Bluebird enthusiasts, scientists to gather at UGA

Bluebird enthusiasts, scientists to gather at UGA

Athens, Ga. – More than 150 researchers and amateur birders will gather at the University of Georgia on Sept. 20-22 for the 2007 Annual Meeting of the North American Bluebird Society. The meeting will be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel and is co-sponsored by the Biodiversity Center at the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

Patricia Adair Gowaty, distinguished research professor at the Odum School and meeting co-organizer, said the event is an opportunity for bluebird enthusiasts to interact with some of the nation’s top researchers. The meeting is the 30th NABS convention but the first to be hosted by a university.

“I hope that bringing the NABS membership together with so many scientists will stimulate a new era of citizen science,” Gowaty said. “Understanding bluebirds can give us insight into the evolution and selection of social behavior and the basic ecology of birds. Bluebirds can also serve as sentinels for the effects of changing conditions.”

On Saturday, Gowaty will give a talk titled “Ecological Canaries: Bluebirds and the Future of Life on Earth.” Other notable presentations include:

  • Janis Dickinson, Cornell University, discussing the citizen science program at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology;
  • John Pickering, UGA, discussing discoverlife.org, a revolutionary Web site with tools for biodiversity discovery;
  • Peter Arcese, University of British Columbia, discussing how global warming might affect bluebird breeding behavior;
  • Geoff Hill, Auburn University, discussing whether and why females might prefer the bluest male eastern bluebirds; and
  • David Pitts, University of Tennessee-Martin, discussing bluebird survival in winter.

For information on the schedule and fees, visit www.nabluebirdsociety.org/. Attendees can register online or at the conference and membership in NABS is not required for conference attendance.

With roots that date back to the 1950s, the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a certification program. Founder Eugene P. Odum is recognized internationally as a pioneer of ecosystem ecology. The school is ranked eighth by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program. The Odum School is the first standalone school of ecology in the world. For more information, visit http://www.ecology.uga.edu.