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Hummer Speakers - Keynotes & Bios

  Keynote Speakers:

 

   Clay Sutton, 5 p.m. Thursday "South Texas Hawks" in the Auditorium

Clay Sutton is a life-long resident of Cape May, where he has worked as an environmental      planner, environmental program administrator, vice-president of an environmental consulting firm specializing in threatened and endangered species, and for the past decade as a self-employed environmental consultant, naturalist and field biologist. He is a writer, lecturer, tour leader, and a long-time instructor for the American Birding Association’s Institute for Field Ornithology. Clay is a co-author, with Pete Dunne and David Sibley, of the classic Hawks in Flight, and Clay and his wife Pat have co-authored How to Spot ButterfliesHow to Spot Hawks & Eagles, How to Spot an Owl and their latest book, Birds and Birding at Cape May, is the in-depth result of their efforts over many years documenting and protecting the migration and the Cape May area that they so love.

 

Sky Kings Falconry, 5 p.m. Friday "Raptors Revealed" in the Auditorium

Sky Kings Falconry features hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, parrots and other colorful and interesting animals. The program will focus on natural history, unique traits and the natural abilities of these incredible animals. Sky Kings Falconry is dedicated to the Education, and preservation of our planet's wildlife, and employing its natural abilities to correct environmental issues. Birds in flight so arrive early. 

Stephen A. Shunk, 5 p.m. Saturday "Humming Across the Americas" in the Auditorium

Stephen Shunk graduated from Lamar High School in lovely Arlington, Texas, but he didn’t begin birding until 1989, after moving the San Francisco Bay Area. Steve started teaching about birds and their habitats in 1991, and a few years later, he took his first volunteer field job, studying colonial waterbirds for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Tired of living in the urban jungle, Steve left California in 1997, eventually landing on the eastern slope of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Over the next three years, he co-founded the Oregon Birding Trails program and the East Cascades Bird Conservancy. Steve has also spent the last 19 years studying woodpeckers in his central Oregon backyard—and beyond—and his long-awaited Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America hit the shelves in May 2016. Through his company, Paradise Birding, Steve leads natural history tours across the Western Hemisphere, and he shares his adventures as a travel writer and editor for the online Nature Travel Network.

 

 

 

 

Juan Bahamon 

Professor of Neurology at University of Texas San Antonio is an avid hummingbird photographer who during his vacations hauls 150 pounds of high-speed flash equipment about the Americas.  His life passion is to artistically photograph hummers in their natural environment.

“Hummingbirds of Ecuador”

Ecuador has the second largest number of hummingbird species in the world.  With over 130 species, the variety is nothing but short of amazing.  Through his superb images, Dr. Bahamon will transport you to this hummingbird paradise.

Judit Green

Judit Green has been an Urban Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for 21 years.  She conducts outreach and offers technical guidance on natural resource projects that benefit wildlife, landscapes, water and people.  She was a contributing author and photographer to the Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife book and is leading the Texas Children in Nature collaboration in San Antonio NatureRocksTexas.org

“Landscape Design with Hummers in Mind”

Native plants and special design features can create a beautiful landscape that easily invites hummingbirds to visit your garden.  It’s not difficult to be successful, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll attract while also conserving water.  Learn what features to incorporate as well as some common drought hardy plants to include so you can open your back door to hummingbirds.

Sheila Hargis

Shelia Hargis has been birding for 20 years and loves birds!  She spends most of her free time birding and her passion and enthusiasm for birds and birding is infectious.  Among other activities, Shelia teaches Travis Audubon’s Introduction to Birds and Birding class, and serves on the Travis Audubon Board of Directors and is Vice President of the Texas Ornithological Society.

 “Magical Migrations: Birds on the Move”

Hummingbirds aren’t the only birds that migrate.  Learn about the other amazing and magical migrations and where you can go to see them. This presentation will highlight the spectacular migrations of warblers, hawks, Chimney Swifts and Purple Martins.  These are experiences you will never forget!

Sky Kings Falconry: Jennifer Kuhn

Jennifer Kuhn started training dogs and horses in her teens, working various jobs involving horses and even a 11 years as an animal control officer.  She later started volunteering with Wildlife Revealed at the Sherwood Renaissance to eventually be offered a full time position with Wildlife Revealed and Sky King Falconry.  She currently maintains the base of operations in Bastrop TX and cares for as many as 27 birds for the two organizations.  She presents numerous programs each month including delivering wedding rings at weddings with a Barn Owl!  Several of the birds featured at the “Raptors Revealed” program were trained by Jennifer.

