San Diego Here We Come—Important Updates!

In case you missed the news: Western Field Ornithologists’ 47th Annual Conference will be held October 9–13, in San Diego. The Dana on Mission Bay is the venue. Below you will find new information on registration and a reminder about booking your hotel stay.

Light-footed Ridgway’s Rail, the conference theme bird. Photo: Tom Blackman

Registration Schedule

Mark your calendar for the date when you can register. Before registration officially starts, we will send email reminders that will include a link to the registration website.

  • Lifetime and Patron members, along with scholarship recipients, have access to early registration on Wednesday, May 29.
  • Registration for Regular members opens on Wednesday, June 5.
  • Nonmember and guest registration opens on Wednesday, June 20.

Hotel Reservations

Reservations at The Dana are open. We’re pleased to provide you the negotiated WFO conference rate of $189 per night. To make your reservation, contact the hotel through one of the following options.

  • Call the hotel reservations department at 800-445-3339 and mention you will be attending the Western Field Ornithologists conference.


As for all WFO conferences, the field trips are being meticulously planned to provide attendees with rich birding experiences. Full-day trips will be scheduled for Thursday and Sunday, half-day trips for Friday and Saturday.

  • Discover the vibrant biodiversity of Southern California’s wetlands and coastal areas, where you can find the Light-footed Ridgway’s Rail (the conference theme species), Western Snowy Plover, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, California Gnatcatcher, and Elegant and Royal Terns.
  • Venture into the expansive Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which offers an impressive array of Colorado Desert specialties.
  • Embark on offshore pelagic trips in search of shearwaters, storm-petrels, alcids, boobies, and other birds found off San Diego’s coast in October.

Cactus Wren, a target on selected field trips. Photo: Tom Blackman

Special Events

Don’t miss the ever-popular Photo ID Panel and Sound ID Challenge.

  • Nathan Pieplow, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sound, will host this game-show-style challenge for bird identification by sound. Teams and the audience will be kept guessing and learning.
  • Ed Harper will host his ever-popular Photo ID Panel, offering images that progress from the easily identifiable to the puzzling and the vexing. As audience members ponder their own IDs, they listen to seasoned birders discuss the fine points.

Keynote Speaker

Kevin J. Burns, our keynote speaker, has been a professor at San Diego State University for 25 years. At SDSU he teaches courses in ornithology and evolutionary biology. He is also curator of the bird collection at the SDSU Biodiversity Museum. His lab, the Kevin J. Burns Lab, uses genetic data to study the systemics and population genetics of birds. The lab’s work has involved tanagers and various western species, including Bell’s Vireo, Allen’s Hummingbird, and California Thrasher. Kevin has published more than 75 scientific papers on birds and is an elective fellow of the American Ornithological Society.


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    1. Chuck–I don’t know the answer to that question. I will let John Harris, one of the coordinators, know about your query and direct him to his page.–Judith, newsletter editor

    2. Hi Chuck, Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego. To respond to your question, all the field trips will involve carpooling. Though many people will drive to the event, you might prefer the certainty of having a car there. Also, if you want to visit other sites in the area during your stay, it would be more convenient.