Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Event Alert: Rockin' Waterfowl Weekend

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
That's me on stage in Hoover Auditorium at the 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium. Photo by Ric McArthur.

The two activities that I've pursued and enjoyed most of my life are bird watching and playing music. I started watching birds at about age 7, but I remember playing music with my parents when I was even younger. I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to do either one of them. Occasionally I get to do both, which is truly sweet.

When I'm invited to a birding festival to give talks or lead trips, I often take my guitar along to play a song or two after my program. This is usually received at least politely and sometimes goes over fairly well. Julie and I have occasionally done a program called "Music of the Birds" that is solely bird and nature images set to music.

Playing music with Jessie Munson at New River.

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!

The ranch jam at Pipestem Creek in North Dakota. Photo by Ric McArthur.

You might be surprised at how many musicians and passionate music lovers there are in the birding community.

The Swinging Orangutangs at a Moroccan-themed New Year's Eve gig in 2009. Photo by Phoebe T.

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.
The Orangutangs on stage at The Marietta Brewing Company. Photo by Shila Wilson

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!

I've imposed my musical will on the OOS for many years running. Photo by Steve Free.


On February 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM CNemes said...

Looks like a fantastic time! Break a leg, the both of ya's! I won't be making it out to Ohio (the blizzard currently slamming the East Coast is a Catch-22: all this time off of work and school but no way to go anywhere!), but I will be seeing you guys at the New River festival in April/May! Can't wait!

On February 10, 2010 at 1:19 PM Avimor Birder said...

Let me know when I should bring my tenor sax or clarinet or some good blending vocals! I too have found a lot of great musicians in the birding world. Musicians are generally smart people and so are birders!

On February 11, 2010 at 6:48 AM Julie Zickefoose said...

The Phoebster claims the credit for the Moroccan Oranguatangs photo--Clay was trying to make her laugh, and succeeded.

I can't wait for this gig! Microbrews and Birders gone Wild!

On February 11, 2010 at 7:25 AM CE Webster said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend!