Waterbird Society flocks to MDI

BAR HARBOR — The Waterbird Society, an international group dedicated to the study and conservation of waterbirds, is holding its 39th annual meeting at College of the Atlantic this week.

Up to 200 people are expected to attend the conference to hear presentations from Stephen Kress, director of National Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program, Bruno Ens of the Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, and other eminent waterbird researchers.

“The Waterbird Society is one of the leading international societies of scientists studying everything from sandpipers to pelicans and back again,” said John Anderson, the W.H. Drury Professor of Ecology and Natural History at COA.

“This is a chance to rub shoulders and have a beer with some of the all-time greats of the seabird and wading bird world, to make new friends and contacts, and to explore the cutting edge of this branch of science in T-shirts and flip-flops rather than suits and ties.”

A special half-day boat trip to view pelagic seabirds and whales aboard the Bar Harbor Whale Watch that is happening as part of the conference is open to members of the public. The trip will launch from 1 West Street Friday morning at 6 a.m., and the cost is $58. For more information, visit barharborwhales.com.

The public also can purchase cruise tickets at the conference registration desk at the Turrets building on the COA campus on Eden Street.

Previous meetings have been in places like Baja, California; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and Vancouver, B.C. “It is a real joy to be able to show off COA and COA students on our home turf,” Anderson added.

The meeting is being held in conjunction with the American Oystercatcher Working Group, the Wilson’s Plover Working Group and the Northwestern Atlantic Marine Bird Cooperative.

This year’s organizing committee co-chair is Kate Shlepr, a 2013 COA graduate, who will be presenting some of her master’s work from the Bay of Fundy. Current COA students Rachel Karesh and Meaghan Lyon also will present work from COA’s Alice Eno Station on Great Duck Island.

In addition to the scientific program, the Dorr Museum will host a student and alumni exhibit of artwork depicting birds and islands by Lindsey Nielsen, Robin Owings, Anna Perry, Anna Stunkel, Peter Jenkins and Sarah Drummond.

For more information, visit waterbirds.org.

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