In case you didn’t know, 2018 has been named the Year of the Bird by the National Geographic Society and the National Audubon Society, among others. It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which protects thousands of species of migratory birds and their migration corridors. With that in mind, there has never been a better time to enjoy America’s most popular pastime: birdwatching.
New birdwatchers (as well as experienced birders) will be pleased to know that they will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the adventure and pleasures of birding when the newly expanded American Birding Expo returns to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA on Friday, September 21 through Sunday, September 23, 2018. This informative weekend will provide a friendly stepping stone in advancing their birding interest and expertise.
The Expo will provide the opportunity to learn about the latest in outdoor gear, accessories, optics, cameras and other equipment, as well as nature tours to worldwide destinations, special presentations, bird walks, and demonstrations. More than 100 exhibitors from all over the world will be on hand to share their expertise with birders and other nature enthusiasts ready to move to the next level of experience.
New to this year’s expanded Expo is the unique opportunity to field test the many kinds of optics on the market in an indoor Optics Range. The range realistically simulates outdoor birding conditions, allowing consumers to test optics side-by-side. “With hundreds of makes and models of binoculars and other birding optics available, it’s easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed,” said Bill Thompson, III, founder and director of the Expo.
“The Expo optics range gives all levels of birdwatchers and other outdoor enthusiasts an unparalleled opportunity to try a variety of products, with optics experts on hand to answer questions.”
The impressive range of products and services is why the American Birding Expo is often referred to as “the World of Birding in One Place.” It has always been committed to helping nurture the next generation of birds through the sharing of information. A perfect example of this goal starts each morning at 7:30 A.M. with free morning bird walks.
Open to the general public, these two-hour walks bring new and seasoned birders together. Starting at various locations convenient to the Expo Center, these informative walks offer an excellent opportunity to see the rich panoply of naive birds while learning from the expert guides from area bird clubs.
Another invaluable opportunity open to birders and nature enthusiasts of all skill levels are the keynote presentations that takes place each. Certain to enlighten and entertain, these presentations by some of the best-known names in the birding community will offer a front-row seat into the diversity of this popular pastime.
Presenters include a self-proclaimed “bird-nerd” who became the first human to see more than half the planet’s bird species in an epic round-the-world birding trip. Scourged by blood-sucking leeches, suffering fevers and sleep deprivation, surviving mudslides, torrential floods, and war zones, Noah Strycker is a humorous and inspiring author who will leave you with a new appreciation for determination in achieving a goal.
Film and TV actor Lili Taylor will deliver a special presentation on how her two loves have come together as she reveals how the techniques she uses as an actor are great assets for being a birder. Her acting skills have been lauded both on the big screen and TV for her performance in such works as Mystic Pizza, I Shot Andy Warhol, The Conjuring, American Crime and Six Feet Under.
On Family Day Sunday, Carrie Barron, Assistant Director of the John James Audubon Center, will be joined by an eastern screech owl and a barred owl for a presentation that offers a window onto these deadly predators of the sky and the amazing adaptations that have made them so deadly.
Friday and Saturday offer a full schedule of daytime presentations and activities presented by experts covering a wide range of topics such as photography, international conservation efforts, bird-watching skills, gardening, technology, travel, ecotourism, optics, and more. Invaluable to the new birder is the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and all the exhibitors at the expo. And just as useful is the opportunity to interact with other more experienced birders who may be attending.
The American Birding Expo is sponsored by Bird Watcher’s Digest in association with the American Birding Association and Audubon Pennsylvania. As the premier showcase for the full spectrum of the birdwatching industry, the Expo supports bird conservation on many levels.
A portion of the entrance fee, sponsor contributions and fund-raising programs support the Expo Conservation Fund which provides conservation and environmental education. The fund also supports BirdLife International’s efforts to protect critically endangered bird species, as well as the American Birding Association and their work in protecting the declining rufa red knot.
The $10.00 entrance fee covers all three days with children 17 and younger free. Advance tickets are available online at www.AmericanBirdingExpo.com.