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SOUTHEAST ARIZONA BIRDING FESTIVAL | August 7–11, 2019 | Tucson, AZ

Events – Workshops, Free Talks & Evening Programs

 

SOLD OUT Keynote Presentation and Banquet: Saturday, August 11

6:00—8:30 pm, $75/person

The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding with Bill Thompson III

A humorous narrative about the many mistakes, accidents, and embarrassing situations Bill Thompson III, has experienced in his 30+ years as a bird watcher. He urges the audience to avoid these same perils and pitfalls and even offers tips for how to do so. This light-hearted talk pokes fun at how we bird watchers have our own language, dress code, and food preferences. It’s guaranteed to generate laughs or Bill will clean the binoculars of everyone present.

Bill Thompson III (or BT3 as he is better known) is a lifelong birder, the co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest (BWD), and the author of many books on birds and nature. He’s been on the editorial team of BWD since May 1988, and during that time has watched birds in 49 U.S. states (still missing Hawaii) and more than 40 countries. Bill enjoys a huge following on social media and creates and hosts two podcasts: “This Birding Life,” which gets more than 750,000 episode downloads annually and “Out There With the Birds,” which he co-hosts with Ben Lizdas.

He is the former president and a founding board member of the Ohio Ornithological Society, and also serves on the board of directors for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. He is devoted to introducing kids to nature and birding and considers his Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America to be his proudest professional achievement.

Bill loves showing people birds and does so regularly at birding festivals, where he is a popular keynote speaker, guide, and musical performer. He is also the creator of two events for birders: Reader Rendezvous (birding weekends for Bird Watcher’s Digest subscribers) and the American Birding Expo (a commercial event connecting North American birders to the worldwide birding marketplace).

In his spare time, Bill writes music and performs with his country-rock band, The Rain Crows. His favorite North American bird is the red-headed woodpecker.

Free events below require a separate registration. Paid events require registration on the main Festival form.

 

Free Events

 

Zeiss Sponsored: Easy Digiscoping with Carl Zeiss Sports Optics at Reid Park

10:00am – 11:00am
Free.
Register here
Learn about simple ways to use a spotting scopes to take beautiful images of the natural word! Includes us of both smart phones and mirrorless camera systems. We will also take a look at post processing of your images.

Getting Started with eBird – Making eBird easy! with Jennie Macfarland

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Free.
Register here
eBird, the free online birding tool, is changing the face of modern birding. The goal of this internet-based checklist system is to harness the power of both birding and science. It allows you to keep track of your bird records online and share them with the birding community, while making them available for science and conservation efforts. eBird allows birders to post sightings, keep life lists, manage their personal records and has amazing output maps and features. This workshop will teach you what eBird is and why it’s important that you contribute, show you what it can do for you as a birder, and teach you how to get started. Join Jennie MacFarland, Tucson Audubon’s Bird Conservation Biologist, and get empowered to make your observations count!

Paid Workshops

Museum Birding: From the Specimen Drawer to the Field with Rick Wright

  • 10:00 am – 12:00pm
  • $25/person
    How do we birders know the things we think we know? Where do “field marks” come from? And what on earth do all those dead birds on their backs in wooden drawers have to do with our hobby as we practice it in the 21st century? Join Rick Wright for a two-hour workshop exploring the intimate connections between museum specimens and conservation, research, and, yes, recreational birding. We will discover how collections are formed and maintained, and learn about the sometimes surprising results when old specimens are brought to bear on new problems. After this introduction to the enduring value of natural history collections, Rick will discuss a number of the Southwest’s rarest and most challenging birds, illustrating his remarks with representative specimens from among the more than 18,000 held by the University of Arizona. Along with stories of collecting adventure, daring, and even foolishness, workshop participants will come away with new knowledge they can use in the field—and a new respect for the sources of that knowledge, sources that lie on their backs in wooden drawers. Van will leave DoubleTree at 9:45am or meet on-site. 12 person limit.