This nonprofit organization, Wildlife Revealed, entertains and educates a wide variety of audiences.  His second venture, Sky Kings Falconry, utilizes trained hawks, owls and falcons to employ their natural skills to correct environmental issues.

Friday 5pm Keynote: “Raptors Revealed”

Witness various raptors and birds of prey in free flight as they demonstrate their natural abilities and traits that make them unique.  This is a family friendly program sure to delight ages 2 to 102.  Don’t miss this one of a kind presentation where the action takes place ABOVE the audience!

Demonstration: “Hawk Talk”

Jennifer will be on site with her birds for an answer and question session.  She will discuss husbandry and training of the birds of Wildlife Revealed, and the individual personalities and traits of various birds.  This is a chance to ask many questions in an intimate setting while watching the training process first hand.

Bill Lindemann

Native Texan, naturalist and avid birder for over 50 years is a graduate of UT Austin (BA & MS Geology).  He retired after 34 years with Exxon and has been a weekly newspaper birding columnist in the Hill Country for 18 years.  He was also President of Native Plant Society of Texas twice and is Past President of Hill Country Land Trust.

“Flycatchers: Catching the Bugs on the Fly”

Some members of the flycatcher family have aggressive attitudes which have led taxonomists to label them as tyrants, willing to combat other birds much larger than themselves.  Not all members tend to display such hostility, but those that do, show no fear in driving perceived predators out of their territories.  Species identification varies from easy to very difficult as plumages vary from bold to ultra-subtle.  Interesting behavioral habits and harsh vocalizations aid in sorting them out.

Glenn Olsen

Glenn’s passion is nature with a special interest in birds and plants.  He teaches bird identification and nature related classes in the continuing studies department at Rice University and at Houston Audubon.  His nature touring business, Go Birding, offers both national and international trips to connect people and nature.

“The Power and Magic of the Feather”

What is a feather?  What is it made of?  How do birds grow feathers?  Are there different kinds of feathers?  How many feathers do birds have:  How long do feathers last?  How do they get their different colors?  How do they use feathers for communication, attracting mates, for camouflage, hearing, or swimming?  Learn about the many functions of the marvelous feather.

Brent Ortego

Wildlife biologist who has worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife since 1982 and a Past President of Texas Ornithological Society.  His obtained his PhD at Louisiana State University.  Work of this PhD covers a wide variety of conservation and research projects with most efforts focused on endangered species.  One of Brent’s passions is studying hummingbirds.

“Hummingbird ID – Learning How to Focus on These Beautiful Natural Jewels””

Identification of the 8 species which regularly occur in South Texas will be discussed in great detail and their beauty will be shown by many close photographs.

Sid Rucker

Sid and Shirley traveled full-time for over 20 years in an RV photographing nature subjects - birds, mammals, insects, flowers and scenics.  Their photographs have been published in books, magazines and calendars.  They spent 5 of those years as the photographers for Texas Parks and Wildlife book Hummingbirds of Texas.

“Living, Loving and Laughing with Hummingbirds”

These are the photographs and stories related to the years spent photographing hummingbirds.  It includes migration, nesting, bathing, fighting, behavior, and also on their fingers and inside their RV.

David Sarkozi

David has been birding seriously for more than 20 years.  He has worked for University of Houston while actively leading field trips in Texas, Belize and Costa Rica.  He is a past President of Texas Ornithological Society, Friends of Anahuac Refuge and Chair of Houston Outdoor Nature Club-Ornithology Group.  He leads birding trips both nationally and internationally.

“Smarter Birding With Your Smart Phone”
The modern smart phone can be your most valuable birding tool next to your binoculars.  It will help you identify birds, learn birds and record your sightings.  Birding Apps can help make you a better birder, make birding more fun, and make your birding hours more valuable.

Stephen Shunk

Stephen Shunk graduated from Lamar High School in lovely Arlington, Texas, but he didn’t begin birding until 1989, after moving the San Francisco Bay Area. Steve started teaching about birds and their habitats in 1991, and a few years later, he took his first volunteer field job, studying colonial water birds for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Tired of living in the urban jungle, Steve left California in 1997, eventually landing on the eastern slope of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Over the next three years, he co-founded the Oregon Birding Trails program and the East Cascades Bird Conservancy. Steve has also spent the last 19 years studying woodpeckers in his central Oregon backyard—and beyond—and his long-awaited Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America hit the shelves in May 2016. Through his company, Paradise Birding, Steve leads natural history tours across the Western Hemisphere, and he shares his adventures as a travel writer and editor for the online Nature Travel Network..

