Friday, February 26, 2010

Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference

If you like nature, you'll almost be certain to enjoy the upcoming Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference, to be held Wednesday, March 10 in Columbus. All of the details are HERE.

From humble beginnings some 20 years ago, the conference has blossomed into one of the largest of its kind, anywhere. Last year, over 900 people attended. It's a wonderful venue to meet other wildlife enthusiasts and hear great talks about a wide array of topics.

Angry-looking Northern Saw-whet Owl. This one was caught at a banding operation near Chillicothe spearheaded by Kelly Williams-Sieg. She'll be presenting a talk on these fascinating micro-hooters. Kelly and her team have captured hundreds, and learned some amazing things about these owls of the boreal forest.

Among many bits of more scientific information, they've also learned how to tame a savage owl. Just stroke the back of the head, just like a cat, and the owl immediately mellows. Kelly's will be a great program.

Wil Hershberger, who along with Lang Elliot authored the landmark book The Songs of Insects, will deliver the keynote program. This is a fabulous talk, richly illustrated with amazing photos of our insect songsters - katydids, crickets, coneheads and the like - and featuring the actual sounds created by the entomological symphony. The world of singing insects is fascinating, and I believe birders will become increasingly interested in this group. Most can readily be recognized by song, and they are great practice for sharp-eared birders.
The above photo is of a Broad-winged Bush Katydid, Scudderia pistillata, the "counting katydid". It truly does count!

Stan Gehrt of the Ohio State University is set to deliver a talk on skunks. Striped Skunk, above, one of the only shots that I've managed. My efforts to capture this beast on pixels made the person I was with rather nervous. But I'm told that a skunk will stamp its feet before blasting, so you'll get some warning, and this one didn't do that.

John Harder, also of OSU, will speak about Ohio's small mammals. As abundant and diverse as this group is, few people know much about them. The above is one of our more common species but I suspect few who read this have actually seen one. It's a Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda, a voracious predator that actually possesses venom that helps it to subdue lare prey. This individual is posing with my Ferrari F-40; you can read about that bit of nonsense RIGHT HERE if so inclined.

And there's more, much more. GO HERE for registration info, and I'll hope to see you there.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Thanks for reminding me about this conference. I read about it a while back, but then forgot about it. Hopefully I can get the day off from work on short notice - I would love to attend!