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By Stu Mackenzie, Migration Program Manager, Bird Studies Canada

For more than 100 years, researchers driven by a thirst for knowledge have been establishing bird observatories all over the world. Each observatory is uniquely suited to its local geography, landscape, community, economy, and, of course, bird life. Nevertheless, these facilities all work toward a common purpose: supporting bird conservation through observation-based science and education.
From October 26-30, 2017, representatives from observatories around the world flocked to New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory to share knowledge and strengthen ties. It was only the second time ever that an International Bird Observatory Conference has been held. One hundred and fifty participants hailing from five continents, 15 countries, and 74 organizations partook in an extended weekend jam-packed with activities relating to all aspects of running a bird observatory: research and monitoring, public outreach and education, fundraising, governance, engagement organizing, and conservation.
Bird Studies Canada was proud to support and participate in the organization of the conference. The bird observatory model is a cornerstone of our programming, given that our organization grew out of a bird observatory. Bird Studies Canada continues to operate Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO), and plays a leading role in Thunder Cape Bird Observatory and the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN). Our Migration Program Manager, Stuart Mackenzie, and CMMN Science Committee Chair, Ricky Dunn, sat on the conference’s Steering Committee and Program Committee. Both of us presented on a range of topics including LPBO’s ‘road to 1 million birds banded,’ Observatory Networks, and the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. In total, six Canadian observatories (members of the CMMN) were represented.
The conference was a great success, with all attendees benefitting from the opportunity to connect and exchange knowledge and experience. The renowned migration spectacle in beautiful Cape May made it all the better. We’re eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to get together. Where will the next conference be held… perhaps Switzerland, or Israel?
To learn more or connect to the global community of observatories doing important work for birds, visit:
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the development of Bird Studies Canada and our partnering bird observatories. Your support is making a difference for the welfare of wild birds, in Canada and around the world!

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