For our Annual Conference in 2021, we are offering something for the first time: a combined meeting of the Oregon Birding Association and the Washington Ornithological Society in Astoria, Ore. We want to have the opportunity to share our joy in birding with some great field trips, wonderful social time and a couple of fine evening programs. Detailed information is provided below as it becomes available.
Planning for a group of something like 200 birders has presented some challenges! For example, early morning organizing of field trip carpools will occur at the program and dinner venue, the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, which is 10-15 minutes from downtown Astoria and the major hotels. The fairgrounds does provide plenty of room and secure parking for the day, which we haven’t been able to arrange elsewhere.
For our evening programs and meals on Friday and Saturday, again, for a larger group, we needed plenty of elbow room and a kitchen that provides everything our caterer will need: the Exhibition Hall at the fairgrounds has those features and is easy to find. Birders being patient, adaptable and geographically intuitive, we anticipate that all will find their way just fine.
Finally, for our two evening programs, we’re offering presentations by two of the most respected and appreciated ornithologists in the country. Friday evening, Dr. Dennis Paulson will present his “Stump the Experts” program that WOS members are delighted to share with their OBA friends: it will be a fun challenge in bird ID for every birder.
Saturday evening, travelling from New York State to join us for the weekend, Dr. John Fitzpatrick, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and his wife Molly, will be with us. The title of his talk: Wild Birds Are Now the Canaries, and Our Planet Is the Coal Mine. Subtitle: “Bird populations are barometers of our planet’s health, and birders play a huge role in measuring the changes.”
All our members are aware of reports recently in Science that 2.9 billion birds have been lost over the past 50 years, for reasons we all know very well. Our respective boards felt it would be useful to step back for a look at the “big picture,” and Dr. Fitzpatrick (often referred to as “Fitz”) can provide that. Plus, many of us interact with Cornell almost daily via eBird, which he has been instrumental in developing. Come with your questions about all aspects of birds, eBird and birding!
Conference co-organizer and former WOS President