Hummingbird Photography Class with Steve Vaughan

  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm
  • $25/person
    Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, which can present quite the challenge for a photographer. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the specialized techniques needed to create stunning images of hummingbirds. We will cover ambient light, fill-flash and high-speed flash photography techniques. Join professional nature photographer Steve Vaughan for this fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of photographing these flying jewels. Recommended equipment: Digital SLR, TTL flash, tripod and a telephoto lens capable of focusing close enough the fill the viewfinder with a 5 x 7 inch object.
    You can email Steve at StephenHVaughan@Gmail.com if you have questions. No participant limit for this class, but separate field trip is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

Evening Event

Nightlife Social

  • 5:00pm-7:00pm
  • $5/person

Free Events

Monsoon Mysteries with Sandy Reith of Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation

12:30pm – 1:30pm
Free. Register here.

Explore the interesting events that occur during the monsoon, including weather phenomena and how plants and animals respond to them. We also discuss the outlook for this year’s monsoon.
Sandy Reith has worked for Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation as an environmental educator since 2007. Prior to that, she worked for the Phoenix Zoo in their Education Department for 27 years and at the Arizona Game and Fish Department for 13 years, where she worked in the Education Branch. Sandy studied meteorology and climatology at ASU and worked for the National Weather Service. Her current job responsibilities include developing and delivering environmental education programs and leading hikes and nature walks in Pima County Parks.

How to Choose an International Birding Tour with David Pearson

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Free.
Register here
Based on the book he co-authored, “Global Birding”, and published by National Geographic Society, Dave Pearson will give accounts of his favorite birding site on each continent and then lead a discussion on the pros and cons of choosing a tour company, local guides or going it on your own in the quest to see your world life list soar.

The Exciting Night Life of Bats with Karen Krebbs

3:30pm – 4:30pm
Free.
Register here
Karen has studied bats for more than 30 years.  Learn about this exciting and unique nocturnal mammal and how it is so successful as a predator and pollinator.  There are more than 1,100 species of bats that occur worldwide.  Bats are an important part of our ecosystems and deserve our respect and admiration.  Echolocation allows a bat to fly in total darkness to locate, chase, and capture flying insects.  Bridges and other human structures are important roost habitat for many species of bats.  Nectar bats visit and pollinate columnar cactus and succulents in our area.  Also learn about the threats to bats and how we can help.  A live bat will be presented at the end of the lecture. (Use main festival registration to register for “Going Batty” field trip)

Moths: A Hidden World of Nocturnal Diversity with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

4:00pm – 5:00pm
Free.
Register here
Moths are often dismissed as drab creatures whose caterpillars devour our gardens and sweaters.  While some species do exhibit bad habits, the truth is that moths are incredibly diverse, abundant, and easy to observe.  Many moths are strikingly patterned and stunningly beautiful, refuting the idea that these insects are unattractive.  This workshop is an introduction to the vibrant, beautiful, and surprising world of moths. (Use main festival registration for “Moth” field trip)

When Science and Art Collide with Daniel Grayson

5:00pm – 6:00pm
Free.
Register here
Daniel Grayson’s “When Science and Art Collide” is a comprehensive presentation showing the use of scientific methods and photography to catalog the behaviors of animals found near and far. Dano has spent a lifetime getting close to nature and having worked on projects with the government of Peru, San Diego Zoo, and USGS and has been allowed access to some of the most wild places. The pictures shown during this presentation are an archive of adventure travel and science and he hopes to show the world the beauty of biodiversity through the use of his non-invasive photography methods. More information on Daniel and sample images from this presentation can be found at http://www.danograyson.com/

Paid Workshops

Stop Documenting. Start Creating Beautiful Bird & Wildlife Images! with Lisa Langell

  • 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • $25/person
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to Advanced Photographer
    How can we think differently about nature and wildlife photography? How can we be innovative at a time when wildlife photography has virtually exploded to a point where nearly every subject seems over-photographed?
    Via an engaging, interactive and dynamic session, Lisa Langell will share her inspirational thoughts, guidance, and techniques regarding the purpose, composition, and inspiration behind both how and why we photograph nature—and how we can do so in more creative, purposeful, artistic, and fulfilling ways. Limited to 30 participants.

