Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Birding Events Matter.

How does a tiny back-water town like Shreve, Ohio become a eco-tourism Mecca-for-a-day each year?  Shreve Migration Sensation 2014 was a big hit as usual. What draws the 1000 plus crowd and makes this event so popular?

A gang gathers round the Time and Optics booth.  
Someone must be telling a great fly-catcher story.
 It is the people.  We love the slow pace of the town of Shreve, often no faster than a horse's trot. This event is an opportunity to take a step back in time. One can witness how large families interact with love and respect.  This is one "gang" of teens I can't wait to meet up with on a back road, because they know where all the best birds are hiding!

A motto to live by.
 The Amish and English (non-Amish) gather together and much is accomplished.  The gentle ways shine, clear through to the core of this event.  From the school principal and kind custodians, to the folks at the door, cooperation rules the day.
Snake-boy flashes a smile.
 There are tons of children's activities, from dip-netting, snake petting, face painting, crafts and good food. One of my annual favorites (like most birders) is the homemade pie! The Wildness Center provide an education display and live birds are featured by the Medina Raptor Center.  The Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists offer family activities.

Judy Kolo-Rose and Hugh Rose
 It is a time to meet up with dear friends.  I met Judy and Hugh some 10 years ago at a birding Big Sit! They have run countless birding information booths and cultivated friendships across Ohio.  They are the dearest of friends.

Sally Deems-Mogyordy wants you to "just go birding."
Birding friends really are the best kind of friends.  We share stories and smiles.  We love to help beginners. Birders offer their equipment to strangers.  We invite non-birders to "step up and take a look" through our scopes.  When was the last time a fisherman or hunter offered to share their pole or gun with you?

Big hugging going on at the Greater Mohican Audubon Booth.
 Shreve is about meeting up with friends and making new ones.  Real people who care about your family and want to know how the Bobolinks at Byers Woods fared this year.
Greater Mohican Audubon folks "man" and "woman" the field stations at Shreve Migration.  This year it was a very cold and wet job; so we send them a special  "thanks"  for their services!

Bobolink painting (by Linda Scheck) was presented
to Cheryl Harner for serving as Pres. of  GMAS 2007-13
 Bird art abounds at Shreve! From full-sized canvas paintings, photos, note cards, ceramics, painted rocks, and the ever-popular birds painted on roof-slate by Linda Scheck.  I forgot to take a photo of her booth, but here is a photo of me holding a  favored treasure, one of her paintings!  It was given to me by the Greater Mohican Audubon Society.

A few of the speakers from Migration Sensation 2014 
 Speakers!  All day long, speakers come and go in the auditorium. Some of them are nationally known like Jim McCormac and Kenn and Kim Kaufman.

Let me tell you something about these speakers: they want to be there.  They are all about spreading the love of birds, their song, and migration.  They want to help you find your way to the best birding spots.  They don't do this event for the money- their pay cannot even cover all their expenses- much less their time.  They are here in Shreve, Ohio because they love to share their love of birding  and want to help protect birds on migration and the habitats which serve them.  These speakers want to interact with beginning birders, non-birders and old friends alike.  Chuck Jakubchak has a wonderful teaching style, and Lisa Rainsong helped people train their ears to hear birds in a new way.  Jim McCormac has been my long-time mentor and one of the best speakers I have ever seen or heard, in Ohio or beyond.

This is the spirit of Shreve.  It is the spirit of people who want to share their passion for nature.

Kim and Kenn Kaufman of BSBO and Kaufman Field Guides
Kim was unable to be with us this year (I used this old photo from a free field they did for Ohio Birding Facebook group), but Mark Shieldcastle did a bang-up job on her program about the Winter Bird Altas. Kenn's program opened our eyes to some interesting migration patterns and to a world perspective on birding.

These are two passionate people- passionate about birding, and kids and yes- even each other!  There have never been two people who worked any harder to promote nature. Believe me, they are not motivated by fame or money. As you can see by their flashy mode of transportation- it's not just about them. They want to bring everybody along for the ride.  Ohio is lucky indeed to have the likes of the Kaufmans living here.

Birding festivals matter. Eco-tourism allows us to celebrate birds and monetize habitats in a way that gets the attention of non-birders. Believe me they notice when 1000 new folks show up in Shreve on a Saturday in March. Sign up now for the Biggest Week in American Birding and the Ohio Ornithological Conference. You will be helping save bird habitats with eco-tourism. Do good and have fun at the same time!
A Great Egret pondering its great regret, "Why am I back in OHIO?"
Most of all, this festival celebrates birds.  The photo of a forlorn Great Egret was shot out my car window as I drove home through the sleet and snow.

Yes, there were plenty of birds in Shreve- or rather nearby Killbuck Marsh and Funk Bottoms Wildlife Areas. We had scads of ducks, a congregation of coots and a fly-over of Sandhill Cranes. It was everything one could hope for in a one day birding event and I sincerely hope we will see you there next year!


  1. Oh my goodness..what a nice post about Shreve and Spring Migration Sensation! I chose to stay home and prune blueberries instead of taking the 10 min trek to Shreve. It was so..o tempting to come for your program and the birdsong one. Sigh...should have done it!!

  2. Oh Cheryl! You are such a joy and such a ardent supporter of conservation. You are too kind to me and Kenn, and we love you for it! :-) I was so sad to miss this very special event, and I do appreciate you giving Mark Shieldcastle a shout-out for filling in for me.

    Thanks for all that you do to promote an awareness of nature and the importance of preserving and conserving habitat.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Cheryl, nice post and good job with your talk!

  4. I sure wish I had been there, and would have been had I not been a life-long 10%er. What you have done in this post is celebrate Ohio's engaged conservation community, of which We-of-the-Benighted-Provinces would do well to take note. Were we not all Luddite farmers we'd have proper passwords and other cybercredentials and wouldn't have to comment as the Anonymatti.

    Your admiring and devoted,
    M.A. Godfrey,
    Swoope, VA

  5. It is a blessing to have the support of friends- especially those of the caliber of both Kim and Kenn Kaufman, Jim McCormac, and Michael Godfrey. These are the people who have done so much promote birds and help educate nature minded people, in Ohio and beyond.
    It is always a blessing to make new friends as well, and I hope to meet Millie in person someday, too.

    Weedpicker Cheryl

  6. Cheryl--I get so absorbed in your blog that time just slips away! I enjoyed this particular blog post for so many reasons (laughed out loud at your sad egret)--but what jumped out the most was the joy birders felt in helping beginners. What a great attitude! That's definitely how you've treated me--helping me along with birding. Someday...I want to come to this event! Warmly, Suzanne