Annual Journey of the Swallow-tailed Kite: Breeding Requirements, Migration Route & Winter Destinations
Jan. 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 121; Limited to 40 registrants; $15
Gina Kent, Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI)
Gina Kent, who has worked for ARCI and studied Swallow-tailed Kites for over 13 years, will share the latest in technology and field methods and the fine details of this spectacular bird's long-distance, seasonal movements and fascinating behaviors. Learn the results of ARCI's latest research on Swallow-tailed Kites. Find out what they look for in a breeding territory, how they are one of North America's most social raptors, and the challenges they face throughout the year as they migrate 10,000 miles between their U.S. nesting areas and winter locations in South America.
Barn Owl Pellet Dissection or "What's for Dinner?"
Jan. 26, 10:30am-12:00pm; Gazebo; Limited to 24 registrants; Free
Richard Raid, PhD (University of Florida)
This workshop is nature's version of CSI! Have you ever wondered what sort of prey raptors capture and feed on? Due to the alkaline nature of a Barn Owl's stomach, many of the bones, fur and chitinous parts of a Barn Owl's prey are left undigested. Such remains are routinely regurgitated through the mouth in the form of a compact pellet. By collecting and dissecting these pellets, researchers can find out exactly what these marvelous raptors have been eating. Discover for yourself why Barn Owls have frequently been termed the most beneficial bird on the planet. This workshop will enable each adventurous participant to dissect his or her very own owl pellet(s), discovering what lies inside. Then, by comparing skeletal remains utilizing bone charts, you will be able to figure out exactly what a Barn Owl eats. With a bit of collaborative sleuthing, registrants may even discover what type of ecosystem is inhabited by the owls that spit up these pellets. Think picking through owl regurgitation is disgusting? Think again! Believe it or not, pellet dissection is a favorite lesson at many schools throughout the nation. Adults, but especially kids of all ages, will find this workshop highly entertaining and informative. Sterilized owl pellets, dissecting tools and bone charts will be furnished to all registrants free of charge.
Barn Owls: Nature's Mousetrap
Jan. 26, 1:00pm-2:30pm; AUD; Limited to 150 registrants; Free
Jan. 27, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 121; Limited to 40 registrants; Free
Richard Raid, PhD (University of Florida)
Since 1994, the University of Florida has been involved in a program
promoting Barn Owls as a sustainable means of rodent control.
Hundreds of nesting boxes now dot the Everglades Agricultural Area
of south Florida. The UF Barn Owl Project has met with great success
in increasing Barn Owl population in the Glades, with boxes exhibiting
nearly 100% occupancy. Agriculture and wildlife are not the sole
beneficiaries. In this seminar, presenter Dr. Richard Raid will describe
the biology of these marvelous raptors and detail the project's progress.
Attendees will also be treated to amusing stories and video involving the
use of Barn Owls and regurgitated owl pellets for youth education, not
to mention, free pellets for their own enjoyment.
Employed by the University of Florida as a professor of plant pathology, Dr. Raid initiated a program promoting the use of barn owls for sustainable rodent control in 1994. The UF Barn Owl Program quickly gained the acceptance of the agricultural industry with which Dr. Raid worked, providing the Everglades Agricultural Area with some of the highest Barn Owl densities in North America. Not one to miss an opportunity for engaging kids in nature, Raid has used the project as an educational outreach program. Now, more widely recognized for Barn Owls than plant pathology, Dr. Raid and the UF Barn Owl Project have been featured on CNN, the National Geographic Society's website, and PBS's Nature series.
Jan. 25, 2:30pm-3:30pm; 123; Limited to 40 registrants; $10
Jan. 27, 10:00am-11:00pm; 121; Limited to 40 registrants; $10
Shari Blissett-Clark (Bat Belfrys, Inc.)
Bats fulfill critical environmental roles on every continent except Antarctica, helping to control insect populations, disperse seeds, and pollinate plants. Yet these fascinating mammals frequently fall victim to misinformation, superstition, and ignorance. This program will dispel commonly held myths and misconceptions about bats and present a glimpse into their amazing world. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet live amBATssadors after the presentation. Suitable for families with school-aged children.
