Duff  (see Adams County's web page for photo and program description.) described a year dedicated to raising and migrating with a flock of Whooping Cranes, America's most endangered bird species.  To increase the odds for their survival, it was deemed best  to create a separate flock from the one at Aransas, Texas.  

Joe told the story from hatching, to training and the flight of these marvelous birds, as well as the dedicated bird handler's extraordinary efforts to prevent imprinting upon them throughout the entire endeavor.  It was an incredible story.

We laugh, we cried and we were so glad we attended.   Hope to see you there next year!

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