Below are the keynote descriptions and presenter biographies. Visit the Mountain Bird Festival website to browse available birdwatching field trips and then register for this exciting community conservation event, a recent recipient of a Conservation Award. Sign up soon before field trips fill, and we hope to see you in Ashland in late May!
The Mountains of Everywhere by Pepper Trail
Ashland, Oregon, tucked into a fold between the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains, may seem to be in the middle of nowhere. But here in single day, you can walk through sagebrush and spruce forest, spot Great Gray Owls and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and attend a science seminar and a Shakespeare play. Our mountains are one of the great biological crossroads of North America, and our little town is a hotbed of science, conservation, and the arts whose influence extends to the corridors of power in Washington and the bright lights of Broadway. Welcome to Ashland. Welcome to everywhere.
Pepper Trail received his Ph.D. from Cornell University for his field studies of the spectacular Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock in Suriname. He is the author of numerous scientific papers and popular articles in journals ranging from Science and Conservation Biology to National Geographic and Ranger Rick. He has lived in Ashland since 1994, where he is the ornithologist at the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. In this position, he is responsible for identification of all feathers and bird remains seized in investigations of endangered species smuggling and other wildlife crimes. An active member of the regional conservation community, he was heavily involved in the efforts that led to the establishment of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. His expertise, enthusiasm, and sense of humor make him a sought-after speaker and tour guide, and he has led birding trips to all seven continents.
Shakespeare and the Corvids by Barry Kraft
In 1592, the first critical notice of Shakespeare was published in London — an unflattering description of him as “an upstart crow”. Critical intent aside, the comparison of the poet/playwright to the crow and raven family of feathered geniuses was apt – both he and they, noted for outstanding intelligence and adaptability, are survivors above all. Barry Kraft’s keynote presentation will explore the affinities Shakespeare has with the corvids, and reference the many members of this family of birds that have flown their ways into his poems and plays.
Barry Kraft has acted in all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays (more than 100 roles in 86 full productions), including 20 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has had seasons with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe (San Diego), The Empty Space & A Contemporary Theatre (both in Seattle), San Jose Rep, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, ACT (San Francisco), Marin Shakespeare Company, and Utah Shakespearean Festival. For the Eugene Symphony, he was the narrator for Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony. He has written After-Dinner Shakespeare and Shakespeare Insult Generator. He has recorded several books on tape for Blackstone Audio, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses. He is also a dramaturg, educator, an avid chess and Go player, and poetry lover. Barry has been an enthusiastic birder from boyhood, and in his teens had a pet barn owl, a red-tail hawk, a kestrel, and a raven. (Yes, illegal at the time — but he didn’t know it!)
Visit the Mountain Bird Festival website to register for this fun and unique conservation festival!
An anonymous donor granted this award recognizing the festival’s central theme – citizens elevating conservation. Every Mountain Bird Festival attendee advances bird conservation in multiple ways; they contribute to habitat protection, they participate as citizen scientists, and they support scientific programs aimed at achieving sustainable natural resources management. “Receiving this award as we prepare to host our first conservation-focused festival adds to our momentum and gives us encouragement that we’re on the right trajectory,” said John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director.
The Mountain Bird Festival’s conservation impacts are far-reaching. First, each festival attendee receives a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. the Duck Stamp) purchased with a portion of their registration fee. The Federal Duck Stamp Program is considered one of the most successful conservation programs ever; proceeds from stamp sales are used to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection within the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than 6 million acres of strategic wetland habitat have been preserved through this program over the last 80 years.
Second, all bird sightings made during Mountain Bird Festival field trips will be entered into eBird, a real-time, online checklist program that is the fastest growing biological database in the world. The birding community – simply by uploading bird abundance and distribution data into this program – is contributing to an unprecedented understanding of the dynamic health of the natural world; such information allows scientists to identify conservation priorities and better use limited conservation funds. eBird Festivals, such as the Mountain Bird Festival, are accelerating this valuable citizen science trend.
Third, festival attendees also receive a new and attractive Mountain Bird Conservation Science Stamp, modeled after the Duck Stamp and designed by local artist Gary Bloomfield. Each festival attendee purchases this stamp though their registration fee and proceeds support Klamath Bird Observatory’s scientific programs that inform management for healthy lands, airs, and waters in the Klamath-Siskiyou Region of southern Oregon and northern California.
The Mountain Bird Festival is a unique community conservation event that celebrates the globally outstanding Klamath Siskiyou Region, recognized for its abundance of different habitats and species. The festival offers two days of field trips that will search for mountain bird specialties, such as White-headed Woodpecker, Mountain Quail, Calliope Hummingbird, and Great Gray Owl. The festival also features a fine art auction, live music, local foods and beverages, cocktail parties, and stimulating evening presentations.
