Held bi-annually in Spring, Chicago Audubon Society hosts the Birding America Symposium with presentations by national and international experts who cover topics ranging from the Midwest to the Galapagos; from cranes to hummingbirds to Tundra Swans; from Alaska to Tanzania and back again, highlighting resident as well as migratory birds the world over.

Also offered are special sessions on related topics such as Nature Photography, Climate Change, and much more. This is an excellent opportunity to share your enthusiasm with others who love birds and want to protect them. All levels of birders are welcome, and beginning birders are encouraged to attend.

The Thirteenth Symposium will be held in 2020. Exact dates, topics and speakers will be announced on this website in early 2020. 

2018 Schedule of Symposium Schedule and Speakers

8:00 a.m. Registration and Refreshments

8:50 a.m. Welcome Remarks Dave Willard, The Field Museum and Chicago Audubon Society

9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker

  • Dr. George Archibald, Co-Founder and Chief Conservationist of The International Crane Foundation (ICF). Huge Wings Over Chicago and in Skies Around the World—CRANES Dr. Archibald has been fascinated by cranes since meeting them in northern Canada in 1966. In 1973, he co-founded the ICF in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Today ICF is recognized worldwide for its productive efforts to help eleven species of threatened cranes. Dr. Archibald will not only explain why there are increasing numbers of Sandhill Cranes migrating over Chicago, but he will share an update on cranes worldwide and a personal anecdote about why he danced with a Whooping Crane.

10:15 Presentations

  • Climate Change in Chicago: A Bird’s Eye View

  • Getting Your Feet Wet Birding “The Everglades of the North”: The Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area

  • Birding in Southern Portugal

  • From Niagara to the Finger Lakes: Birding Western New York

11:15 a.m. Presentations

  • Valley of Green: The History, Beauty and Best Birding Along the Fox River

  • The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

  • Gambell, Alaska: Birding on the Edge

  • Galapagos Islands Natural History

    1:00–1:45 p.m. Presentations

  • Spring Birding in the Hill Country and Far West of Texas

  • The Amazing Hummingbirds of the World k) Keith McMullen, US Army Corps of Engineers Birding Southern Illinois

  • Big Day Birding Lessions Learned as a Member of the Mighty Mighty Jizz Masters

2:00–2:45 p.m. Presentations

  • Tanzania: A Bird and Mammal Extravaganza

  • From Sagebrush Sea to High Alpine: Discovering the Great Basin’s Avian Treasures

  • Selecting Appropriate Lenses for Bird Photography

  • Tundra Swans in the Midwest: Migration Stopover Along the Mississippi

3:00 Closing Speaker Joe Wunderle, U.S. Forest service Effect of Hurricanes on Birds and their Resources in the Caribbean

Header photo: 2019 Photo Contest Second Place Winner: Double-crested Cormorant with catfish, by Leo Estrada.