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Welcome Bill Thompson III

Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest by day. He’s also a keen birder and the author of many books including The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of Eastern North AmericaIdentify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges and Bird Watching For Dummies.  Bill is also a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, the host of the “This Birding Life” podcast and a regular speaker/performer on the birding festival circuit.

His North American life list is somewhere between 673 and 675. His favorite bird is the red-headed woodpecker. His “spark bird” was a snowy owl. He has watched birds in 25 countries and 44 states. But his favorite place to watch birds is on the 80-acre farm he shares with his wife, artist/writer Julie Zickefoose. Some kind person once called Bill “The Pied Piper of Birding” and he has been trying to live up to that moniker ever since.

A Recap from the Tawas Point Birding Festival

This year’s Tawas Point Birding Festival was one for the books, for many different reasons! The weekend started off rough with some less than favorable weather and we had to cancel our highly anticipated pelagic tour because of six foot waves that were forecasted on the bay, not to mention the temperature was only suppose to reach 45 degrees with some pretty high winds!

But on Friday, it all turned around! A batch of insects hatched and the weather warmed slightly and it brought up tons of birds, especially warblers! The trees were literally dripping with birds, many right at eye level! One tour at the State Park even saw 21 warblers species in one hour!

Book Signing

Tom Stephenson (right) and Scott Whittle (left) signed copies of their book, The Warbler Guide and helped attendees learn how to ID warblers!

Our keynote speakers, Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, authors of The Warbler Guide where a huge hit at our Birder’s Social and participants walked away with some top-notch birding information and signed, personalized books. Tom and Scott were also able to get some great birding experiences in too, they even said the event was some of the best birding with the highest density of birds they have seen.

Even with the rocky start, this year’s event was one of the best yet! We hit a record number of species, 187 to be exact. And we had several new tours and events. One of the notable new events was the Garlic Mustard Pull out at the Tawas Point State Park, where volunteers pulled a total of 235 pounds of Garlic Mustard!

3 birds

The feeding station at the State Park was a constant buzz of birds including the Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and many, many more!

The Michigan Young Birders Club was another new event feature this year and a huge hit! The young birders went on and led their own birding tours and gave superb, extremely informative programs throughout the day on bird related topics!

Group Shot

New for the 2014 event, the Michigan Young Birder’s Club showed the event participants that the future of birding is in good hands!

The fun didn’t stop there, check out the rest of our recap numbers from this past weekend!

Total species observed: 187
Total number of tours provided: 37
Total number of programs presented: 19
Total number of participants: 330
Farthest distance traveled to get to the event: 2,400 miles from Santana Barbara, California 

Uncommon species observed:

  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Summer Tanager
  • Rudy Turnstone
  • Black Tern
  • Little Gull

Notable Species:

  • Kirtland’s Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Piping Plover
  • Northern Mockingbird

Want to learn more about the Tawas Point Birding Festival and be among the first to receive event announcements? Then JOIN Michigan Audubon today! And make sure to mark your calendars for next year’s 10th Anniversary of the Tawas Point Birding Festival, May 14-17, 2015!








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