Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, is pleased to host the 2013 meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Archbold Biological Station is a non-profit research facility devoted to long-term ecological research and conservation of the organisms and environments of the Lake Wales Ridge, an ancient, sandy ecosystem of south-central Florida and a biodiversity hotspot of rare and endemic species.
Central Florida is known for many birding specialties, several with western-affinities such as Florida Scrub-Jay, Crested Caracara, Sandhill Cranes, and Burrowing Owls. By the end of March, many species with Caribbean affinities, such as White-crowned Pigeons, Gray Kingbirds, and Black-whiskered Vireos, can be found in the southern portions of Florida (2-3 hours) and fall-outs during spring migration along the Gulf Coast at places like Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County can be spectacular. In addition, the breeding season of the Florida Scrub-Jay, as well as many other local species, will be in full swing… we might offer the opportunity for a working holiday by asking volunteers to help find nests! The research on scrub-jays at Archbold is one of the longest, continuous studies of a marked population of birds in the world.
Archbold Biological Station protects 5,193-acres of globally significant Florida scrub. Other Archbold divisions are our working ranch, the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center (10,500 acres) and the restoration landscape of the Archbold Reserve (3,648 acres). All of these sites offer excellent opportunities for birding. Locally, we also have great birding locations, such as Highlands Hammock State Park and Avon Park Air Force Range, site of Archbold’s research on several listed species such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. A vast diversity of ecosystems occur within 2-3 hours of Archbold, including Florida Dry Prairie, the Everglades, the Florida Keys and their hammocks and reefs, Ocala National Forest and it’s amazing springs….not to mention world-famous attractions for the entire family, such as Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios among many that are within 2 hours.
The meeting will be held in Archold’s new LEED Platinum Lodge and Learning Center. Attendees will have opportunities to meet Archbold scientists, tour our labs and learn about our diverse research. We will offer morning bird walks, and post-meeting field trips, in addition to suggestions for self-guided trips. Housing on-station is limited, shared, but inexpensive; however, there are several nearby (5-6 miles) hotels. We will offer a catered meal plan whether you stay on the station or at a hotel. Lake Placid has a variety of restaurants, but we encourage everyone to sign up for meals. Lodging and meal costs should be relatively inexpensive. Registration and a call for papers will be available soon. The best part is that it is winter or very early spring most everywhere (i.e. still cold), but it will be summer here! For more information, contact the Local Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Archbold Biological Station, visit www.archbold-station.org.