2022 Workshops

All workshops will be held in-person this year and are free. Below is the most up-to-date schedule of programs being offered in this year's festival.

*subject to change


Learning Shorebirds  (3:15 - 4:15pm)

Cameron Cox

Displaying Long-billed Curlews; Wilson’s Phalaropes at their most gorgeous; Snowy Plovers scurrying along the shores of the Great Salt Lake; Willets screaming insults from desert rocks at those who approach their nest too closely; Red-necked Phalaropes in swirling hoards from Antelope Island Causeway; northern Utah is a special place to observe shorebirds. Now the only problem is sorting them all out! Fortunately this is much easier than it is often made out to be. Shorebirds are usually found in flocks, thus multiple species can be compared side-by-side. Using comparisons rather than obsessing over each bird individually triggers the more analytical parts of our brain and enhances memory allowing us to learn more quickly. This talk will take a lower stress, the step back and take in the large picture approach to shorebird identification rather then obsessing over details. The aim is to celebrate these incredible birds while learning in a fun way.

How to Participate in a Community Science Project  (4:30 - 5:30pm)

Markus Mika

Details coming soon!

Student Art Contest Awards  (6:00pm)

Bird Sketching 101  (6:15 - 7:30pm)
Frances Ngo- Tracy Aviary

Join Tracy Aviary’s biologist Frances Ngo for an introduction to bird sketching! This 1.5 hour workshop is geared towards beginner artists. During this workshop, we will explore observational drawing techniques and the basics of drawing bird forms. Frances will share tips for sketching birds in the field and lead participants through guided exercises. Bring your sketchbooks and pencils and get ready to draw! Supplies will be provided if you don't have your own or are just getting started.

 Saturday, May 14

Introduction to Bird Photography: Getting Started and Finding The Artist Inside You  (8:00 - 9:00am)

Tom Mathewson

This is a quick introduction to taking great bird pictures. We’ll cover basic theory as well as the best camera settings and saving your pictures. Then we’ll look at shooting techniques for bird photography, and finally examine how to tap your own artistic vision to capture those great bird scenes.

Parade of Raptors  (9:30 - 10:30am)


Join HawkWatch International educators and Raptor Ambassadors to see three different raptors up close. We'll discuss what makes raptors different from other birds, and how different types of raptors have adaptations shaped by where they live, how they hunt, and what they eat. This program is great for all ages and experience levels.

Duck, Duck, Goose!  (10:00 - 11:00am)

Cameron Cox

The Great Salt Lake area is loaded with ducks, geese, and swans; from the common Canada Goose to the charismatic Cinnamon Teal. The talk will celebrate the diversity of waterfowl that call northern Utah home either as a breeder, wintering species, or migrant. We will learn how to rapidly sort through and identify large flocks of waterfowl and waterfowl on the wing. We will pay special attention to some of the classic waterfowl identification challenges such as Canada vs. Cackling Goose, Greater vs. Lesser Scaup, and female Cinnamon vs. Blue-winged Teal. Join us for this fun and informative look at the world of waterfowl!

Accipiter Deep Dive  (10:45 - 11:45am)
Ben Woodruff

Accipiter's (the true hawks, or forest hawks) are often dismissed and unappreciated by many birders, because they often prey on song birds. But these fascinating hawks are amazing and vital parts of the eco system. This presentation will do a deep dive into all things accipiter. Surprising genetic studies, identification tricks, shocking behaviors, wild hybridizations, and which species are suffering from the drought, and which are thriving because of it. Live birds will be part of this presentation. No matter how long you have been birding, you will definitely learn something new in this program.

*Workshop will include live birds

Bald and Beautiful  (11:30 - 12:30pm)
Ogden Nature Center

Of course we know the Bald Eagle isn't really bald. Its name actually comes from the old English word "balde" meaning white! Learn all about these majestic birds and where to find them in Utah as you meet Ogden Nature Center's Bald Eagle, Des Ta Te.

*Workshop will include live birds

Wilson's Phalarope and Their Dependence on Great Salt Lake  (12:00 - 1:00pm)

Danielle Aranda

Wilson's Phalarope number up to hundreds of thousands annually at Great Salt Lake. The poster child for interior saline lakes, phalaropes depend on Great Salt Lake for the energy to make a successful migration. You will learn about different phalarope species, their unique behaviors and why now more than ever the conservation of Great Salt Lake can impact the future of these special shorebirds.

Drawing Raptors From Life  (1:00 - 2:00pm)

Natalia Wilkins- Tyler and Hawkwatch

Sharpen your art skills by observing and sketching the "three sharps" that all raptors have in common in this hands-on, family-friendly workshop. Participants will learn from a professional scientific illustrator and draw from observation of live raptors. Artists of all skill levels are welcome and encouraged to join in the fun. We'll focus on close observation of the talons, bills, and eyes of these beautiful predators.

*Workshop will include live birds

Human Caused Raptor Problems and Raptor Rescue 101  (1:15 - 2:15pm)

Feathers for Thought: Krista Edwards, Lydia Ripplinger, Gavin Skousen

Ever wondered what “harmless” things you are doing that are directly harming raptors and other bird species? Come meet some raptor ambassadors who have been accidentally harmed by people, and learn how to identify raptors in need of help. Oftentimes, birders are the first line of defense in getting an injured bird of prey to safety. In this workshop, you will learn how to properly assess a raptor in need, and then how to safely handle and transport that raptor to a licensed rehabilitation center.

*Workshop will include live birds

The Conservation Behind Falconry and How To Be One  (2:15 - 3:15pm)

Utah's Falconer's Association

Falconry is more than just having a fancy raptor "pet". Falconry is a companionship formed with a raptor to hunt in the most natural way possible: predator vs. prey. In this workshop, learn from representatives of the Utah Falconer's Association and their falconry birds on how falconry is conservation, and how to get involved in falconry yourself

*Workshop will include live birds

MOTUS for Phalaropes  (2:30 - 3:30pm)

Adam Brewerton and Margaret Rubega

MOTUS is a cooperative network of telemetry receivers to track migration patterns of smaller birds where weight is a limit. How the technology works and how it is applied to Phalaropes.

Shorebirds of Great Salt Lake  (3:30 - 4:30pm)

Ella Sorensen, John Neill, and Max Malmquist

Every year millions of shorebirds representing 42 species congregate on Great Salt Lake (GSL). It is one of the largest concentrations of shorebirds on Earth, and yet, compared to waterfowl and colonial nesting species at GSL, they have received relatively little attention. Nine shorebird species nest and rear young, but many more use the lake as a fueling stopover during migration with some departing flights lasting thousands of non-stop miles. For many species of shorebirds, such as Marbled Godwits, Wilson’s and Red-necked phalaropes, and American Avocets, GSL provides habitat for a large percentage of the world’s population. Productive shorebird habitat is determined by water depth, type and extent of vegetation, and type of food items available with salinity driving the variety and occurrence of both vegetation and macroinvertebrates. Each shorebird species shows a preferential niche. This presentation gives the first comprehensive evaluation of shorebirds of Great Salt Lake.

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