Joint Conference of OBA and WOS in Astoria, September 10-14, 2020

Astoria, Oregon, photo by Diana Byrne

For our Annual Conference in 2020, we are offering something for the first time: a combined meeting of the Oregon Birding Association and the Washington Ornithological Society. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Birding Association, and for WOS, this is the 32nd annual gathering. We want to have the opportunity to share our joy in birding with some great field trips, wonderful social time, and a couple of fine evening programs. Detailed information is provided below (and field trip descriptions will appear on the website as they become available).

For our two evening programs, we’re offering presentations by two of the most respected and appreciated ornithologists in the country. Friday evening, Dr. Dennis Paulson will present his “Stump the Experts” program that WOS members are delighted to share with their OBA friends: it will be a fun challenge in bird ID for every birder. Saturday evening’s keynote speaker will be Dr. John Fitzpatrick, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He and his wife Molly are travelling from New York State to join us for the weekend. All our members are aware of reports recently in Science that 2.9 billion birds have been lost over the past 50 years. Our respective boards felt it would be useful to step back for a look at the “big picture,” and Dr. Fitzpatrick (often referred to as “Fitz”) can provide that. Plus, many of us interact with Cornell almost daily via eBird, which he has been instrumental in developing. Come with your questions about all aspects of birds, eBird and birding!

Registration

Registration for our conference will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 28, 2020. A link to the registration site (PlanetReg) will be available through both the WOS and OBA websites.

Important Dates:

Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. Online registration opens via links on WOS and OBA websites

Sunday, August 9, 2020. Late Registration begins ($25 fee)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Online registration closes

Thursday, September 10 through Monday, September 14. Conference in Astoria (limited onsite registration is available, excluding meals)

Registration packet pick-up and other registration functions, such as field trip changes, will be at tables in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10. Thereafter, it will be at tables in the entry foyer at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall from 5:30-6:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Events and Programs at the Annual Conference

All of the following events will take place at the Expo Hall, Clatsop County Fairgrounds,
92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria, Oregon

Friday evening, 5:00 pm, WOS Business and Awards Meeting
A no-host bar and complimentary salty snacks will be available during the meeting.

Friday evening, 6:00 pm, Social hour for all conference attendees
The no-host bar and complimentary snacks will continue to be available.

Friday evening, 7:00 pm, Pasta Supper
Sign up for this at registration. The cost will be $20. Entree selections will be listed on the respective websites well before registration begins.

Friday evening, 7:45 pm, “Stump the Experts” with Dennis Paulson, assisted by Shep Thorp
Please join us all for this interesting, challenging and fun event that WOS members will be delighted to share with our OBA friends! Dennis, a retired professor at the University of Puget Sound and former Director of the Slater Museum, is a fount of information in many areas of natural history, particularly birds and odonates (dragonflies and damselflies). Dr. Shep Thorp is a Master Birder and veterinarian from Tacoma.

Saturday evening, 5:00 pm, OBA Business Meeting
All OBA members are encouraged to attend.
A no-host bar and complimentary salty snacks will be available during the meeting.

Saturday evening, 6:00 pm., Social Hour for all conference attendees
The no-host bar and snacks will continue to be available.

Saturday evening, 7:00 pm, Banquet Dinner
This will be a full, three-course dinner for which sign-ups, and entree selections, will be taken at registration. Meal choices will be available on both websites well in advance of registration, and the cost will be $40.

Saturday evening, 7:45 pm, Keynote Talk by Dr. John Fitzpatrick
Dr. Fitzpatrick has been Director of the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell for 26 years. He and his wife Molly have journeyed from Ithaca to be with us and we know his talk will be very useful and informative. The topic of his talk will be posted on the websites when we receive it.

Meals at the Conference

With the exception of the complimentary salty snacks and the no-host bar which will be available for the business meetings on Friday (WOS) and Saturday (OBA), as well as the dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings (sign-ups at registration), please plan to provide your own food for all other meals, drinks and snacks. (NOTE: box lunches will not be offered this year.)

Please join your fellow birders for fine meals and presentations Friday (pasta supper) and Saturday (banquet dinner) evenings. You will be able to buy additional meals during your online conference registration process for those accompanying you to the dinners but who are not registering for the conference itself. Catered meals may not be purchased at the conference, as the caterers will have already been given our final numbers and will be unable to vary from them. Meal tickets with your meal choices will be included in your packets at the registration tables. (Please see registration table locations under “Registration” heading above).

Lodging for the Conference

Our headquarters hotel for the conference will be the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, at 204 Marine Drive, in Astoria (phone: 855-214-4563, website: astoriahie.com). The hotel is located along the waterfront at the base of the Astoria Bridge. They have set aside a block of 55 rooms for our attendees, and those rooms may be booked by phone or online (An access code for our room block will be shared when we receiver it for those who wish to book online). The rooms have the usual, expected amenities (Wi-Fi, refrigerator, etc.). Room rates have been quoted at $149 (single king or double queen, City View) and $165 (single king or double queen, River View), plus 13.8% tax.

The other two “major” hotels along the waterfront are the Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel, at 555 Hamburg Ave., Astoria (phone: 833-322-8633, website: bestwesternastoria.com); and the Hampton Inn and Suites Astoria, at 201 39th Street, Astoria (phone: 855-214-4563; website: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/astorhx-hampton-suites-astoria).

All of these hotels are a 10-15 minute drive from the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, where field trip carpools will organize and where the evening events will occur.

There are many other hotels in the Seaside/Gearhart area, further south on the Oregon coast, as well as in or near Astoria. There are several RV camping sites at the fairgrounds (electricity and water provided, but not sewer), for a $35/night fee. To book those facilities, contact Colleen Larson at 503-325-4600; colarson@co.clatsop.or.us. No doubt other RV or camping options are available for those who may wish to investigate them.

COVID-19 Updates: At the time of writing (mid-March), there is much uncertainty having to do with the coronavirus pandemic. We don’t know where we will be with this in three months (registration time), or in six months (at the time of the conference), but we will keep you updated on our websites if there are changes to the plans.