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Hosted by Burroughs Audubon Nature Club & Rochester Birding Association
October 5 – 7, 2018 in Henrietta, NY (a suburb of Rochester)

For last-minute registrations, email chitamckinneynysoa@gmail.com

The 71st annual meeting of the New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) will be held October 5 – 7, 2018 in Henrietta, New York. This meeting will be hosted by the Burroughs Audubon Nature Club (BANC) and the Rochester Birding Association (RBA). This will be the 70th anniversary of the first meeting of the organization, formerly called the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, which was held in Rochester in 1948, with each following 10th anniversary meeting since also held here.

The meeting and associated activities will be centered at the RIT Inn and Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road, Henrietta, NY 14467. This location has abundant space for our inside activities and easy access to the Thruway and interstate highways for travel to nearby birding spots. While we do not have specific highlight species, we do have access to both Lake Ontario, several of the Finger Lakes, and to a large number of parks. The meeting dates will be in the midst of the fall migration for both water and land birds.

The weekend meeting will include Friday afternoon field trips for early arrivals and a reception and buffet followed by two workshops run twice and in parallel on Friday night. Then field trips on Saturday morning, with shorter ones for delegates, who will then attend the annual delegate’s meeting, followed by a papers session in the afternoon and a banquet and speaker in the evening. Sunday morning will bring more field trips, with several planned along routes toward attendees’ home cities. Friday and Saturday afternoons will also provide an opportunity to visit vendors and other exhibits while meeting with birding friends. We are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.

Saturday Night Banquet Speaker: Greg Miller

A Big Year: Life After

The banquet speaker will be Greg Miller of The Big Year book and movie fame. This is the 20th anniversary of Greg’s Big Year. He will approach the subject from the viewpoint of what followed from his adventures: the book, the movie, and his future involvement in birding. He was able to spend time on the movie set interacting with Jack Black (who played him), Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson and serving as Bird Consultant to the movie. He has become an advocate of bringing birding to as many people as possible through talks and leading tours. He has a special interest in encouraging young birders.

Greg is one of the three birders whose competitive Big Years in 1998 became the basis for the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Big Year by Mark Obmascik published in 2004 and later the Twentieth Century Fox full length movie starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson filmed in 2010 and released in 2011. He has been birding since a young age, started and encouraged by his father. He has been birding for over 50 years, covering all 50 states and much of Canada. Since his Big Year adventure Greg has continued birding and has been very active in promoting birding, young birders’ activities, and bird records contributions through eBird. In 2016, he embarked on another Big Year, this one non-traditional. It consisted of 11 one-week tours aimed at introducing many to target species birding, with a goal of surpassing 500 species with that limited-time, focused approach. He currently lives in Sugarcreek in the heart of Amish Country in Northeast Ohio.

Friday Night Workshops

One workshop will feature a description of the use of eBird as the data input tool and archival database for the NY Breeding Bird Atlas III to begin field work in 2020. There will be examples from the work in progress using this tool on other breeding bird atlas projects, such as those in Wisconsin and Virginia. This tool allows near real-time access to data, so one can see almost immediately the status of effort in any block or of the project as a whole in lists and maps. Experts in the design and use of the tool from the eBird Team will lead the presentation and discussion.

Daena Ford of Braddock Bay Raptor Research will present an historical perspective including highlights of its many research and educational programs: the Braddock Bay Hawk Count, hawk banding, owl survey, and more.

Lodging and Meeting Headquarters

This meeting will be centered at the RIT Inn and Conference Center at 5257 West Henrietta Road in the town of Henrietta just south of Rochester and adjacent to the NY State Thruway not far from Exit 46. There is ample parking and access from both front and back plus nearer some rooms on the sides. There are two restaurants in the hotel.

Room Reservations

A block of rooms has been reserved at the RIT Inn and Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14467, to be held through September 14, 2018. The rate for all rooms is $109.00 plus tax. Contact the RIT Inn and conference Center directly at 585-359-1800 to make your reservation. Be sure to mention the NYSOA meeting to obtain the special rate and so that the meeting is credited for rooms reserved.

To reserve online and get the GROUP RATE go here: www.ritinn.com and click the Reservations tab in the top left corner. This will open a new window. Select “Group Attendee” from the center drop-down menu and enter “1809NYSOA” in the box below. Please follow these instructions carefully so NYSOA gets credited for our room block.


Friday and Saturday meals will be in the Mohawk/Cayuga Room. Workshops will be in nearby rooms immediately following the Friday buffet. NYSOA business, comments, awards presentations, the raffle results, and the main speaker will immediately follow Saturday’s dinner in the same room. The hotel restaurant will be open for breakfast before the morning field trips plus at regular hours, including lunches. There are also other restaurants reasonably close in the nearby area.

Field Trips

The Rochester area has multiple areas where migrating birds of all types congregate: the shoreline of Lake Ontario, with its Braddock and Irondequoit Bays; parks and cemeteries such as Durand Eastman Park, Webster Park, Mount Hope Cemetery, and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery; glacial treasures such as Mendon Ponds Park with its kettle holes, ponds, woodlands, and fields; and parcels preserved by the Genesee Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, all of which make up a vibrant, diverse habitat for birders to enjoy. Field trips will highlight shorebird species lingering near our inland ponds and inlets, passerine banding efforts at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, and songbirds along the scenic pathways of our parks and preserves. Once the conference disbands, homebound travelers heading east have only a short detour from the Thruway to find Montezuma Wildlife Refuge and Wetlands Complex, while those heading west pass close to Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and the Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant.

As the 2018 fall migration unfolds, Rochester’s field trip experts will be scouting these areas and more to locate the best spots for finding fall treasures. Full trip descriptions will be published nearer the conference date, and specific field trip locations with sign-ups will be available at the meeting’s check-in table.

Papers Session

A paper session will be presented on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1:30 PM and ending by 5:00 PM, with a short break mid-session. Typically, papers relate to topics of interest to birders and are often given by students or researchers from New York schools.

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