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BirdSafe Maine Presents at Regional Conference

This past weekend, three members of the BirdSafe Maine team traveled to Burlington, VT, to present their work at the Northeast Natural History Conference (NENHC). The NENHC is one of the largest regional gatherings where naturalists, research scientists, natural resource managers, students, and activists share their work on the ecology and biology of the northeastern US and eastern Canada. Recently, more and more of the focus of these presentations has been on the effects of human populations and climate change on our ecosystems.

A crew representing BirdSafe Maine, the bird-strike awareness group formed by Maine Audubon, the Portland Society for Architecture, and the University of Southern Maine (USM), was invited to present on its work at this year’s conference.

Cady Netland, Conservation Communications Fellow with BirdSafe Maine, presented about bird strikes across Maine.

The conference was broken up into team sessions in different rooms. Each session included four 20-minute presentations, and attendees were welcome to change sessions as often as they liked. Dr. Chris Maher, Professor of Biology at USM, kicked off the session by discussing the collision monitoring that Bird Safe Maine has conducted every migration season in downtown Portland since the fall of 2020. This led seamlessly into the next two topics presented by Cady Netland, the Conservation Communications Fellow with BirdSafe Maine. The first was on Bird Safe educational programming at both Yarmouth Elementary and Maine College of Art and Design. (The presentation was prepared by Dr. Sonya Kahlenberg, who could not attend as she is doing primatology work in Uganda.) Netland then discussed architectural solutions to bird collisions and the bird safe projects in Maine. Finally, Nick Lund, co-founder of Bird Safe Maine and Advocacy and Outreach Manager at Maine Audubon, talked about bird-friendly legislation and current work to develop city ordinances and state bills.

Dr. Chris Maher of the University of Southern Maine presented the science of bird strikes in Portland.

The organization of the presentations flowed from topic to topic naturally, and we found that many of the audience members stayed through the entire session. It was inspiring to hear the presentations of fellow speakers, and experience the support of a community that has many different backgrounds but shares the same values. The invite of the NENHC is to all who “share the vision of developing an expanded true regional forum for exchanging information on all aspects of natural history sciences.” This call was truly felt during and after the BirdSafe presentations, when many people came up to our team to ask personal and professional questions regarding bird safe practices. As this topic takes a more central place in the field of conservation, we hope to continue to contribute to these important conversations and share ideas with our communities.