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Sandhill Crane Festival

November 4-6 · Hutchins Street Square · Lodi, CA

November 4-6, 2016

Hutchins Street Square · Lodi, CA

800-581-6150 ·

Presentations and Workshops

Saturday, November 5, 2016

10:30-11:20 – Wild Things!
Patio off Kirst Hall
Gabe and Barb Kerschner return with some of their special animals for this fun and educational program. In past years they have shared a mountain lion, brown bear, raccoon, Golden Eagle, Barn Owl, and other rescued animals that could not be returned to the wild. This presentation repeats on Saturday at 1:40 PM.

10:30-11:15 Introduction to Sandhill Cranes
Crete Hall
In this brief introduction to Sandhill Cranes, you will learn about their life history, behavior, migration routes, and why our California Delta is so important to cranes. Presented by Alan England, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Crane Preserve docent and long-time local Audubon Society member.

12:00-12:20 – Taiko Drumming
Crete Hall
Welcome back Denis and James Kurata, who will perform this ancient form of Japanese music that has been a Festival highlight for 19 years. Taiko drumming originated in Japan hundreds of years ago and is now performed all around the world.


Featured Presentation

12:30-1:20 – Owl: A Year in Their Lives
Crete Hall
Photographer Paul Bannick uses his intimate yet dramatic images to share a year in the lives of North American Owls through four distinct habitats. Each stage in an owl’s life is chronicled: courtship, mating, and nesting in spring; fledging and feeding of young in summer; dispersal and learning independence in fall; and, finally, winter’s migration. More than just a backdrop, the four featured owl habitats – forest, grassland and steppe, boreal, and Arctic – reveal wildly rich stories of their own.

Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls is a new stunning follow-up book to Bannick’s bestselling The Owl and the Woodpecker, giving bird lovers yet another gorgeous photographic tribute and a compelling call to preserve the habitats that sustain these most iconic of birds. Paul will be selling and signing his books in the Exhibit Hall during the Sandhill Crane Festival.

Paul Bannick is an award-winning and widely published wildlife photographer specializing in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat. He has received the Canon Prize of the International Conservation Photography Awards, as well as first place in the “Birds and Their Habitat” category in Audubon magazine's annual contest. He lives in Seattle; learn more at


1:40-2:30 – Wild Things!
Patio off Kirst Hall
See 10:30 AM Saturday.


2:00-2:30 California Delta DVD
Crete Hall
This will be the first fully public showing of a wonderful video produced and narrated by Delta conservationist and farmer Dino Cortopassi.  It is a 30-minute fly over of the Delta that forms the core of the Lodi-area Sandhill Crane wintering habitat.  Featured is the private conservation property that Mr. Cortopassi developed to attract and support wintering waterfowl, particularly ducks and geese.  This birds-eye view is a real treat!

2:40-3:30 – The Private Lives of Sandhill Cranes
Crete Hall
Sandhill Cranes communicate with each other in a variety of ways, including dancing, body language, and vocalizations.  You will learn about crane behavior, including how to distinguish between dancing and aggression and many other details that will help you better understand and appreciate cranes in the wild.  The presenter, Paul Tebbel, has worked with cranes since 1976, including 11 years as the director of Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River in Nebraska.


2:40-3:30 – Owl Pellet Exploration!
Upstairs Classroom
Come learn about the Barn Owl and dissect an owl pellet to discover what it has eaten in this hands-on activity for children.  Be a nature detective by matching up the bones in the pellet to small mammal bone charts.  Parents are recommended to attend and assist each child under 11 years old.  Limit 14, sign-up for this free activity at the Oak Grove Nature Center table in the Exhibit Hall starting at 10 AM on Saturday.



Sunday, November 6, 2015

10:15-10:45 – California Delta DVD
Crete Hall

See 2:00 PM on Saturday.


10:30-11:20 – The Secret Lives of Raptors
Patio off Kirst Hall
Join Native Bird Connections for an intimate look at the behaviors, life experiences, and personal stories of several birds of prey.  Witness hawks and owls up close and learn their unique stories.  Native Bird Connections will bring several live, non-releasable birds - possibly a Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Eagle Owl, and others.  This presentation repeats on Sunday at 1:40 PM.


11:00-11:45 – Introduction to Sandhill Cranes
Crete Hall

In this brief introduction to Sandhill Cranes, you will learn about their life history, behavior, migration routes, and why our California Delta is so important to cranes.  Presented by Alan England, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Crane Preserve docent and long-time local Audubon Society member.


11:30-12:20 – DigiScoping with your Cell Phone Camera
Holz Room

It’s fast and easy to "digiscope" with the camera that is already in your pocket – your cell phone! James Blackstock of Out of This World Optics will demonstrate adapters to connect your cell phone camera to various spotting scopes and binoculars. This is an easy way to create a telephoto lens for your cell camera. Out of This World Optics is a retailer of binoculars, spotting scopes, and telescopes and a vendor in the Exhibit Hall.


Featured Presentation

12:30-1:20 –An Ethiopian in the Delta: Sandhill Cranes, Corn, and the Struggle to Find Balance in a Complicated World
Crete Hall

Dawit Zeleke with The Nature Conservancy will share the challenges and successes he has experienced managing Staten Island, a 9,300-acre farm that enhances wildlife habitat while it competes to be economically viable.  His presentation highlights the real-life struggles in finding equilibrium between interagency cooperation, food production, and the need to conserve our resources.  Dawit will also discuss his journey from Ethiopia to the Cosumnes River and Staten Island.

Dawit Zeleke is Senior Advisor for Conservation and Agriculture with The Nature Conservancy.  Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he immigrated to the United States in 1976 and earned a BA in Cultural Anthropology.  Dawit has worked for The Nature Conservancy for 24 years and currently manages Staten Island in Walnut Grove, where he is responsible for setting the strategic vision for their wildlife friendly farming operation.


1:30-5:30 – Bird Carving Workshop for Beginners
Upstairs Classroom

Join master carvers from the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association to learn how to carve a bird from wood.  All of the necessary materials, including a study guide and carving knives, will be provided.  Short lectures with lots of hands-on carving time will enable you to complete a life-size Dunlin in a feed pose.  Suitable for ages 14 and older, class size is limited to 8.  For more information and to register during the Festival, stop by the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association table in the Exhibit Hall.  Advanced registration is available online.


1:40-2:30 – The Secret Lives of Raptors
Patio off Kirst Hall
See 10:30 AM Sunday.


2:00-3:00 –Butterfly Gardening for the Anthropocene
Crete Hall

Interest in gardening for butterflies is at an all-time high.  In this talk Art Shapiro, author of the UC Press Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, will give an overview of the principles of butterfly gardening – some of which may surprise you!  Always an entertaining and engaging speaker, Dr. Shapiro is a Distinguished Professor of Evolution and Ecology at U.C. Davis.  He promises to include lots of "oh, my" slides.