Best of Birding North America with Carl Zeiss
Jan. 26, 9:15am-10:15am; 121; Limited to 40 registrants; $10
Stephen Ingraham (Carl Zeiss Sports Optics)
A virtual tour of the best birding, birding spots, and birding festivals on the Carl Zeiss yearly schedule. It is the next best thing to being there yourself... and perhaps enough motivation to get you there next year.
Bird Habitats & Bird Distribution in North America
Jan. 23; 11:00am-12:00pm; 123; Limited to 40 registrants; $20
From the arctic to the subtropics, the ocean to alpine tundra, sample what these areas look like, where they are found, and enjoy many of the characteristics and special birds found in each. Paul Lehman's diverse distinguished birding background lends itself to this topic. This is a learning experience not to be missed. Join Paul on a tour of North America's major avian habitats. We will also visit a number of habitat "outposts" where localized species may be seen.
Bird ID Forum: Experts & Participants
Jan. 26, 2:45pm-4:45pm; AUD; Limited to 150 registrants; $20
Moderator: Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography) Panel: Jeffrey A. Gordon (American Birding Association), Paul Lehman, Michael O'Brien (VENT), David Simpson (Birding With David Simpson), James Currie (Nikon's Birding Adventures TV) and Victor Emanuel (VENT)
What do you and the experts consider when a bird is seen in the field? Come to this exciting interaction ID forum and see how your thought process compares with some of the top North American birders. Photos of escalating difficulty from various bird families will be shown on the screen, after which the audience will have an opportunity to identify the bird and to give a few reasons for your ID conclusion. With the photos on the screen again, the experts will comment on the photo and give additional reasons for the ID if necessary. It is a wonderful opportunity to see how your ID approach compares to that of the experts and to hear how they reach a conclusion that might help you in the future. A few quiz photos of odd angles and poor views will give us a chance to have a little fun trying to ID birds with just a few clues available.
Birding by Ear
Jan. 27, 11:00am-12:15pm; 119; Limited to 40 registrants; $25
Michael O'Brien (VENT)
For many birders, both beginner and expert, attempting to learn bird sounds can be a daunting, if not a seemingly impossible task. So many species and so much variation, where does one start? This workshop will get you going by taking an analytical approach and focusing on helpful techniques for remembering bird sounds. Our emphasis will be on birds likely to be heard during the Festival, including some of those hoped-for Florida specialties.
Black Vulture Populations on the Kennedy Space Center/MINWR
Jan. 25, 11:00am-12:00pm; 123; Limited to 40 registrants; $20
Eric Stolen, PhD (IHA)
Explore with Dr. Stolen facets of Black Vulture social behavior and the intricacies of how these noble scavengers cooperate to find food. He will also discuss how their natural behavior and habitat alteration has brought them into conflict with humans. He will explain research underway at the Kennedy Space Center designed to gain information for management decision-making. This study includes the use of satellite GPS and radio telemetry to detect the locations of specific individual birds and the marking of additional vultures with wing tags for a mark-recapture study. Although common throughout most of their range, how many of us really know much of the rich life history of these essential and fascinating birds? Hopefully, you will come away from this talk with a new appreciation for these fascinating and useful birds.
Bluebird Box Build
Jan. 26, 1:00pm-2:30pm; Gazebo; Limited to 12 registrants; $20
You will be taking home a Bluebird box with the dimensions of 14"hx6"wx6"d. Fee covers materials.
Dee Fairbanks Simpson (Florida Master Naturalist)
NOTE: All children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Join Dee in constructing a Bluebird box. During this session, you will learn about Bluebirds, where they live, and the benefits of having one in your yard.
Butterflies: From Conservation to Citizen Science
Jan. 26, 9:30pm-12:00pm; AUD; Limited to 150 registrants; $20
Jaret Daniels, PhD (University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History)
Beyond their beauty, butterflies are valuable environmental indicators and flagship organisms for conservation. Despite Florida's outstanding butterfly diversity, many species are facing an uphill battle to survive. Discover the stories behind some of our imperiled butterflies and learn how you can help keep common species common.