Finding and identifying shorebirds in New York State
Speaker: Shai Mitra, PhD
New York State hosts an exceptional variety of shorebirds every year, with a real potential, anywhere, almost any time, for many additional vagrant species. This talk will focus on tactics for finding and studying these beautiful birds, using clues such as season, local conditions, weather, and location. A primary principle involves techniques for close study, to familiarize oneself thoroughly with the appearance, behavior, and modes of occurrence of the more common species. Familiarity is the key to distinguishing some of the most challenging look-alike species—and to preparing oneself for an encounter with a rarity. Special emphasis will be given to geographical and ecological factors that influence shorebird occurrence in the Hudson-Mohawk region.
Shai Mitra has studied birds in the northeastern United States and around the world for more than 40 years. He received a BA in Biology from Cornell Univesity in 1989 and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago in 1996. From 1996-2000 he operated a major bird-banding station at the Fire Island Lighthouse, on the South Shore of Long Island. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of Staten Island, with research interests in the areas of avian ecology, evolution, and conservation. Shai is Editor of The Kingbird, the quarterly publication of the New York State Ornithological Association; co-compiler of bird records for the New York City and Long Island region; Chair of the Rhode Island Avian Records Committee; and co-compiler of the Southern Nassau County and Napatree, Rhode Island, Christmas Bird Counts.
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