Skip to main content

Amish Bird Symposium

Last Saturday marked the 7th annual Amish Bird Symposium, held in Adams County, one of Ohio's most special places. And what is an "Amish Bird", anyway? Well, there is a sizable Amish community in the area where the conference is held, and that led to the name.

I've been to all but one of these, and can vouch for what a great event it is. This year, we broke in the brand new community center, filling it with some 300 bird enthusiasts. The organizers - The Nature Conservancy, Cincinnati Museum, Roman Mast, and Tom Cross of the county visitor's bureau - do a wonderful job. The main focus is speakers, and there's always a good lineup.

Lots of exhibitors, too. This is the Ohio Ornithological Society's towering display, and that's board member Ann Oliver (2nd from right) working the crowd. She does excellent work for the organization, and is the driving force behind our newsletter, the Cerulean.

Keynote this year was the inimitable Don Kroodsma, author of The Singing Life of Birds. Don knows bird song like a second language, and his programs are punctuated with plenty of examples of song. He makes people completely rethink the wonders behind even the most commonly heard melodies such as the Song Sparrow.

Ed Schlabach led off with a great talk about rare birds, especially in his native Holmes County, which is becoming the rarity capital of Ohio. Thane Maynard of the Cincinnati Zoo gave a nice talk about formerly rare birds on the road to recovery, and legendary photographer Ron Austing shared many of his incredible bird images. Closing us out was Chuck Jakubchak, who gave an informative program on bird nests.

Be sure and put this event on your calendar for next year. You won't be disappointed.
As we do every year, much of the group went to nearby Adams Lake afterwards, to see what we could see. Not much this year, as ice still crusted much of the lake. Nevertheless, good studies were had of Ring-necked Ducks, a Canvasback and Redhead, and Green-winged Teal, among others. The strident notes of returning Killdeer filled the air, and Turkey Vultures heading north to Hinckley soared overhead.

I stayed overnight, and the next day some of us went on a much more adventurous field trip. We found some really interesting stuff, and I'll be posting about those discoveries soon.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…