Our 100th anniversary meeting was held in Newtown Square, PA March 24-26, 2023.
Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Heisman – Untold Stories From the History of Bird Migration Research
On Saturday, EBBA is pleased to welcome Rebecca Heisman, author of the recent popular science book Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration. Flight Paths tells the forgotten history of how we know what we know about bird migration, from the earliest origins of bird banding to how the latest advances in fields like genomics and artificial intelligence are being harnessed in pursuit of migration’s mysteries. In her talk, Rebecca will share how her book came to be and share just three of the many stories in the book, telling the tales of some of her favorite underappreciated and eccentric innovators in the history of bird migration research. She will also discuss the concept of migratory connectivity and how getting to an incredible level of detail in our understanding of the lives of migratory birds may be a key part of saving them in a changing world.
Rebecca Heisman is a science writer based in Walla Walla, Washington. She has contributed to publications including Audubon, Living Bird (the Cornell Lab of Ornithology magazine), and High Country News, and from 2015 to 2020 she worked for the American Ornithological Society, North America’s largest professional society for bird scientists. When she’s not birding or writing, she can usually be found chasing after her four-year-old son or enjoying her ever-growing native plant garden.
Set for a release date of March 14, 2023, here’s what a few reviewers have to say about the book:
“Flight Paths reads like a cross between a great detective story and riveting science fiction, except that the science here is all fact. Migratory birds span the globe through incredible feats of navigation and endurance, and the researchers who have uncovered their secrets are just as fascinating as the birds themselves.”
– Kenn Kaufman (author of the Kaufman Field Guide series, Kingbird Highway, and A Season on the Wind)
“Flight Paths is a delight, and the ground-breaking bird migration scientists whom Rebecca Heisman profiles in this fascinating book are a wonderfully unconventional lot. Heisman is the ideal guide to their world — curious, chatty, and adept at making sometimes complex research easily understandable. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
– Scott Weidensaul (Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Living on the Wind and A World on the Wing)
You will have the opportunity to reserve a copy of Flight Paths, for purchase at the meeting!
Opening Speaker: Dave Brinker – The Rise and Fall of Northern Goshawks in the Central Appalachians
On Friday evening, Dave Brinker will present The Rise and Fall of Northern Goshawks in the Central Appalachians: Is there reason for conservation concern in the Northeastern U.S.? Admired by people for its aggressiveness, courage, flight prowess and hunting ability from before the dark ages; in northern hemisphere forests the Northern Goshawk is an apex avian predator. Since 1994, the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project has monitored goshawk nesting attempts in the high country of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. A positive population trend and range expansion during the late 20th Century abruptly reversed in the early 21st Century. Eastern hawk watch data documents the cessation of irruptive movements from the western Great Lakes eastward and shows significant declines at most major hawk watches, including the two lowest counts of goshawks at Hawk Mountain since establishment of routine counts in 1970. Dave will share insights from over thirty years working with the gray ghost and discuss its future in the Eastern United States.
Dave Brinker works for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a Regional Ecologist with the Natural Heritage Program. His interest in raptors started in 1975 at the Little Suamico Ornithological Station, a raptor migration observation and banding station near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dave’s most memorable day hawk trapping was banding 27 adult goshawks in one day during the 1982 goshawk irruption. His fascination with Northern Goshawks and the ten-year wildlife cycle began in Wisconsin shortly after obtaining a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and this passion grew into the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project. Dave is a founding co-director of Project Owlnet and Project Snowstorm, as well as a principal in the Northeast Motus Collaboration. He frequently appears on Maryland Public Television’s Outdoors Maryland, and he has been heard on National Geographic Today, on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and on Living on Earth.
Presenting Saturday, March 25
Neil Gifford, Conservation Director for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission – Eastern whip-poor-will and ecosystem health in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Dan Mummert, Pennsylvania Game Commission (PCG), Southeast Regional Wildlife Recovery Biologist – The PA Game Commission’s Barn Owl Conservation Initiative: A 17-year review
Charlotte and Ethan Xu, Featherbed Lane Banding Station – The Relationship between Japanese Stiltgrass and Ground-foraging Songbirds
Archer Larned, Maryland Coastal Bays Program – Floating Island Successfully Attracted Common Tern Colony
Mercy Melo, PhD Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst – The continental decline of American kestrels: an investigation of possible drivers and future management strategies
Annie Lindsay, Powdermill Nature Reserve, Carnegie Museum of Natural History – A Bird Observatory for the 21st Century
Robert L. Curry, Villanova University – Using radio frequency identification (RFID) to study behavioral ecology of Carolina and Black-capped chickadees and their hybrids
Scott Stoleson, USDA Forest Service – Are Birds the Dispersal Vectors of Litylenchus crenatae Mccannii, the Nematode Associated with Beech Leaf Disease?
Robert J Smith, Co-Director of Environmental Science and Professor of Biology, The University of Scranton – Understanding avian migration in northeastern Pennsylvania: Insights from 18 years of banding data
Deirdre Robinson, Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative – How banding Saltmarsh Sparrows (Ammospiza caudacuta) promotes inquiry into temperature-related changes in morphometrics over time
Ian Stewart, Delaware Nature Society – Feather mite prevalence in birds banded in south-east Pennsylvania and Delaware
Zoë Warner, PhD, Grassland Bird Consultant, Willistown Conservation Trust – Implementing Sustainable Grassland Bird Recovery through Creative Collaboration
Cailin O’Connor, Kean University – Determining the effects of traumatic brain injury from window strikes on migration in passerines using Motus
Antonio Celis-Murillo, Chief of the USGS National Bird Banding Lab (BBL), Eastern Ecological Science Center – What is new in the Bird Banding Lab? An overview of our accomplishments, direction, and vision
Lauren Ferreri, Manager – Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania Game Commission) – PA Game Commission American Kestrel Conservation Initiative: Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Phillys Gichuru, Virginia Tech – The Story of 2551-02515: Mapping survival and productivity of songbirds at Rushton Woods Preserve
Johannes Nelson, University of Pennsylvania – Bioacoustics and Machine Learning for Conservation
Bracken M. Brown, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – New World Vultures and Citizen Scientists: Auxiliary marking engages the public while providing insight to natural history.