Mark your calendars in ink for the weekend of February 15th thru the 17th. The Ohio Ornithological Society is putting on a conference that's all about those wisest of birds, the owls. The venue? The fabulous Mohican State Park lodge, nestled in the thick of a 5,000-acre forest full of wonderful birds. GO HERE for details about the Owls of North America Symposium.
Our keynote speaker hails from the west, just like this owl. Denver Holt is director and founder of the Owl Research Institute and one of the world's foremost experts on owls. He is a dynamic speaker, and a hoot to listen to. The chance to hear Denver is worth the price of admission alone. His subject is awesome - Snowy Owls, Bubo scandiacus, and his work with them on their home turf, the high Arctic of Alaska.
Gail Laux of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary will be on hand and giving a lecture about the various Ohio owls and their amazing anatomy and habits. She'll have props, too - live owls that the Sanctuary has taken in, but which can't be released due to injuries. In addition to up close and personal owl encounters, we'll also be out-of-doors and finding wild owls, in addition to all manner of other birds, As you probably know, this has been a bonanza year for crossbills, and the hemlock-choked Mohican Gorge usually has them.
Bob Placier and Tom Bartlett, who have banded hundreds of saw-whets between them, will give a program about their fascinating work with eastern North America's smallest owl. As a major perk, they'll set up nets and try to capture saw-whets on Saturday night.
There's much more, including live music by the inestimable band of birders, the Rain Crows, on Friday night. These symposia are a lot of fun, and a great chance to learn, see lots of birds, and meet lots of like-minded people. Even if you live in far-flung places such as Uzbekistan or West Virginia, I'd encourage you to make this scene.
Registration and all of the other details are RIGHT HERE. Hope to see you there!