Keynote Speakers

2019 – Kenn Kaufman

kenn-wadaingKenn Kaufman is considered a legend among birders. In 2008, he was presented with the highest honor of the American Birding Association, the Roger Tory Peterson Award for a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding. He is field editor for Audubon magazine and a regular contributor to numerous birding magazines. A devoted conservationist, he works vigorously to promote the appreciation and protection of nature.

Most of his time, however, has gone into writing books, such as Kingbird Highway, Flights Against the Sunset, and Lives of North American Birds. In 2000, his first field guide, Birds of North America, was published to acclaim for its innovative technique to identifying birds and his Kaufman Field Guides series now includes volumes on birds (in English and Spanish), butterflies, mammals & insects.

He and his wife, Kim, keep busy with birds and rock music from their home base in northwestern Ohio. See

2018 – Al Batt

Al BattAl Batt of Hartland, Minnesota is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist. Al writes humor and nature columns for many newspapers and does regular radio shows about nature. He writes a number of popular cartoon strips that are syndicated nationally and is author of the book, “A Life Gone to the Birds.” He is a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and writes for a number of magazines and books. He is a trustee of the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines, Alaska. Al has hosted TV shows, speaks around the country, and has received numerous awards. Al speaks to anyone who will listen. His mother thinks he is special.

 2017 – Sheri Williamson

sheri_williamsonAfter more than 20 years of general birding and hawkwatching, Sheri L. Williamson’s life got hijacked by hummingbirds when she and her husband and colleague Tom Wood moved to Arizona to manage The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve. A quarter century later, Sheri is still obsessed with these rainbow-hued warriors, feeding them year round, maintaining a hummingbird garden, writing about them in her blog, and banding hundreds of them each year. She currently serves as Director of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory and is working on a revision of _A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America_ in the Peterson Field Guide Series, originally published in 2002.

2016 – Pete Dunne

petedunnePete Dunne is a birder and writer, founder of the World Series of Birding, former Director of Natural History Information for the New Jersey Audubon Society, former Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, and currently Birding Ambassador-at-Large for New Jersey Audubon. He is well-known for his columns and contributions to many magazines and is the author of numerous books.

 2015 – Paul Baicich

BaicichDSCN0525scrPaul J. Baicich has been an active birder since his early teens in New York City. A is a former employee of the American Birding Association(1991-2003). Paul’s concerns include an abiding interest in bird conservation and studies in the breeding biology of North American birds. He has co-authored (with the late Colin Harrison) A Guide to the Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds (1997). Paul also has co-led a number of birding tours and workshops to Alaska. These Alaska destinations include the Aleutians, the Pribilofs, the Seward Peninsula, and St. Lawrence Island.

Among his many other activities, he worked for the National Wildlife Refuge System on a consultant basis on issues of popular birding and parallel refuge receptiveness. In addition, Paul co-edits (with Wayne Petersen) the popular monthly Birding Community E-bulletin. His latest work, a history of bird feeding in the US, co-authored with Margaret Barker and Carrol Henderson, will appear in 2015. Visit his website


2014 – Laura Erickson

Laura Erickson isauthor of four books, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award andseveral conservation, research, and writing awards, and contributing writer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She’s been producing her radio program, “For the Birds,” for a quarter of a century, sinceMay, 1986.  Visit her website at

2013 – Greg Miller

Greg Miller ’s exploits in attempting to break the world’s record for the most bird sightings in North America in one year were recorded in the feature film The Big Year, based on the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. Greg’s character in the movie was played by Jack Black. For more about Greg, visit his website at

 2012 – Jeffery A. Gordon

Jeffrey Gordon

Jeff is the president of the American Birding Association, a writer, photographer, and naturalist. A lifelong nature enthusiast, Gordon worked as an interpretive naturalist, spent many years leading birding tours around many areas of the globe, and is a frequent speaker and trip leader at birding and nature festivals. Among his many projects, Gordon authored 11 of the chapters in the 2005 book Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges, For more information on Jeff’s activities, visit

 2011 – Bill Thompson III

Bill Thompson III

Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, the popular bimonthly magazine that has been published by his family since 1978. An avid bird watcher since the age of eight, Bill knew that birds would someday become the focus of his life. He’s the author of many books and his lighthearted and thought-provoking blog, Bill of the Birds, on the Bird Watcher’s Digest website, attracts nearly 1,000 daily readers from all over the world.




2010 – Julie Zickefoose

Julie Zickefoose

Julie Zickefoose is a widely published natural history writer and artist. Educated at Harvard University in biology and art, she worked for six years as a field biologist for The Nature Conservancy before turning to a freelance art career. Her observations on the natural history and behavior of birds stem from more than three decades of experience in the field. She has presented illustrated lectures for nature organizations and festivals across the country, and exhibited her paintings at universities, museums, galleries, and juried shows. Bird Watcher’s Digest has published more than 30 of Julie’s articles and 17 of her cover paintings since 1986.
Read more about Julie at

 2009 – Sharon Stiteler, aka The BirdChick

Sharon Stiteler

Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was about seven and snapped.  Since then she has done whatever it takes to avoid a real job and get paid to watch birds. She’s a freelance writer and author, and writes one of the highest rated birding blogs on the Internet, which has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Newsweek.  To learn more about Sharon and her adventures visit


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