Dinner Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Heisman – Untold Stories From the History of Bird Migration Research

On Saturday, EBBA is pleased to welcome Rebecca Heisman, author of the recent popular science book Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration. Flight Paths tells the forgotten history of how we know what we know about bird migration, from the earliest origins of bird banding to how the latest advances in fields like genomics and artificial intelligence are being harnessed in pursuit of migration’s mysteries. In her talk, Rebecca will share how her book came to be and share just three of the many stories in the book, telling the tales of some of her favorite underappreciated and eccentric innovators in the history of bird migration research. She will also discuss the concept of migratory connectivity and how getting to an incredible level of detail in our understanding of the lives of migratory birds may be a key part of saving them in a changing world.

Rebecca Heisman is a science writer based in Walla Walla, Washington. She has contributed to publications including Audubon, Living Bird (the Cornell Lab of Ornithology magazine), and High Country News, and from 2015 to 2020 she worked for the American Ornithological Society, North America’s largest professional society for bird scientists. When she’s not birding or writing, she can usually be found chasing after her four-year-old son or enjoying her ever-growing native plant garden.

Set for a release date of March 14, 2023, here’s what a few reviewers have to say about the book:

“Flight Paths reads like a cross between a great detective story and riveting science fiction, except that the science here is all fact. Migratory birds span the globe through incredible feats of navigation and endurance, and the researchers who have uncovered their secrets are just as fascinating as the birds themselves.”
– Kenn Kaufman (author of the Kaufman Field Guide series, Kingbird Highway, and A Season on the Wind)

“Flight Paths is a delight, and the ground-breaking bird migration scientists whom Rebecca Heisman profiles in this fascinating book are a wonderfully unconventional lot. Heisman is the ideal guide to their world — curious, chatty, and adept at making sometimes complex research easily understandable. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
– Scott Weidensaul (Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Living on the Wind and A World on the Wing)

You will have the opportunity to reserve a copy of Flight Paths, for purchase at the meeting!

Opening Speaker: Dave Brinker – The Rise and Fall of Northern Goshawks in the Central Appalachians

On Friday evening, Dave Brinker will present The Rise and Fall of Northern Goshawks in the Central Appalachians: Is there reason for conservation concern in the Northeastern U.S.? Admired by people for its aggressiveness, courage, flight prowess and hunting ability from before the dark ages; in northern hemisphere forests the Northern Goshawk is an apex avian predator. Since 1994, the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project has monitored goshawk nesting attempts in the high country of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. A positive population trend and range expansion during the late 20th Century abruptly reversed in the early 21st Century. Eastern hawk watch data documents the cessation of irruptive movements from the western Great Lakes eastward and shows significant declines at most major hawk watches, including the two lowest counts of goshawks at Hawk Mountain since establishment of routine counts in 1970. Dave will share insights from over thirty years working with the gray ghost and discuss its future in the Eastern United States.

Dave Brinker works for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a Regional Ecologist with the Natural Heritage Program. His interest in raptors started in 1975 at the Little Suamico Ornithological Station, a raptor migration observation and banding station near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dave’s most memorable day hawk trapping was banding 27 adult goshawks in one day during the 1982 goshawk irruption. His fascination with Northern Goshawks and the ten-year wildlife cycle began in Wisconsin shortly after obtaining a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and this passion grew into the Central Appalachian Goshawk Project. Dave is a founding co-director of Project Owlnet and Project Snowstorm, as well as a principal in the Northeast Motus Collaboration. He frequently appears on Maryland Public Television’s Outdoors Maryland, and he has been heard on National Geographic Today, on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and on Living on Earth.