25th Annual Central Valley Birding Symposium

2021 Virtual Symposium Summary

25th CVBC Symposium Logo

We all held our breaths as Jen Hajj, event coordinator and Zoom Master Supreme, nodded to David Yee and said, “we’re live”.  But with over 180 people registered, this first-ever virtual Symposium format proved to be a successful event.  Our thanks to everyone who attended, participated in, and generously donated to the Bird Club.  We are all hoping to be able to return to a live format next year, but COVID provided us with an opportunity to explore a new way to connect with club members.

David’s opening remarks kicked off the 2-day program, and it was then that it started to feel like a real symposium.   Following David, Ed Pandolfino, the lead author of Sacramento County Breeding Birds A Tale of Two Atlases and Three Decades of Change, presented the findings of this beautiful addition to breeding bird atlases.  Board member Lily Douglas, past president Chris Conard, and founding Club member Tim Manolis co-authored the atlas.  This was the Club’s second special publication in the last year, possible due to member support of the Publication Fund.   To catch all of us up on the latest taxonomic news, Jon Dunn spoke while Laura Tseng’s beautifully designed presentation played out on the screen.  To top off the evening, keynote speaker Rosemary Mosco, the Bird and Moon cartoonist and environmental educator, gave a funny and informative presentation on birds, birding…and pigeons.  Become a delighted aficionado of a maligned bird after you read her latest book A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching.

Throughout the event, we were able to catch up with the young birders who went to camp with CVBC scholarship grants.  They described their experiences in eight delightful short videos.  They are a not-to-be-missed experience.

Bird Camp Stories: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIaZ-bdggPhGLRlt5YAN_XWtWkdDc7EU9

Saturday kicked off with Ed Harper presenting tricky ID challenges to three new Bird ID panelists:  Linda Pittman, Emmett Iverson, and Lynette Williams.  Jon Dunn added the expert’s touch to identifications.  The symposium reviews indicated that this was one of the hits of the program.  

Sacramento resident Paul Miller gave an inspiring presentation on adaptive technology for birders with limited mobility.  Paul is a member of the Club’s new accessibility committee and is the local representative for Birdability.  Dan Airola again put together a fast-paced and interesting update on conservation and research efforts in the Central Valley.  We heard about Great-tailed Grackle behavior and expansion, a review of the role of the Central Valley Joint Venture in conservation, and Yellow-billed Magpies in urban Sacramento.  The last presentation was partially funded by the Club’s new Conservation Committee grant to college student research.  That project looked at the expansion of Blue-winged Teal in the CV with a review of historical records and with GPS telemetry.  Your contributions to the Conservation Committee made that grant and future grants to student research possible.  Rich Cimino gave us a brief introduction to the birds of New Mexico, and Keith Hansen gave us a delightful preview of his new Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada.  The keynote address was given by a great friend of the symposium, Kimball Garrett.  Kimball reviewed the last 50 years of field ornithology in California from both a personal and a professional perspective in a thoughtful and informative way.

And so came to an end the 25th anniversary of the Central Valley Birding Symposium.  Again, the committee wants to thank all of you who put it together, participated as speakers, and watched at home.  Your generous support to the Club’s committees enables all of us to contribute to conservation, publication of Central Valley Birds, and send more deserving young birders to national camps.  

Those who registered were emailed the links to the recorded sessions, and they will be available to everyone in 9 months.

See you live next year (we hope)!

2021 Central Valley Birding Symposium Committee:

David Yee, Pat Bacchetti, Susie Nishio, Frances Oliver, Linda Pittman, Lily Douglas, Cliff Hawley, and Chris Conard.