Midwest Birding Symposium – Final Roundup

In the weeks to come we plan on talking about various things we learned at this year’s Midwest Birding Symposium in Moline, Illinois. This is a final summary of what we took away from this wonderful event.

The Mighty Mississippi River
Mississippi River

If we had to name one favorite moment of the MBS it would have to have been standing side-by-side to Kenn Kaufman, calling out warblers as they danced in the tree tops. But we also met many wonderful people, heard numerous wonderful talks, and saw some amazing birds.

Life Birds

Dakota, as expected, had the most life birds of the trip, estimated at over 20 new birds. Birdfreak and Veery each saw three new birds: American Golden Plover, Franklin’s Gull, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow for Birdfreak and Caspian Tern, the plover and gull for Veery. We both had our first really great looks at a Black-billed Cuckoo too!

Conservation and Birding Talks

We attended six workshops at the MBS and each was enjoyable. It was hard to stay awake in a couple, but that was due to the extreme early mornings and nearly non-stop activities. Here’s what talks we heard:

  1. Paul Baicich: Three Roads, One Direction: Birders, Bird Conservation, and National Wildlife Refuges
  2. Kenn Kaufman: Principles and Pitfalls of Bird Identification
  3. Kim Risen: The Undiscovered Midwest
  4. Jim Herkert: Grassland Birds in the Upper Midwest
  5. Doug Harr: Bird Conservation in Iowa – Trying to Prevent a Silent Spring
  6. Mississippi River Forest Habitat – Always Changing

As you’d expect, many of these talks revolved around the Midwest and conservation, two areas of focus for our blog.

Other Points of Interest

Al Batt, a humorist-birder introduced Kenn Kaufman for the Saturday night dinner talk. He was funny but something he said really surprised the Birdfreak Team. He pointed out in the crowd to Dakota and said (and we paraphrase here) that Kenn started birding at a young age and Dakota, at age 10, is going to be the next Kenn Kaufman!! Now, nobody knows what the future holds, but we were thrilled to hear someone say this and you just never know!

The next Midwest Birding Symposium will be held in 2009 somewhere in Ohio and we are planning on being there!!

3 thoughts on “Midwest Birding Symposium – Final Roundup

  1. They say that the vast majority of elite birders are the ones that start out young.-I’ll be looking forward to reading Dakota’s book when it comes out. Maybe Kingbird Highway of the 21st century!

  2. As an amateur birder living in the Quad-Cities, I was disappointed at the exclusive nature of Midwest Birding Symposium. As they said in the paper, only “serious” birders were invited or allowed to attend. No public admission. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but it would have been nice to allow others to attend (like me!).

  3. I didn’t realize there was “no public admission”… the hotel seemed very open and inviting but I had not read any print material promoting this event since March (or around then when we signed up).

    I figured the workshops were open to anyone because no one checked for IDs or anything. The paper probably used the word “serious” because they can’t comprehend why anyone would willingly spend a long weekend learning, viewing, and talking about birds, unless they were “serious” (which, of course is untrue as there were all types of birders at this event).

    We saved up for the MBS and made a mini-vacation out of it. I am sorry you felt it was exclusive; I hope they didn’t intend it to be that way 🙁

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