2020 TALKS and WORKSHOPS
Amur Falcons: Living on the Edge
with Catherine Hamilton - Thursday 7:00pm
The Amur Falcon makes a spectacular flight during its migration each year from Northeast Asia to Southern Africa and then back. Hundreds of thousands congregate along the way in Nagaland, India, providing a true spectacle of migration. It is believed to be the largest concentration of falcons anywhere on Earth. Through the artwork of world-renowned artist Catherine Hamilton, we’ll hear the story of her journey to see these kestrel-sized birds, the threat hunting poses to this species, and the recent conservation efforts to save them. Come find out how a small group of conservationists and the will of the local people to protect this incredible “resource” has started to turn the tide in this story.
Caught in the SNOWstorm
with Scott Weidensaul - Friday 7:00pm
The winter of 2013-14 saw the largest invasion of snowy owls into the eastern United States in perhaps a century -- and marked an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about these mysterious Arctic hunters. Author and researcher Scott Weidensaul will share the ongoing story of Project SNOWstorm -- how a huge, collaborative research effort focused on snowy owls came together in a few frantic weeks, funded with the help of people from around the world, and continues to make discoveries and unexpected insights into the life and ecology of this great white raptor.
Birding Beyond Boundaries
with Kyle Lima - Saturday 5:30pm
Through tales of culture, nature, and science, this talk aims to introduce you to a different perspective on why we bird. From travels to Southern Africa, to experiences right here at this festival, Kyle shares how he believes birding has the potential to promote good across the boundaries of geography, culture, and beliefs.
Birding with a Purpose: Maine Bird Atlas and How YOU can Help
Doug Hitchcox - Thursday 10:30-11:30am
It's time for the 2nd year of the Maine Bird Atlas (www.maine.gov/birdatlas): a five-year effort to document the abundance and distribution of all breeding and wintering birds across the entire state of Maine! To be successful, we need people across the state to volunteer. Join Glen Mittelhauser, Director of Maine Natural History Observatory and coordinator of the Maine Bird Atlas, to learn about the history of the Maine Bird Atlas and how you can participate. Glen will describe some of the resources available on the website and how to report observations. The Maine Bird Atlas will be a fun new way to go birding in Maine, share sightings and contribute to a better understanding of Maine's birds.
Birding By Ear
Doug Hitchcox - Thursday 4:30-5:30pm
Kick off the festival with this special workshop to help you learn all those confusing songs eminating from the forest. It can be frustrating when you can't see those birds singing high in the trees or just out of sight in the dense thicket. Just six simple tips will help you organize what you are hearing and demystify birding-by-ear. The program trains you to take advantage of bird song information you already know. The presentation will focus on bird sounds that are commonly heard in Maine, but the principles are useful anywhere.
Doug Hitchcox - Friday 10:30-noon
Join Doug Hitchcox as he tells us how to best use eBird. The eBird website (ebird.org) is an increasingly popular website for birders to keep their personal records, access information about recent sightings, plan birding trips, and ask questions about bird occurrence. Come learn why so many people love eBird and how you can start using it too, or use it more effectively, to get the most out of it. eBird is free and open to everyone, from casual birders to scientists and conservationists. The eBird database already has more than 10,000 species reported and over 500 million records entered around the world! Even if you are already an eBird user, there is always more to learn from the expert.
The Real James Bond & Mt. Desert Island
Jim Wright - Friday 10:30-11:30am (at Gilley Museum)
James Bond -- ornithologist, author of the classic "Birds of the West Indies" and world's most famous identity-theft victim -- spent his summers on Mt. Desert Island his entire life. What's more, he and his uncle wrote the classic field guide to the birds of Mt. Desert nearly eight decades ago. Bond also helped his uncle -- Carroll Sargent Tyson -- create the most famous set of bird prints in Maine, and you can see them up close at this illustrated talk at the Wendell Gilley Carving Museum in Southwest Harbor. Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" is involved as well (you won't believe how). Jim Wright, the author of the new lavishly illustrated biography, "The Real James Bond," will tell all about Bond, Tyson, the birds, the books, the illustrations, avian spies and several Mt. Desert Island locales.
Seabird ID Workshop
Doug Hitchcox - Friday 4:30-5:30pm
Ever get frustrated trying to identify those fast moving, far away pelagic seabirds on a rocking boat? Join us to learn techniques on how to improve your skills so you too can be the first to spot and id a jaegar, or shearwater, maybe even a fulmar, and tell the difference between razorbills and murres, and Wilson's and Leach's Storm-petrel as they dance across the water. If you are scheduled to be aboard the pelagic seabird boat trip Saturday morning, this talk is sure to make your experience that much more enjoyable. Whether you are a beginner, or already experienced seabirder, you're sure to take home some new information about identifying pelagic species.
Sketching with Catherine
Catherine Hamilton - Sunday 1:30-3:30pm
Join Catherine Hamilton on a limited participant sketching workshop. Featuring both an indoor classroom and ample time to work outside, participants will have the opportunity to hone their field sketching and color skills, or to explore something completely new. This workshop is open to all levels, from curious beginners to advanced artists. Catherine provides unique instruction for each individual and their particular focus or level. The workshop will incorporate working from life and learning the pros and cons of successfully using photographic reference. Bird anatomy and movement will be discussed. Color assessment and sophisticated mixing will be introduced and worked on throughout the workshop. By breaking down the often overwhelming experience of drawing and painting from the world in front us into a few initial exercises, participants will then have a good amount of time to devote to implementing these as we explore outdoors. Participants bring their own materials (which can be as simple as pencil and a sketchbook!).