Klamath Bird Observatory is hosting the 2014 Mountain Bird Festival in partnership with the City of Ashland, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, and many other organizations.
Birding festivals are growing in popularity across the world, and, increasingly, these community events are becoming “eBird Festivals.” eBird is a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. eBird festivals use the eBird program to track the many birds seen on the field trips offered during these events that celebrate birds and birding. eBird Festivals also provide outreach, promoting the use of eBird by helping festival attendees set up their own eBird accounts and providing information about the powerful data entry and exploration tools offered by eBird. By integrating eBird within festival activities these eBird Festivals are building on a significant opportunity for the birding community to contribute to the science that drives conservation worldwide.
Two of the first birding festivals to adopt eBirding as part of their annual celebrations were the Winter Wings Festival, held in February in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and the Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival held in April in Arcata, California. These festivals first adopted eBirding as an integral part of their activities in 2008 in collaboration with Klamath Bird Observatory, who at that time created the regional eBird portal, Klamath-Siskiyou eBird. This portal celebrates the globally outstanding biodiversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and provides stories on the extensive conservation science efforts that have been developed in the region through the Klamath Bird Monitoring Network. This eBird Portal will soon be transformed into eBird Northwest, which will serve a broader geographical area while also acting as the citizen science application of Avian Knowledge Northwest. Avian Knowledge Northwest is a regional node of the Avian Knowledge Network that provides information from comprehensive datasets on birds and the environment for scientists, natural resource managers, and other individuals interested in conservation and science in the northwestern United States.
Between 2008 and 2013, the Winter Wings Festival in southwest Oregon logged 309 checklists documenting 195 species into the regional Klamath-Siskiyou eBird portal. During this same time period, the Godwit Days Festival in northwest California logged 449 checklists documenting 283 species. A new eBird Festival, the Mountain Bird Festival, will be hosted by Klamath Bird Observatory and held for the first time this spring in Ashland, Oregon. These festivals are nurturing citizen-driven conservation by promoting eBird among their festival attendees and by helping each attendee contribute to one of the largest and fastest growing biological data resources in existence, eBird.
eBird was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.
Specifically, we’re looking to fill the following positions:
This position will focus on approaching potential sponsors and securing sponsorships for the festival.
This position will be in charge of marketing and promotions for the festival, and will work to put Mountain Bird Festival announcements in key publications.
Fine Art Kingbird
This position will approach local artists for donations for the festival’s Fine Art Auction, and will coordinate the delivery of these art pieces to the festival.
This position will explore merchandise options and then place orders for festival merchandise, such as t-shirts, caps, and tote bags.
Destination Lunch Kingbird
This position will plan and coordinate destination lunches for festival birdwatchers at a few sites throughout area.
Festival Brochure Kingbird
This position will organize the content for the festival brochure and help with the creation of the brochure.
This position will be our jack-of-all-trades kingbird. The Support Kingbird will help out during festival preparation with a variety of small tasks.
All positions will be supported by the Great Gray Owls (i.e., festival coordinators).
Click here to volunteer and get in touch with your inner kingbird!
May 30th, May 31st, and June 1st, 2014
Ashland, OregonMark your calendar, the first-ever Mountain Bird Festival is coming! Klamath Bird Observatory will host this community conservation event next spring in Ashland, Oregon. Our vision is to create a festival that combines a celebration of nature with the stewardship ethic needed to ensure thriving landscapes for humans and wildlife. Every citizen who participates in this festival will become a significant steward of the science that drives bird conservation.
The idea for this festival began several years ago with KBO Board President Harry Fuller. Harry is a dedicated birder and indefatigable birdwatching guide. As Harry took clients on birding trips throughout the region, he noticed how impressed they were with the birdlife as well as the region’s many other attractions.
We hope you attend the festival for the guided bird walks and keynote presentations and stay for the destination lunches, fine art, music, and more. We will have half-day and full day field trips both Saturday and Sunday. For non-birders Ashland provides a variety of activities. There are over a dozen boutique wineries within a half hour’s drive. The downtown has many interesting shops and galleries. There are brewpubs, book stores, coffee shops, boutiques, movie theatres and a variety of specialty shops. Of course, Ashland is home of the widely acclaimed Oregon Shakespeare Festival with afternoon and evening plays all three days of the festival; be sure and get your tickets well in advance.
Some of our target birds are: Redhead, Common Merganser, Mountain Quail, nesting Sandhill Cranes, nesting Osprey, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, dancing Western and Clark’s Grebes, Wilson’s Snipe, Black Terns, Great Gray Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Vaux’s Swift, Calliope Hummingbird, Prairie Falcon, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, White-headed Woodpecker, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Vesper Sparrow, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting.