Virtual Program 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

NOTE: Zoom programs start at 6:00pm each evening. There will be introductions and welcomes. The start time of each presentation is approximate after 6:00pm

Birding The Burns & Other Sojourns Beyond Wildfire
Maya Khosla

Our virtual journey will focus on the highlights from 7 years of surveys for nesting birds and other members of the wild, all inhabiting recently burned forests. New scientific publications, poetry, and a short new film will add to the journey. Our discussion will touch upon the behavior of birds nesting within the burns – including black-backed woodpeckers, Williamson's sapsuckers, mountain bluebirds, great gray owls, northern goshawks and California spotted owls. Bears, bobcats, gray foxes and mountain lions in the burns will feature as cameos. Recent long-term studies comparing untouched to heavily managed post-fire forests will give us glimpses on the ways that leaving our forests to themselves supports biodiversity.
Thursday 6:15pm – 7:15pm

Lewis's Legacy in the Mono Basin
Steve Shunk

It flies like an acrobat and glows rosy pink and iridescent green in the east-side sunshine. Unlike most of its carpenter cousins, this woodpecker migrates—not too far, but away from Mono Lake's frigid winters. It beats up starlings and it loves the burned forests of the Mono Basin. What a joy the Lewis's Woodpecker brings to birding. Crisscrossing above the canopy, it flies more like a Corvid than a woodpecker, gobbling up aerial insects and delighting visiting birders. Get a scope on this bird in just the right light, and you see a stunning ornament perched proudly atop a tall Jeffrey pine. Many of its behaviors—besides its airborne prowess—make it one of the least woodpecker-like among our continent's woodpeckers. Join North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk for an entertaining exploration into the life of the Lewis's Woodpecker. Steve will cover the natural history, ecology, and conservation of this charismatic species as he shares its fascinating behaviors and special adaptations for a truly unique lifestyle in the Wild West.
Thursday 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Friday, June 18, 2021

Nature Journaling for Birders
John (Jack) Muir Laws

Do you want to become a better birder really fast? The secret is to start to keep a naturalist notebook or birder's journal. In this workshop, you will learn how to create fast field sketes and rich notes of your birding adventures. John Muir Laws will demonstrate how to create quick bird templates to record plumage observations and how to integrate words, pictures, and numbers into your journal pages. Keeping a birder's notebook is the best way to train yourself to observe more, remember your discoveries, and learn from nature. 
Friday 6:00pm – 7:00pm

A Story 38 Years in the Making - California Gull Monitoring at Mono Lake
Ryan Burnett

California Gulls are the summer sentinels of Mono Lake and indicators of the lake ecosystem. Point Blue Conservation Science, in collaboration with the Mono Lake Committee, have been monitoring the breeding population size and reproductive success of California Gulls at Mono Lake every year since 1983. The population has been in steep decline in recent years with fewer birds breeding and lower reproductive success. The population faces numerous threats including low lake productivity, predator invasion of nesting islands when water levels dip low during drought, to invasive weeds crowding out nest sites. This dataset represents one of the longest running seabird monitoring projects in North America thanks to the dedication of many. We have adapted new methods to streamline our monitoring and reduce impacts to the gulls and will discuss everything from population trends, field methods, to recommendations to help reverse the declines in this important population.
Friday 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Photographing the wildlife of the west
Darren Cook

Wildlife Photographer Darren Cook will discuss the incredible diversity of animals in the western states. Darren's goal has been to connect people of all backgrounds to nature through his lens and with his words, and, more specifically, to give access and understanding of the natural world to people who don't have access to or that have never felt they were apart of nature. Darren's images will enlighten and tell a story that will in turn help conservation and habitat preservation for the amazing "wildlife of the west".
Saturday 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Osprey at Mono Lake
Lisa Fields

Osprey are a fish-eating bird, so what are they doing at Mono Lake, a naturally fishless hyper-saline lake?  Find out as Lisa Fields shares her passion for osprey, and this population in particular. She will speak about general osprey ecology, describe the Mono Lake ecosystem, share details about the osprey nesting at Mono Lake, and what research and citizen science has revealed about unexpected movements.
Saturday 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Virtual Bird Calling Contest
MC: Nora Livingston

Join this lighthearted end to our virtual festival—our annual bird calling contest! We will allow folks to share their best bird calls, songs, jokes, silent impressions via Zoom. There will be a grand prize, and while the judges are deliberating on the winner, our partners will share what they are working on this year in the Eastern Sierra. It will be a goofy and fun way to finish up the virtual festival and it is family friendly!
Sunday 12:00noon – 1:00pm