We loved having multiple plenary speakers so much last year, we’re doing it again! Rather than one main speaker, we will have multiple plenary speakers by prominent ornithologists! Stay tuned for announcements on who our special speakers will be and what interactive elements you will have the opportunity to partake in this year.
Previous 2021 plenary speakers:
Dr. Jennifer Ackerman
A bird lover since childhood, Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about nature and science for three decades. Her most recent book, The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think, was published in spring of 2020 by Penguin Press and is described by reviewers as “splendid and spellbinding,” “exhilarating”, “an enthralling study of the avian world.” The book was selected as an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times and a “best science book of 2020” by NPR’s Science Friday and will be published in 15 languages. Her previous book, the bestselling The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press, 2016; paperback, 2017) is described by Scientific American as “a lyrical testimony to the wonders of avian intelligence,” and by The Wall Street Journal as “a gloriously provocative and highly entertaining book.” The Genius of Birds was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2016 by The Wall Street Journal, a Best Science Book of 2016 by National Public Radio’s “Science Friday”, and Nature Book of the Year by the London Sunday Times. It is published in 25 languages.
Dr. Patricia (Patty) Brennan
Dr. Patricia (Patty) Brennan began her wildlife career by obtaining her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from her native country of Colombia. After graduating, she studied marine mammal populations around the Galapagos Islands and Coco’s Island. She then came to the United States to pursue a PhD at Cornell University. Studying in the Neurobiology and Behavior program at Cornell, Dr. Brennan shifted her focus from marine animals to birds, working on the elusive Great Tinamous (Tinamus major). While studying this species, she was intrigued by their unique reproductive biology. For her post-doctoral project, Dr. Brennan began investigating this topic further and discovered coevolution of genitalia in waterfowl due to sexual conflict. She has continued to work on genital coevolution in vertebrates to this day. Her work has now expanded to include snakes, bats, and dolphins with different collaborators. She worked as a research professor at Umass Amherst and is currently faculty at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.
Dr. Donald Kroodsma
Dr. Donald Kroodsma traces his birdsong roots to a Bewick’s Wren singing in his Corvallis backyard just after an unusual snowstorm in January 1969. One song led to another, and to the Finley Refuge, and to half a century of birdsong since then. As a research scientist, he has received life-time achievement awards from the American Ornithologists’ Union, the Wilson Ornithological Society, and the American Birding Association. More recently he has authored books that introduce the general public to birdsong: The Singing Life of Birds (winner of the John Burroughs Medal), The Backyard Birdsong Guides, Birdsong by the Seasons, Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and most recently Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist. He lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.
Previous keynote speakers include:
- Noppadol Paothong (2020)
- Kenn Kaufman (2019)
- Dr. Pepper Trail (2018)
- Dr. Sue Haig (2017)
- Dr. Dan Roby (2016)
- Dr. Eric Forsman (2015)
Click here for archived speaker profiles and scientific programs.