WANTED: Bird Nerds, Botanists & Nature LoversApril 11, 2011
Applicants will share their day(s) with some of the greatest experts in the birding and nature world, taking in the flora, fauna and scenery so unique to the New River Gorge in West Virginia.
Get geeked over great looks at great birds, plants with weird names and perhaps even discussions about salamander scat. Yes, scat.
If you can find it here, you can count on the fact that field leaders will leave no stone (or bush) unturned in the quest to find what you are looking for – all within reason of course.
The Start of a Festival
Nine years ago, I was pushing for the development of a birding and nature festival for New River Gorge. It made perfect sense.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology had designated southern West Virginia as a critical area for neo-tropical migrants. Spectacular species such as golden-winged warblers, cerulean warblers, scarlet tanager and Swainson’s warbler (well, this one is hard to find, but not really spectacular looking) reside here in abundance. None other than the famous botanist, Thomas Nuttall, spent years here identifying new species of plants.
Seven years ago, we pulled it off and now the New River Birding and Nature Festival is recognized as one of the “Top Ten Fun Birding Events in North America” by Bird Watcher’s Digest.
Bird By Butt
How much more fun can a Bird Nerd have than “Birding by Butt”? You literally can spend hours in an easy chair sipping hot coffee, having hot food brought to you, and having bird experts call birds in with their Bird Pods and iPhones until they are nearly perched on your lap?
And if you really do want them perched on your lap (well actually in your hand) expert banders do that for you, sometimes even letting you release a just-banded ruby-throated hummingbird.
The Nerdiest of Bird Nerds Are Here
The Festival brings in the best of the best.
- Harvard educated naturalist and artist Julie Zickefoose (you may have heard her on National Public Radio as well)
- Bird Watcher’s Digest Editor (and personal birding guide to President Jimmy Carter) Bill Thompson, III
- Bill Hilton, Jr. who was proclaimed one of the “50 Best Brains in Science” by Discover Magazine
And lest you think it is a snooty gathering, take in the final night when the Swingin’ Orangutans rock the joint with a mixture of nature songs and plain old hard rock. Be forewarned though that the Jeff Gordon who accompanies them is certainly not THAT Jeff Gordon, but in the nature world is THE Jeff Gordon.
So, if your party is coming to the New River Gorge region May 2 – 7 2011, join us in getting your bird nerd on. For more information simply call the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce or check us out directly at www.birding-wv.com.
We can even try to set you up with a “Genuine Bird Nerd” bumper sticker once you get here.