LBJs: Little Brown Jobbers with Homer Hansen

  • 1:30pm – 3:00pm
  • $25/person
    Our skulky sparrows come to life during the monsoon season in southeast Arizona, and species such as Botteri’s, Cassin’s and Grasshopper’s can be identified readily if you are familiar with their appearance and vocalizations. This workshop will introduce you to the breeding sparrows of our region, along with their habitat, identification characteristics, and songs. Take this workshop and then accompany Homer into the field on Saturday for a special sparrow field trip. No participant limit for workshop, but field trip is limited to 9 participants and you must sign up separately.

Transitioning into Bird and Nature Photography with Lisa Langell

  • 2:00pm – 3:30pm
  • $25/person
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner Photographer
    As an increasing number of birders and nature enthusiasts are turning to photography, the choices can be overwhelming for gear and accessories. This session will introduce the main categories of cameras available, as well as the pros and cons of each type of camera—from point-and-shoots, DSLR and mirrorless cameras—and even digiscoping. You’ll learn the basic terminology and how to determine your needs so that you select what’s right for you. Tips for selecting tripods, tripod heads, and truly helpful accessories will also be provided—all with a practical, budget-minded perspective so that you get what you need without overbuying gadgetry. Limited to 30 participants.

Evening Event

Birders Happy Hour

  • 6:00pm-7:30pm
  • $20/person
    Includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and free drink ticket. Share your favorite birding stories with old and new friends!

Youth Event

Carl Zeiss Sports Optics Sponsored: Youth Birding Outing at Sweetwater Wetlands with Luke Tiller and Bill Thompson III of Bird Watcher’s Digest

  • 7:00am-9:30am
  • Free, please register here (separately from paid events)
    Get ready for a fun and easy walk through Tucson’s favorite wetlands to see exciting species like Green Heron hiding in the reeds and Tropical Kingbirds in the mesquites. Birders ages 6 – 17 and of all experience levels are welcome to participate in an expert-led trip! Binoculars will be available to use, courtesy of Zeiss Sports Optics. Limited to 30 participants.

Free Events

Hawaii’s Birds on the Brink with Mandy Talpas
11:30am – 12:30pm
Free. Register here.

Hawaii is a world renowned paradise and natural wonderland with lush rainforests, tropical coral reefs, snow capped summits, and barren lava flows. Among Hawaii’s diverse habitats are some of the most unique and rare birds in the world. Although Hawaii once boasted over 140 endemic birds, only 44 remain, 33 of them are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, and 10 of them haven’t been seen in decades. Mandy Talpas, a local guide and conservationist, invites you to learn about Hawaii’s beautiful birds battling extinction and the projects in place to help save them.

The Azure Bluebirds and Elf Owls of Birdland Ranch…Notes from our Nest Box Trail with Kate Scott

12:00pm – 1:00pm
Free. Register here.

Please join Kate as she shares her field notes and Tony’s photographs of their cavity nest box trail adventures! Share in their love and fascination of Azure Bluebirds, Elf Owls, Acorn Woodpeckers, Ash-throated and Dusky-capped Flycatchers and other cavity-nesters that have fledged their families for over 18 years at Birdland Ranch! Kate Scott is a certified veterinary technician, wildlife preservationist, and environmental educator working from her heart and spirit to help guide the community to live in right relationship with our wild neighbors. She is co-founder with her husband Tony Heath, of the nonprofit Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center (https://www.mawcenter.org) with a mission of compassionate coexistence between people and wildlife. Kate and Tony live lightly on Mother Earth with their four-leggeds;Tom, Frida, and Billie at Birdland Ranch Wildlife Conservation Area in the western Huachuca mountains.

