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2009 North American Bluebird Association (NABS) Convention

On September 9-13 2009 the North American Bluebird Society held its annual conference in Grantville Pennsylvania, hosted by the Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania. As a member of Cornell’s bluebird-L listserv group, I had read various other member’s posts about the upcoming NABS conference and it triggered my curiosity. I thought, what a wonderful way to spend a September weekend…learning more about my favorite birds and meeting others who shared my passion for them! Pennsylvania was not too far away, I reasoned, and future conferences might be at even more challenging locations to reach across the continent.

Although the conference offerings began on Thursday and Friday with a variety of bus tour choices, I decided to register for the Saturday events and a Sunday morning wildlife walk. I heard from several other attendees that the Thursday and Friday tours were enjoyable, despite the rainy weather. They had visited bluebird trails, wildlife areas, butterfly gardens, and a hawk sanctuary, among other choices such as the Hershey Chocolate factory and Gettysburg Battlefields.

On Saturday morning, the program began with a visually stimulating and entertaining narrated slideshow presentation given by Henry Schmeider on the experience of fledging bluebirds. This was followed by Gary Schimmel’s presentation on the Northern Saw Whet Owl. A buffet lunch concluded with a live auction of a wonderful assortment of bluebird-related objects, including artwork, clothing, books, knick-knacks, feeders, traps, and a variety of nest boxes, of course! The afternoon included an excellent presentation given by esteemed bluebirder, Dick Tuttle, as well as a presentation on American Kestrels. The day concluded with a banquet dinner during which awards were given and we were inspired by speaker, Jane Kirkland, who talked about her experiences with nature, both humorous and sad, and reminded us to always “Look Up!” so as not to miss the birds!

My conference experience ended on Sunday morning as I walked with new friends through some Pennsylvania wilderness, searching for birds and other wildlife. I enjoyed speaking with a few people whom I had previously only known over the internet through the bluebird-L. It was great to be able to attach a face and body to the words on the screen!

Would I attend this event again? You bet. In fact, I recently discovered that next year’s NABS conference is scheduled to be held in Ontario, not too far from Niagara Falls. That’s only about a seven hour drive from western Massachusetts…anyone else game to go?

Tamara Barbasch Edit Text