save the date: may 3rd - 6th, 2018
experience the avian aurora. come be inspired ON THE COPPER RIVER DELTA!
Witness the shimmering flocks of millions of shorebirds as they take a short break on the Copper River Delta while passing from their wintering areas across the globe to their breeding grounds in the north.
Join birders, photographers, biologists, conservationists, artists and global citizens for a laid back weekend of birding, hiking, art and MORE in one of the most pristine natural places on earth.
2017 Festival highlights
David Sibley - 2017 keynote speaker
He knows every North American bird: by its shade, by its tilt, by its habitat, by its male, female, and juvenile plumages. It’s only natural; he’s the son of a Yale ornithologist and has been birding since his childhood in Connecticut. Sibley was only seven when he began drawing birds, filing his illustrations away along with clips about the natural history of each species.
It’s a habit he never shook. As an adult, Sibley merged that encyclopedic knowledge with his skills as a self-taught artist to become one of America’s best-known field guide authors. His first bird guide was released in 2000. With The Sibley Field Guide to Birds, a New York Times bestseller, Sibley was immediately hailed as heir to the great birder and artist Roger Tory Peterson, placing him in a long line of artist-naturalist hybrids that leads straight back to John James Audubon himself. David delivered an excellent keynote address:
The Psychology of Bird Identification
Bird identification is the central challenge of birding, and we all strive to improve our skills and to identify more birds, more quickly and more accurately. Countless references and tools suggest that the birder who wants to avoid misidentifications should learn more about the fine points of plumage, molt, and subspecies, but the fact is that most mistakes involve glitches in perception. No amount of knowledge and preparation can prevent us from blurting out “Snowy Owl!” when the time is right and we see a white plastic bag on the salt-marsh. Our brains, and the very short-cuts that we use with phenomenal success to identify birds, are also the source of most misidentifications. This workshop will focus on the psychological aspects of bird identification – how we subconsciously use pattern-recognition, expectations, suggestion, and other clues – and how those methods can lead us to misidentify birds with complete confidence.
other 2017 festival speakers
joan walsh, director of bird monitoring, massachusetts audubon
Joan has been watching and learning from birds for 35 years. During her career she has focused on research that has direct implications for bird conservation. This interest led to enlisting hundreds of citizen scientists for the creation of the highly regarded Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2 and two State of the Birds of Massachusetts reports. She was a Farallon Island biologist where she studied Elephant Seals, Tufted Puffins, Brandt’s Cormorants, Western Gulls, and even did a little Great White Shark work. She went to graduate school in Georgia, where she studied Wood Storks, and was the former Director of Research at Cape May Bird Observatory in NJ. Her formative years as an ornithologist were spent on Great Gull Island, NY, home to the largest colonies of Common and Roseate Terns in the North Atlantic.
Lisa Kennedy, PhD Candidate ENLS Program, Trent University - Peterborough, Ontario
Lisa is a CGS-Doctoral NSERC Awardee currently in the third year of her doctorate. For the past three summers she has led a team of researchers for Environment Canada on the tundra at one of the longest running breeding shorebird monitoring camps in the Arctic. Her work is driven by her devotion to shorebird conservation and maintaining Arctic tundra biodiversity.
kate mclaughlin, President, alaska hummingbird project
A resident of Prince William Sound since 1998, Kate McLaughlin is an independent environmental consultant and is the President & Executive Director of Prince William Soundkeeper, a non-profit water quality citizen advocacy organization. From April – August, Kate runs the Alaska Hummingbird Banding Project, Inc., the northernmost hummingbird banding station in the world.
Our own Erin Cooper, USFW Biologist, was a guest on KSKA Public Radio talking about the shorebirds, migration and the 2015 festival. Take a listen:
The great cordova birding challenge - bird here, now!
The 2017 Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival will continue the tradition of hosting a Birding Challenge. This year’s event will be an 8 hour challenge to be held on Sunday, May 7. The Challenge is open to anyone, and is meant to be a fun event for all, be you a serious birder, someone willing to learn, or for families. Teams will begin at 1:00pm and in 8 hours, count as many species by sight and sound as they can. The event will finish at 9 PM at the Reluctant Fisherman, where teams that are late, will forfeit 1 bird from the lists for every 5 minutes that they are late. Again, the point of this friendly competition is for everyone to have FUN birding. In the end, with teams out scouring the brush for a day, some interesting sightings are made every year. We hope you will participate!
Complete rules and entry form HERE.