Beginning Birding Basics Workshop with Bill Thompson III of Bird Watcher’s Digest
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Free. Register here.
Getting started in bird watching can seem like a daunting prospect to a new birder. But that’s where your fellow bird watchers can help you.We’ve arranged to have one of the most helpful birders on the planet with us at the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival—Bill Thompson, III (or BT3 as we call him). Bill has been helping people get into birding for more than 30 years. In fact he’s been called “The Pied Piper of Birding” for his enthusiasm at welcoming new bird watchers to the hobby. In this informal workshop he’ll share the basic things you need, some super-easy tips for getting the most out of your birding, basic bird identification short cuts, and he’ll be ready to answer all of your bird questions. Participants will receive a free copy of Birding Basics & Beyond published by Bird Watcher’s Digest.

Black Bears in the Sky Islands with Mark Hart

1:30pm – 2:30pm
Free. Register here.

Mark Hart of the Arizona Game & Fish Department will share about bear populations in the Sky Island mountain ranges around Tucson.

A Community Meets a River: The Colorado River Delta Restoration Project with Gabriela Gonzalez Olimon

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Free. Register here

A primary goal of the Sonoran Institute Colorado River Delta Program is to restore riparian, marsh, and estuarine ecosystems in the Colorado River Delta region located in Northwest Mexico; however, we recognize that community engagement and education is critical to long-term restoration success and stewardship of restored ecosystems. We conduct restoration not only to promote the recovery of species and ecosystems, but to revive and strengthen the connection between communities and their environment.
Gabriela is the Environmental Education Coordinator for the Colorado River Delta Program at Sonoran Institute Mexico, A.C. in the Mexicali, Baja California. Since joining in 2015, Gaby focuses on promoting ecological restoration in communities near the Delta, coordinating school and community presentations and workshops, guiding interpretive walks in our restoration sites and developing the environmental education program. She holds a BS in Biology from Autonomus University of Baja California and has implemented environmental education programs in Baja California, Grand Canyon National Park, and in an ecology school in Maine. While exploring forests and deserts and climbing rocks for fun, she became passionate about fuzzy and feathered creatures from an early age. She also has experience in wildlife monitoring, especially the endangered California condor and bats. Gaby aims to inspire youth to be out in nature, she loves exploring new places and cooking.

Paid Workshops

Tamron Sponsors — Lecture and Hands on Tips from the Wildlife Experts!

  • 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • $10/person
  • Join wildlife photographer, Lisa Langell, and falconer Kalen Pearson, of Falcon Force, for close-up images of raptors and hands-on photography tips. Tamron will be loaning lenses so please bring your camera body to get some great images!

Introducing Point & Shoot Nature Photography: Birds and Wildlife, Macro and Landscape with Stephen Ingraham

  • 12:30pm – 2:00pm
  • $10/person
  • Register through the main registration form
  • Serious nature photography is no longer the sole domain of the well-equipped DSLR photographer. As thousands of photographers have discovered over the past few years, today’s long zoom Point and Shoot digital cameras, in the hands of a thoughtful and creative photographer, are capable of amazingly satisfying images of everything from birds and wildlife, to macros of wildflowers and insects, to grand landscapes and sweeping panoramas under dramatic skies…all in a relatively small, compact, and inexpensive package. This workshop provides a basic introduction to the cameras (including how to choose the best one for your needs) and techniques that put nature photography within the reach of anyone with the desire to share what they appreciate in the natural world. Part inspiration and part instruction, it will change the way you look at nature photography…and convince you that it is indeed possible to be a “real” nature photographer with a Point & Shoot camera. Limit of 20 registrants.

Peaking Down The Rabbit Hole: A Beginner’s Look at Dragonflies and Damselflies in southeast Arizona

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • $10/person
  • Register through the main registration form
    Have you been curious about dragonflies but mystified by the challenge of identifying them? Join Chris Benesh and Laurens Halsey for a workshop aimed at providing a foundation for how to go about identifying these challenging arthropods. This will be followed by a Sunday field trip aimed at examining some of the odonate diversity found around Southeast Arizona. No participant limit for workshop, but field trip is limited to 9 participants and you must sign up separately.

