Monday, April 27, 2015

Birding Expo-Sure!

Monday, April 27, 2015
Ok. That's a rather clumsy play-on-words. I suppose I could have called this post "Expose Yourself to Birding" but that has a funny ring to it.

Those of you who are of a certain age will remember the wonderful TV series "Northern Exposure," which probably wins the prize for giving the most normal and realistic portrayal of bird watching in its episodes. When the show was still in production, we got a call here at Bird Watcher's Digest from one of the production assistants asking us to send some sample copies that they could put on a coffee table in some scene involving Holling and Ruth-Anne, the show's two birders. We never did see our "nice little bird magazine" in the show, and soon—like all good things—"Northern Exposure" came to the end of its run.

The Birding Expo-sure play-on-words is my way of introducing you to the inaugural American Birding Expo, which we're calling "a celebration of the birding lifestyle." The Expo is coming up this fall—October 2 to 4 to be exact—in Columbus, Ohio at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Modeled after the wildly successful British Birdwatching Fair held each August in central England, the Expo is designed to give birders and nature enthusiasts an opportunity to shop among vendors offering all the products, goods, services, destinations, and anything else associated with a nature-oriented lifestyle. And, boy, there's going to be a lot to choose from...

Here we are, six months out from the Expo and already there are 85 different vendors committed to the event, representing more than 25 countries. But it's not just destinations and travel. All the major (and minor) optics companies will be there as will many makers of outdoor gear. You'll be able to buy a new, state-of-the-art bird feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited, a new spotting scope from Eagle Optics, a rotating backpack from Mindshift Gear, and book a tour with Rockjumper Birding Tours Worldwide.

Did I mention that there's no charge to attend the American Birding Expo? That's right, entry is free!

But wait... there's more.

If you're a member of the American Birding Association, you'll be able to attend the ABA Members' Summit just prior to the opening of the Expo and you'll get a special early-access VIP pass so you can beat the crowds! This event is also free to ABA members. And if you're not an ABA member, this will be an excellent time to join!

If you're part of a bird club, you can register your club and be eligible to win The Ultimate Fundraising Prize Package. If your club wins, you get to take these fabulous prizes back home to raffle off to raise money! Plus, you can attend our Saturday afternoon Bird Club Coffee Break and Brainstorm to share and swap ideas with other bird club leaders to help make your club more robust and successful.

We'll be raising funds (through voluntary contributions, games, silent auctions, and raffles) for bird conservation causes, including helping the mega-rare hooded grebe in South America with our friends at BirdLife International.

So consider this your personal invitation to the American Birding Expo. Like I said, entry to the Expo is FREE, but if you register for the Expo on our website, you will have the chance to win some fantastic prizes!

I'll be there at the Expo, kibbitzing with all of my friends and talking about birding, and all the places we want to go, things we want to buy, and birds we want to see. And I hope to see you there, too.