Zoom Programs Excite Young Birders

Biologist Bob Gill, a member of the March panel, talked about the many disciplines, the “ologies,” he studied in college.

What helps chase away the winter blues? Zoom presentations about birds!

To continue our connection and engagement with young birders, WFO hosted four free Zoom programs for young birders and students this winter. The presentations provided insight into career paths and different avenues in the wildlife, science, and conservation fields. The 40 participants were from California, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.

In January, Eleanor Diamant, PhD candidate at UCLA, discussed her journey in ornithology, research on the Dark-eyed Junco in southern California cities, and graduate student experience, as well as future career goals. Also in January, we had a very engaging presentation from Liberty Wildlife in Phoenix, Arizona, about using live birds in education, avian identification, and the importance of a non-eagle feather repository for use by Native American communities.

During a January Zoom, Eleanor Diamant answered a question about the changing population of the Dark-eyed Junco in the Los Angeles area.

In February, a panel of four student scholars—Calvin Bonn, Lara Tseng, Blythe Wilde, and Fianna Wilde—shared their experiences and interests and offered their ideas about getting involved in birding. In March, we had a professional scientist panel with Dan Airola, Jon Dunn, Bob Gill, and Colleen Handel, who discussed their pathways in their respective fields and gave advice for the next generation interested in a conservation career. Three of the programs were recorded.

What’s next for WFO’s young birders? Zoom participants have been surveyed to see what future presentations would interest them. We anticipate resuming the Zoom programs this fall.

Note that we have fun activities planned for the summer 2023 conference in Colorado! Do you know young birders who are interested in the Colorado conference? If you do or have questions about the summer conference activities, contact me

—Maci MacPherson

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