SOLD OUT Learn to Photograph Raptors in Flight – A Rare Opportunity with Lisa Langell and Kalen Pearson sponsored by Tamron

  • 7:00am – 10:00am
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate Photographer.
  • Off-site Location: Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Road in Tucson)
  • *Tamron will have optics to loan so please bring a camera body

We are excited to offer a very rare and exciting opportunity for photographing numerous raptors in flight.  Two talented women — professional wildlife photographer Lisa Langell (Scottsdale, AZ) and professional falconer, Kalen Pearson (Scottsdale, AZ) are teaming up to bring you a birds-in-flight experience unlike anything we have offered before!  Both Lisa and Kalen have been avid bird watchers since they were children.  They share a passion, respect and love for our feathered friends and are excited to help you capture special in-flight images during this event.

While Lisa provides you with helpful instruction, Kalen will fly numerous types of raptors to photograph as they take off, are in-flight, and are landing in semi-controlled, yet natural settings. In addition to refining your photography skills, you will learn fascinating facts about each raptor species flown. Kalen will also explain the truths, myths, purpose, and ethics and more with regard to contemporary falconry. For example, did you know that these birds are regularly used as a more natural alternative for pest abatement? This practice helps avoid the use of harmful pesticides, guns, traps and other noise deterrents. Lastly, Kalen and Lisa will also help you understand specific behaviors unique to each bird that will help you predict their movements and increase your accuracy when photographing them during the event and in-the-wild. Using the right settings for your camera, lens, and even the right technique for both hand-holding and tripod use are critical to the successful photography of birds-in-flight. If you struggle with this challenging aspect of bird photography, this is the perfect class for you.
Limited to 12 participants.

Prerequisite skills:  Familiarity with manual settings, including how to use Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, ISO and full manual. Information will be provided in advance of this class for you to download and review as a “pre-session” assignment.  This will help you prepare for your in-the-field class.

Recommended equipment:

  • Please bring your camera’s manual (in digital or paper form)
  • Camera body: DSLR or Mirrorless cameras.  (Bridge and point-and-shoot cameras are welcome; however, not all recommended options/settings may be available within your specific model of camera.)
  • Lenses:  Please bring one or more of the following types of lenses that have at least 300mm of reach.  Examples include, but are not limited to: 100-400mm, 300mm, 500mm, 150-600mm, etc.
  • Please bring your camera’s manual
  • Tripods are not required, but are recommended.  A ball-head or gimbal head is also recommended; however, we will have samples for you to test/try.

Evening Event

SOLD OUT Keynote Presentation* and Banquet

  • 6:00pm–8:30pm

$75/person
*details at top of page

Free Events

The Role of Citizen Science in an Ever-Changing Sonoran Desert with Sarah Whelan

10:30am – 11:30am
Free. Register here
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection has been applying citizen science to monitor wildlife corridors in Pima County for the past five years. Currently, the Coalition is collaborating with Arizona Game and Fish Department’s post-construction monitoring efforts of the SR77 wildlife crossings by leading a pre- and post-construction wildlife camera participatory research monitoring study, focusing primarily on mammal species. To date, the Coalition has collected three years of pre-construction data and two years of post-construction data, with 48 cameras deployed throughout the linkage, including 11 cameras at the wildlife crossing approaches, monitored and managed by 62 citizen science volunteers.

Sarah Whelan is the Program and Operations Manager for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection and leads their citizen science efforts with remote wildlife camera monitoring throughout Pima County. In addition to their work with the Coalition, Whelan also volunteers for various organizations in Tucson and can be found most days riding around on their bike taking in the murals of Tucson.

