Connecticut Ornithological Association’s 34th Annual Meeting

COA Annual Meeting
March 24, 2018

The Connecticut Ornithological Association’s 34th Annual Meeting is being held on
March 24, 2018 at Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT.

Guest speakers include:

Scott Weidensaul
Of a Feather: A (Brief) History of American Birding

From the moment Europeans arrived in North America, they were awestruck by a continent awash with birds – great flocks of wild pigeons, woodlands alive with brilliantly colored songbirds. Join naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul as he traces the unpredictable history of bird study in America, from frontier ornithologists (one of whom barely escaped pursuing Apaches with a precious hawk egg hidden in his mouth) to society matrons who organized the first effective conservation movement; from luminaries like Alexander Wilson (a convicted libeler) and Audubon (an accomplished liar) to modern geniuses like Roger Tory Peterson.

Based on his book “Of a Feather,” this whirlwind history shows how ornithology and birding grew from eccentric hobbies into something so completely mainstream they’re now (almost) cool.

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Living on the Wind,” about bird migration, “Return to Wild America,” and “The First Frontier.”  His latest book is “The Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean.”  Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon magazine, a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and writes for a variety of other publications.  He lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, and is an active field researcher studying migration from Alaska to Maine, and focusing especially on owls and hummingbirds.


John Himmelman
Birds: Their Side of the Story…..

How did our best-known birds earn that distinction? What are some of the crazy things they make us do? Why are there so many pigeons in cities? How adept are crows – for real now, at using a screwdriver? What did Ben Franklin really think about Bald Eagles?

John Shares light-hearted stories of birds and bird watching – from cuisine to cartoons, ornaments to icons, murmurs to murders.  You’ll be given a whole new look at the avian friends we so admire (and some, not so much….)

John Himmelman is an author, illustrator, naturalist, and popular lecturer.  He is a co-founder of the CT Butterfly Association, past president of the New Haven Bird Club, past president of The Nature Connection and past president of the Killingworth Land Trust.  He has lectured and led many trips afield in search of various flora and fauna throughout the country for over 25 years.

Himmelman has written and illustrated many books for adults and children on a wide variety of natural history subjects.

Chris Elphick
Connecticut Bird Atlas

Field work for the new Connecticut Bird Atlas project begins in spring 2018 and will require the help of the state’s birders to make it a success.  The project aims to map the distributions and abundance patterns of all of Connecticut’s birds during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons, determine how bird occurrence has changed since the first atlas in the 1980’s, and inform conservation planning statewide. This presentation will provide a history of atlas projects, an overview of what the Connecticut study will achieve, and a description of how birders can get involved.

Chris Elphick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut.  His work focuses on the conservation ecology of birds, especially in wetlands, farmland, and forests.  He has been studying coastal marsh birds and their habitats since 2002 and is a lead investigator for the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).  He participated in his first bird atlas in his early teens, mostly surveying blocks no one else wanted to visit (and still finding good birds).  He has received Partners in Flight National Investigators’ Awards for contributions to bird conservation both as an individual and as a member of the SHARP team. His research has been published in journals such as the Auk, Biological Conservation, Condor, Conservation Biology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and ScienceBook length projects include the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada, and the Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Rice Fields: A Global Review.