Man! What a great, WILD week. It all started last Saturday at the 8th annual Adams County Amish Bird Symposium and finished at another wild adventure this past Wednesday at the Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference in Columbus. Do yourself a favor and make time to attend some of the amazing educational opportunities offered around our great state.
Adams County (OH) Amish Bird Symposium
As I’ve joked before: the birds are not Amish. However many in the Amish community near West Union are serious bird watchers. If you are a bird watcher, you will want to mark your calendar for October 14 – the day the movie “The Big Year” (with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson) will open. One of the people who the book of the same title is based on is Greg Miller. He was our first speaker and shared some of his experiences from his “Big Year” – when birders attempt to spot the largest number of observed species of birds in one year: hence the name, The Big Year. It sounds like a hoot and may be something akin to “City Slickers” but based in the birding world.
Among the other speakers, some highlights include Jim Berry, Director of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and author Scott Weidensaul’s program, “Living on the Wind: The Miracle of Bird Migration.” Migration is an amazing miracle indeed. Of course, the wonderful Amish-made doughnuts and lunch are a bonus.
Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference
This was my first time attending this amazing conference at the expansive Aladin Shriner’s Complex in Columbus – with around 1000 of my wildlife-minded friends! Oh, my! We heard from experts on many subjects including: Sandhill Cranes, Spiny and Smooth Softshell Turtles, Steelhead Trout, Masssauga Rattlesnakes, Freshwater Mussels and – wait for it – Eastern Hellbenders. What is a Hellbender? It is the rare stream-dwelling salamander that can grow to reach 29 inches. A creepy name to be sure but one of the indicator species of clean and healthy streams. Though I don’t have a picture of a Hellbender you’ll have to make-do with the timber rattlesnake who was on display. Doug Wynn, the herpetologist who is handling the snake above, was the surprised recipient of the 2011 Wildlife Diversity Conservation Award.
Bald Eagle nest cam 24/7
Here’s a cool link to a live webcam of a Bald Eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. There are three eggs in the nest that measures 5-6′ across by 5-6′ deep. It is estimated that the nest weighs over a ton. It’s mesmerizing.
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