2017 FEATURED SPEAKERS
Pete Dunne is past Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, past Vice President of the New Jersey Audubon Society Natural History Information and founder of the World Series of Birding. Pete is a well known author and co-author of numerous books about birds and birding including Hawks in Flight , Pete Dunne on Birding , Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion and The Art of Pishing . He is a regular columnist in a number of birding publications such as American Birds, Birding , Living Bird, Birder’s World and WildBird . Best known for his skills as a hawk watcher, he is equally fascinated by shorebirds and songbirds. Pete has been leading workshops and tours for nearly 30 years and he delights in sharing with others his knowledge and passion for birds.
Laura Erickson has been blathering about birds since she memorized the “Bird” entry in her family’s encyclopedia when she was a preschooler. She whistled in a cardinal when she was very little, and once saw a whole flock of warblers in the tree outside her bedroom window, though she thought they must be the angels of canaries that died saving miners’ lives.
Laura didn’t know how to identify birds until after her mother-in-law gave her a field guide and binoculars for Christmas in 1974. By the late ’70s she was subjecting her middle-school students in Madison, Wisconsin, and readers of her occasional columns in The Wisconsin State Journal to endless stories about birds. She moved to Duluth, Minnesota, and started producing “For the Birds,” a radio spot now airing on independent public and community radio stations from Oregon to New York, in 1986. “For the Birds” is the longest-running radio program about birds in the United States, podcast at http://www.lauraerickson.com/radio/.
Laura is currently a contributing editor of BirdWatching magazine, author of ten books, including 101 Ways to Help Birds and the National Geographic Pocket Guide to North American Birds, and she collaborates on projects with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where she served as science editor from 2008–2010.
Laura served as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator focused primarily on songbirds and especially Common Nighthawks while she was a stay-at-home mother in the 80s and 90s; has counted raptors and songbirds at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and other sites in Duluth, Minnesota; and studied nighthawk digestion as part of an ill-fated Ph.D project. Her professor, Dr. Gary Duke (co-founder of The Raptor Center) told her she was the “world authority on nighthawk digestion” even as he mentioned that no one else particularly wanted that distinction.
An avid birder, Laura saw 604 species (593 countable by ABA rules) during her “2013 Conservation Big Year,” and until recently was listed in the top ten overall on the ABA “Listing Central” for Lower 48 Big Years. Probably many people have seen more than she has who haven’t entered their totals, so this is a meaningless distinction.