Mass Audubon Birders Meeting

A tradition in the New England birding community since 1992

Mass Audubon Birder's Meeting

Every March, birders from around New England have come together to attend Mass Audubon's annual Birders Meeting. With the help of supportive sponsors, we have successfully brought together engaging speakers from around the country, been joined by top-notch vendors, and drawn enthusiastic participants to these full-day events. 

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29th Annual Birders Meeting

The Bird Next Door: Birding Your Patch

March 7, 8, 14, & 15 • Online Event

Hummingbird at a marigold flower © Christine St. Andre
Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Christine St. Andre

Simply put, "patch birding" means focusing your efforts on one local area to develop a deep knowledge of the place and its birds. Your patch can be your yard, your neighborhood, the swamp down the street, your apartment balcony, or any place you visit regularly.

Patch birding is taking off because it helps us focus closely and see birds in a new light. It can also lead to exciting discoveries, from easily-overlooked hotspots to unreported patterns in species migrations and distribution. Patch birding also reinforces the value of parks and greenspaces, and, perhaps most importantly, reduces climate-altering CO2 emissions from travel.

This year's speakers will discuss the value of bird-friendly neighborhoods and yards, native plants and the bird-insect connection, strategies for birding a patch and new ways of looking at familiar subjects, and birding in urban landscapes. Each of the four sessions will consist of a live, online presentation followed by a Q&A.


Since this is our first-ever virtual Birders Meeting, things will run a bit differently than in past years. Instead of registering for one all-day event, you can choose to sign up for individual sessions or the whole series. 

Learn more about this year's speakers.

Schedule & Speakers

Sunday, March 7 • 7:00-8:30 pm ET


Mass Audubon President David O'Neill will kick off this year’s Birders Meeting with a short presentation on Mass Audubon’s impressive history in conservation and his vision for the organization going forward.

The Value of Birding Your Patch

with Heather Wolf, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Join birder, author, and photographer Heather Wolf as she shares her ongoing urban patch birding adventure under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, where she has documented over 170 bird species over the years. Learn about the surprises that await us in under-birded locations, including urban and suburban greenspaces, and how patch birding is one of the best ways to sharpen our bird identification skills and grow our knowledge of the natural world. Heather will also discuss the positive impacts of patch birding and how it raises awareness in our communities and beyond.

Heather Wolf is a New York City-based birder and author of Birding at the Bridge, which you can buy online from the Mass Audubon Shop. She works for Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a web developer for sites including eBird, BirdCast, and Birds of the World. Learn more >

Monday, March 8 • 7:30-8:30 pm ET

A Sense of Place

with Susannah Lerman, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station

For many of us, we had our first experiences with the natural world in our backyards and neighborhood parks. These natural history sparks often ignite a life-long appreciation for birds and other wildlife. And further, experiences with backyard birds can strengthen our sense of place and connection with nature, both vital for our health and well-being. I will present research on how aesthetics (e.g., color and bird song) influence human-wildlife interactions and how public interest of backyard birds compares with ecological dynamics in residential landscapes. Increasing people's experiences with iconic species with distinctive physical appearances can improve public attitudes and potentially support for conservation initiatives.

Susannah Lerman is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. Her research emphasis is on private lands, which provide opportunities for the public to participate in science, conservation, and shared stewardship. Learn more >

Sunday, March 14 • 7:30-8:30 pm ET

Nature's Best Hope

with Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware

Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can—and must—take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature's best hope.

Doug Tallamy is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He has authored several award-winning books including Bringing Nature Home, Nature's Best Hope, and The Nature of Oaks (his latest)—all of which you can buy online from the Mass Audubon Shop. Learn more >

Monday, March 15 • 12:00-1:00 pm ET

Birding at the Speed of Slow

with Scott Edwards, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

How we bird, and how we move through the landscape, is as important as what we bird. More so than racing to see rare species blown temporarily off course, birding at a slow pace allows us to enjoy common birds in the context of their environment. There is a deeper joy—especially in these challenging times—in revisiting the common birds of our immediate surroundings. Birding a local patch repeatedly or moving slowly through seasons and soundscapes allows us to see details of song, behavior and migration that reveal birds' annual cycles—when and how their lives change over time. Birding by foot, kayak or bicycle allows us to appreciate the feathered extraordinary in the slow-paced mundane.

Scott Edwards is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. A lifelong birder, he has a long-standing interest in increasing the diversity of students and faculty in environmental and biodiversity science. Learn more >