For a couple of the events I/we attend annually (namely the Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival in North Dakota and The New River Birding Festival in West Virginia), we hold an informal music session that's part performance and part open mic. It's fun!
You might be surprised at how many musicians and passionate music lovers there are in the birding community.
Later this month our entire band, The Swinging Orangutangs, will be playing a show on the opening night (Friday, Feb 26) of The Waterfowl Symposium sponsored by The Ohio Ornithological Society and Columbus Audubon. Dates for the event are February 26–28, 2010 at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus, Ohio. Online registration is available on the Columbus Audubon site.
Here is some descriptive text about the Friday night show from Ann Oliver of the OOS:
On Friday evening, The Swinging Orangutangs (a six-piece rock/funk dance band which includes OOS members Julie Zickefoose and Bill Thompson III) will perform a benefit concert. Bring your dancing shoes and leave your hiking boots in the car! We'll have appetizers, beer, wine, and a taste of the Middle East. Why the Middle East theme? Friday evening is a benefit for Nature Iraq, hence the special food theme (but we'll have regular appetizers, too, for non-adventurous noshers).
You may recall, Ohio Army National Guardsman, and birder-extraordinaire Randy Rogers, did bird surveys on his Al Asad base in Iraq, as well as fundraising on behalf of Nature Iraq. In fact, ALL of Ohio backed Randy and this cause: several thousand dollars of donations were raised to support NI's conservation efforts to restore Mesopotamian marshes drained by the prior Iraqi regime. Randy has been working overtime on behalf of NI since he's returned from Iraq, from guest lecturing around the Buckeye State, to working behind the scenes organizing the Waterfowl Symposium.
Also: Friday evening, we'll have bird-themed beer: Mendocino Brewing Company's offerings such as Blue Heron Pale Ale, Red Tail Ale, White Hawk IPA, Eye of the Hawk Ale, and Black Hawk Stout will be available for your enjoyment. Drink, and bird, responsibly! Mendocino Brewing Company is supporting the Waterfowl Symposium with a donation of these brews.
FYI: if you can't attend the entire weekend ($80 for Friday-Sunday), it's just $10 to attend on Friday night! Sign up your friends, family, and co-workers too!
Saturday at The Waterfowl Symposium will feature a number of interesting lectures on waterfowl and related themes followed by an evening banquet and keynote featuring Dr. Azzam Alwash of Nature Iraq.
On Sunday we'll all go birding at various Columbus hotspots.
So it's going to be a good time with good friends, good music, good food, good beer, and good birding. Hope to see you there!