Sunday, February 25, 2007

OOS Owl Symposium, finally

For anyone who thinks that birders are stodgy, geeky, socially- inept losers:
The OOS Owl Symposium was a time for fun, for learning, for being part of a group. I spent the day surrounded by like-minded individuals who paid to sit and listen to the likes of Bill Thompson, Julie Zickefoose, David Russel and Denver Holt; they willingly walked out into the frigid air to go birding together. They were a fun, happy, pleasant, rockin' crowd and I loved every minute of it.

BT3, otherwise known as Bill Thompson III. Everyone should be so lucky to hear this loony speak to a crowd. He was hilarious.
Big Momma OOS
I brought all of our program owls: The great horned, barred and both screech owls.
Check out the nifty new perch Marc made! It's just a log with a pole stuck into it, with a cross bar of wood bracing it at the bottom. The GHO liked it, and the barred owl tolerated it for a few minutes.
David Russell OOS and Larri
David Russell and Larri (That's Larri with an "I"!)
black vultures OOS Hueston Woods
The Lodge at Hueston Woods is home to a butt-load of black and turkey vultures. They like to roost on the chimney. Those were the only birds I saw yesterday.
black and turkey vultures OOS

Zick OOS
I didn't get to spend any time at all talking with Julie, much to my disgruntlement. And Chet spent the day in their cabin, but I passed on a bag of dog treats to Julie for him.
Jim McCormac powerpoint
Jim McCormac, author of Birds of Ohio, my bible. An award was presented to the man whose picture is up on the screen, but for the life of me, I can't remember his name.
raise your hands in the air
Bill asked all the participants who got life birds that day to stand up. He then asked them to raise their hands in the air...and wave 'em like they just didn't care.
whose car is this
Hmmm...I wonder whose car this was?
Show me your life list!
That's my kind of bumper sticker.
Denver Holt
The weather took a nasty turn after dinner, but I decided to stay for Denver Holt's talk, and I am glad I did. This guy has been studying snowy owls for like a million years, and he is an extremely entertaining speaker. Imagine Joe Pesci, but a birder.

When Denver spoke his last syllable, the RAPTORites and I ran for the lobby, packed up the owls and the other education stuff and packed the cars. The Lodge is a 5 minute or less drive into the park, and it took us 30 minutes or so to get out. Snow flakes the size and weight of quarters had been falling for quite a while and it was about 4 inches deep as we set out. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
After getting to the closest town, Oxford, the snow became slush.
After getting to a highway, the slush turned to rain. Alot of rain. Rain like you have never seen.
It took over 2 hours to get home.
Now, some Sunday sketches:

Sunday sketch grumpy owl

sunday sketch OOS


LauraHinNJ said...

Missed you, Susan! Looks like quite the adventure!'

I'm really liking the Sunday Sketches - what an idea!

Rest up for more birding another day! Glad you made it home okay.

Mary said...

it so good to have you back. Even with the weather you had to deal with I'm sure it was worth the trip.

Like Laura, I'm really enjoying those Sunday sketches! They're getting getter every week :o)

NatureWoman said...

Sounds like an *awesome* symposium!! Yah Hoo! for you Susan for going and sticking out the bad weather!!! It looks like it was *soooo* worth it!!
How are your raising your arms in the air like you don't care and taking that photo at the same time - LOL!
It would be so cool to hear a soundtrack from this event.
Love that bumper sticker!!
And loving your Sunday sketches more and more!!

Endment said...

I have simply turned green all over
Your description really makes me wish I could have bee there!

Liza Lee Miller said...

What a great event! Wow! I'm going to have to get into going to some bird events from time to time. Although the white-knuckle snow/bad weather driving does not sound fun. Glad you and the owls are safe!

Lynne said...

FUN-FUN-FUN!! Wish I could have been there too. I'm glad you made it home safe! Did you get to make it to the singing gig?

vicki said...

Thank you for adding that sketch of you! Now I know what you look like! Are you sure you never did a demonstration day at Matthai Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor? Hmmm.
Well, I am jealous of the bumper sticker, the car, the symposium, the OWLS. Green with envy. But happy to have this post!

Body Soul Spirit said...

I would love to see your owls. The local owl prowls here are all between 8-10 PM on weekends...way to dark to get a good view.

Patrick Belardo said...

Sounds like an awesome day! Do they do this every year?

NatureWoman said...

BTW: What is it exactly that you want someone to bite when you say "BITE ME" I never have gotten that! I wouldn't want anyone's set of choppers near me if I didn't like them!

Susan Gets Native said...

Laura: the sketches started as something I did when I didn't have anything to blog about, and now it seems that everyone likes them! Who'da thunk?
Mary: It was worth every single snowflake!
Pam: EVERYONE should go to a birding symposium. Right now. : ) (I didn't get any life birds that day, so I was not waving them just I just don't care)
Endment: It was so great to experience. And I have another one to present at THIS weekend!
Liza: If you get a chance to go to something like this, go for it. I promise you will love it.
Lynne: I passed on the Friday night festivities, and instead got a good night sleep!
Vicki: Yeah, that sketch is perfectly representative of me.
A stick figure.
Ruth: I've gone on owl prowls and never saw a dern thing. But the symposium was in the daylight, thank goodness.
Patrick: I don't know if they do it every year, but they do lots of gatherings about other things.
Pam again: I think it's a "man" thing to say, which of course doesn't stop me from saying it. I guess you're supposed to bite, um....well, you know.

Dave said...

The imature snowy owl that's mentioned on Holt's main page is the sister snowy to mine. The rehab center in Anchorage is Bird TLC. That snowy is 8 years old now.

katdoc said...


OOS (The Ohio Ornithological Society) is about 3 years old, so they haven't done many things "every year," the only recurring thing being the annual meeting. The last 2 years it was at Shawnee State Park and Forest, this year it will be held at Mohican.

This was the first owl symposium. They did one on sparrows in the Cleveland area last fall, one at the Wilds in Muskingham County the previous winter (I think the focus there was raptors) and a program at Cedar Bog that covered botany, insects & fish, as well as birds.

OOS Symposia are awesome (I went to sparrows & Cedar Bog) and I highly recommend them. They mix up the topics and the locations in order to involve as many people as possible.

Ruth and Susan:

The secret to owling is to go with a small, quiet group, move slowly and quietly, and to use tapes (or mp3 players for you modern folks) to lure them in. (Plus, like all birding trips, you have to go where the owls are!) I have only been owling 3 times, but found owls each trip.

~Kathi, now returning you to your regular blog