KEYNOTE (Saturday 5pm): “Humming Across the Americas”

Texas boasts one of the longest hummingbird lists in North America, with 18 species on the state list and 12 of those occurring more or less regularly in the state. Texas is the only place north of Mexico to see the gorgeous Buff-bellied Hummingbird, and the handsome Lucifer is a regular breeder in the Big Bend region. However, even the tally of 23 species for all of North America pales in comparison to the big hummingbird picture for the western hemisphere.

Up to 380 hummingbird species stretch from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, making the hummingbird family—Trochilidae—the second largest bird family in the world (surpassed only by the New World flycatchers of the Tyrannidae). The center of hummingbird diversity lies in South America’s Andes Mountains, and the world’s smallest birds radiate like tiny rainbows north and south from the Equator.

Join Oregon naturalist, author, and field biologist, Steve Shunk, for a hummingbird extravaganza. Steve will share stories of the most migratory hummers—the Rufous and Ruby-throated—to the endemic hummingbirds of the Neotropics. He will take us from Oregon to Peru, with stops in Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean. While sharing an abundance of tropical eye candy, Steve will also discuss the natural history and distribution of Texas hummingbirds. Dust off your passport, and join us as we go Humming Across the Americas!

WORKSHOP: “Tongues, Toes, and Tales of Texas Woodpeckers”

Imagine, for a moment, slamming your face into a brick wall at 16 miles per hour. This self-destructive (and foolish) act would subject your head to about 1,200 g of force, almost certainly resulting in your death. Yet, a woodpecker withstands the same force up to 20 times per second, and as many as 12,000 times per day, pounding its head into trees!

The woodpecker anatomy is perfectly suited for its climbing and excavating lifestyle. Some woodpecker species also possess adaptations for aerial acrobatics, for drilling sap wells, or for extracting ants from underground burrows. And woodpecker adaptation goes well beyond the anatomy. Cavity excavation, drumming, and food storage are just a few examples that make woodpeckers some of the most specialized birds in the world. With 14 woodpecker species occurring regularly in Texas, woodpeckers are also a critical part of Texas ecology. Join Oregon naturalist and North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk for a thorough primer on the anatomy and adaptations of Texas woodpeckers.

Byron Stone

Dr. Stone is an Austin physician and naturalist who has explored Texas outdoors for over 5 decades.  For 10 years he has taught sparrow identification classes and has now developed a raptor identification class.  Byron is the current Texas Ornithological Society President.

“30 Birds You Can Teach Your Kids or Grandkids”

Dr. Stone will cover the 30 species of birds that can be identified easily.  These are common birds that can be learned by kids of any age, without the need for binoculars and spotting scopes.  This is a great introduction for any beginning birder.

Clay Sutton

Clay Sutton is a life-long resident of Cape May, where he has worked as an environmental planner, environmental program administrator, vice-president of an environmental consulting firm specializing in threatened and endangered species, and for the past decade as a self-employed environmental consultant, naturalist and field biologist. He is a writer, lecturer, tour leader, and a long-time instructor for the American Birding Association’s Institute for Field Ornithology. Clay is a co-author, with Pete Dunne and David Sibley, of the classic Hawks in Flight.  Clay and his wife Pat have co-authored  several books on birds and butterflies.

Thursday 5pm Keynote: “South Texas Hawks” "Hawks and Flights- The Giant Texas Sized Edition"

More species of raptors have occurred in Texas than any other state.  Join Hawks in Flight co-author Clay Sutton as he teaches you where, when and how to spot and identify these masters of the sky!

Pat Sutton

Pat and her husband Clay have co-authored How to Spot Butterflies, How to Spot Hawks & Eagles, How to Spot an Owl and their latest book, Birds and Birding at Cape May, is the in-depth result of their efforts over many years documenting and protecting the migration and the Cape May area that they so love.

“Ferocious Dragons and Dainty Damsels”

This primer to the winged jewels known as dragonflies and damselflies will cover the most common species, their natural history (life cycle, seasonality, what they prey upon, and who preys on them), and how to identify one from another.  Learn how to lure these ferocious mosquito predators into your own yard by creating a no-fuss wildlife pond.