Mass Audubon Birders Meeting
A tradition in the New England birding community since 1992
Since 1992, birders from around New England have come together to attend Mass Audubon's Birders Meeting. With the help of supportive sponsors, we've successfully brought together engaging speakers from around the country and drawn enthusiastic participants to this annual conference.
31st Annual Birders Meeting
Our CommonWealth of Birds
Sunday, April 2 • 8:00 am-4:00 pm
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Our CommonWealth of Birds celebrates the rich diversity of bird species that call Massachusetts and greater New England home. As New Englanders, we are fortunate to have the ability to engage with birds that exhibit both amazing physical, and physiological, adaptations that allow them to thrive in a variety of habitats.
Whether it be the Saltmarsh Sparrow, the pelagic Atlantic Puffin, or the urban Rock Pigeon, all have a fascinating and unique story to share. They also share something in common: all are vulnerable to climate change and its effects on both sea level rise and changes in ocean temperatures. People share these vulnerabilities too.
This year, we will highlight the intricate tapestry that binds birds, people, and environmental pressures together while offering a glimpse at Mass Audubon’s work to preserve, protect, and manage critical habitat.
Puffins & People Share the Same Sacrifice Zone
with Derrick Z. Jackson, Union of Concerned Scientists
National Audubon's Project Puffin successfully restored the Atlantic Puffin to islands off the coast of Maine after nearly a century's absence due to hunting. Today, there are 1,300 pairs inhabiting the islands, but they are still threatened, and are now considered the “canaries” of climate change. Maine is the southernmost terminus of their range in North America and the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than nearly every other body of ocean on Earth. Increasing sea levels and temperatures threaten both the puffin’s habitat, as well as their food supply.
There is a connection between the climate threats to puffins and to environmental injustice for communities hundreds of miles away from puffin islands. If bird lovers want puffins to be around for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, then they must also care about families that disproportionately live next to oil and gas operations or seriously polluted by highway exhaust. There can no longer be a distinction between traditional notions of environmentalism and environmental justice. Curbing carbon pollution for families in America's "sacrifice zones" will calm the waters for puffins.
Salt Marsh Restoration Across the Massachusetts Coast
with Annalee Tweitmann, Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon’s Coastal Resilience Program is using climate adaptation and nature-based climate solutions to focus on the protection, management, and restoration of four coastal priority habitats: beaches, bird breeding islands, coastal uplands, and salt marshes. The goal is to help these habitats cope with, respond to, and prepare for current and future climate change impacts in order to preserve these environments and ecosystem services for both wildlife and people. Across the state, Mass Audubon is involved in a variety of salt marsh restoration and resiliency projects that aim to protect critical habitat, increase resiliency of salt marshes to maintain their invaluable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, and enhance coastline protection. This presentation will highlight a number of these projects, including runneling and ditch remediation, shellfish restoration and living shoreline efforts.
The Most Misunderstood Bird - Why Rock Pigeons are Secretly Amazing
with Rosemary Mosco, Author and Science Writer
Rock Pigeons are often overlooked or otherwise dismissed, but their behavior is intricate, their genetics are fascinating, and their long history with humanity provides endless drama. Author and cartoonist Rosemary Mosco will share ancient stories and the latest science to show why this species is worth a second look.
What It’s Like to be a Bird
with David Sibley, Author, Illustrator, and Artist
From UV vision to deep diving, navigation, balance, super-efficient breathing, and more - birds have some amazing "superpowers", and at the same time nearly every aspect of their anatomy, physiology, and behavior has been shaped in some way by the demands of their ultimate superpower - flight. Using a selection of illustrations and information from his new book “What It's Like to be a Bird”, David will talk about some of the incredible things that birds are able to do, and the adaptations that make those things possible.
About the Speakers
Derrick Z. Jackson is an award-winning journalist and author. He was the 2021 winner for Excellence in Opinion Writing in the Scripps Howard Awards for his coverage of systemic racism in the United States’ response to COVID-19 for the Union of Concerned Scientist and Grist. He co-authored “Project Puffin” and “The Puffin Plan” with Steve Kress. The latter book was the 2021 winner in Teen Nonfiction from the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards. A former Boston Globe columnist and Pulitzer Prize and National Headliners finalist, Jackson is a fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In 2022 he was the winner of commentary awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the National Association of Black Journalists where he is a 10-time contest winner. Jackson is a 1976 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He holds three honorary degrees, from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Salem State University and the Episcopal Divinity School. He is also known for his nature photography, and his images of Barack Obama have been exhibited by Boston’s Museum of African American History.
Annalee Tweitmann is a Coastal Restoration Ecologist with Mass Audubon, working on coastal resilience and restoration projects across the Massachusetts coast. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida. She has worked in coastal ecology for over six years, working on living shorelines and shellfish restoration projects up and down the East Coast.
Rosemary Mosco is a science writer, speaker, cartoonist, and the author of “A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World's Most Misunderstood Bird.” She is the creator of the nature cartoon “Bird and Moon”, which won the National Cartoonists Society’s award for Best Online Short Form Comic. She has written and drawn for The New York Times, Audubon, PBS kids’ Elinor Wonders Why, Ranger Rick, and more, and has written and drawn many books for kids and adults. Her favorite bird is the Black-throated Blue Warbler. https://rosemarymosco.com
David Allen Sibley is the author and illustrator of the series of successful guides to nature that bear his name, including the New York Times bestsellers “The Sibley Guide to Birds” and “What It's Like to be a Bird.” He has contributed art and articles to Smithsonian, Science, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Birding, BirdWatching, and North American Birds, and wrote an illustrated, syndicated column for The New York Times. He is the recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Birding Association and the Linnaean Society of New York’s Eisenmann Medal. He lives in Deerfield, MA. https://sibleyguides.com