Safe Birding in Rattlesnake Country with Michael Cardwell
11:00am – 12:00pm
Free. Register here.
Bird watchers spend a lot of time looking up! But failing to watch your step in southeastern Arizona can be particularly hazardous. Southern Arizona is the biodiversity hotspot for rattlesnakes in the United States, with not just lots of species but lots of snakes, too. Crazy myths about rattlesnakes abound yet some simple precautions combined with a basic understanding of rattlesnake behavior and proper first aid for a rattlesnake bite can make your outdoor excursions safer and more enjoyable. Mike Cardwell, an adjunct researcher with San Diego State University, is a well-recognized authority on rattlesnakes and their bites. He has studied rattlesnakes for decades, including several radio-telemetry studies of wild rattlesnakes and experimental investigations of first aid measures. In addition to many other publications, he authored the Mohave Rattlesnake chapter for the 2016 book Rattlesnakes of Arizona and served on the expert panel that recently revised treatment guidelines for pitviper bites in the United States. Mike will discuss how to safely identify venomous snakes in Arizona, how to avoid their bites and proper first aid for someone who is bitten.

The “HOME” side of Habitat–Build a Nestbox or Bee-Keep!

11:30am – 1:00pm
Free. Register here.
A place to live and raise young is a critical component of habitat. Improve the value of your Habitat at Home by creating homes for species that can’t create their own. You’ll have the opportunity to choose from a variety of different species for which you can build either a nestbox for cavity nesting birds or a bee-keep for native solitary (stingless!) bees. We’ll have kits, instructors, and instructions to help you successfully create a new home for the following species: kestrels, flycatchers, bluebirds, Elf Owls, titmice, Lucy’s Warblers, and native solitary birds. Instruction is free, but the nestboxes will bought for a minimal fee, unless you would like to build and donate to our restoration work.

Paid Workshops

Stunning Portrait Photography:  Raptors with Lisa Langell and Kalen Pearson sponsored by Tamron

  • 7:00am – 10:00am
  • $50/person
  • Difficulty Level: All skill levels and cameras are welcome—even smart phones!
  • *Tamron will have optics to loan so please bring a camera body
  • It is rare to have the opportunity to photograph raptors at close range, but this year’s festival will provide you with a truly special opportunity to do so!  We are offering a special session focused on to photograph numerous raptors– close-up and personal!  Two talented women — professional wildlife photographer Lisa Langell (Scottsdale, AZ) and professional falconer, Kalen Pearson (Scottsdale, AZ) are teaming up to help you take excellent images of these birds with any camera – including your smart phone!

 

30 Secrets to Bird Photography for Anyone from Beginner to Pro with Scott Bourne of Olympus

  • 10:00am – 11:30am
  • $25/person
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to Advanced Photographer
    Olympus Visionary Scott Bourne will (in rapid-fire manner) roll through AT LEAST 30 secrets to bird photography that will help anyone who’s interested in avian photos. Everything from when and where to shoot, gear selection, technique and composition will be discussed. Even brand new bird photographers will be able to pick up great tips from this class.

Science of Optics with Marc Morris of Tamron

  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • $10/person
  • A discussion on modern lens design. We’ll be talking about how the demands of digital changed photographic lens design and, further, how today’s high resolution sensors continue that paradigm shift. We’ll go over autofocus systems and their foibles, stabilization and its importance, how to read MTF charts at a glance (further enabling understanding such sites as DxO and Olaf) while also putting those charts in their place when considering a lens’s actual use in the real world. Bokeh, crop factor equivalence, transmission, rendering… the hope is that you’ll have a better understanding of lenses not just as angles of coverage and depth of field but also as crafted tools in and of themselves… and how that craft can affect the beginnings of your creative process, as well as the nuances of your final output.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received on or before July 1, 2018 will be refunded less a 10% processing fee. No refunds will be issued after July 1. Tucson Audubon reserves the right to cancel or revise any event for any reason. If it becomes necessary to cancel a paid event (field trip or dinner) for which you have a reservation, we will notify you and issue a full refund. No refunds will be issued for no-shows.

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

color_square_face_right

Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447