In the fall of 2003, Adams County Amish resident and local bird authority Roman Mast stood in his back yard and dreamed of bringing the Adams County Amish community an event to celebrate birds and bird-watching. Together with Cincinnati Museum Center’s Edge of Appalachia Preserve Director Chris Bedel and local resident Randy Lakes, the idea was “hatched” in February of 2004 with the first ever Adams County Amish Bird Symposium. Expected to attract a few dozen attendees to the basement of local Amish businessman Larry Miller, over one hundred English and Amish from around the region filled the basement to capacity. They came to learn about birds and bird-watching from professionals and self taught Amish experts on bird related topics. So began the annual bird symposium innocently conceived in an Adams County backyard.
After the first year the event outgrew its basement beginnings and interest swelled by word of mouth. In 2005, the event was moved to Yoder Log Homes with a sellout crowd of over 240 people. Bird related vendors and live bird demonstrations were added as well as another set of compelling speakers and topics. Topics ranged from hawk and owl identification, bird migration from both the Amish and English perspective, the plight of the barn owl in Ohio and newly discovered saw-whet owl winter movements in Adams County. Again, both Amish and English attended to share stories and knowledge about their common passion—birds.
In 2006 the symposium format gelled with speakers, vendors, live bird demonstrations, silent auctions, informational exhibits at the Yoder Log Home location. Capacity was expanded and another sellout crowd demonstrated the intense interest in birds and watching around the region. Topics included bird vocalizations, sparrow identification, planting native plants for birds, birding Adams and Scioto Counties and promoting bluebird and purple martins around your yard. Today the symposium is hosted at a venue with a capacity of 300, and we continue to offer talks on all things birds, bring local vendors to sell unique artwork and hand crafted items as we continue to sell out.
None of the annual events would have been possible without the support of sponsors and the help of local organizations and individuals. This article would be remiss if not to name a few. A special thank you to the Adams County Travelers & Visitors Bureau, who is now hosting this event, We also want to acknowledge support from local businesses: Murphin Ridge Inn, Miller’s Bakery and Furniture, The Ohio Nature Conservancy, Edge of Appalachia Preserve System:Cincinnati Museum Center, and Solterra Communications to name a few.
We recommend that you complete the web email sign-up form to be alerted when registration opens. Be sure to make your reservations early so as not to miss our fun and informative event in beautiful Adams County. We hope will join us at the next Adams County Amish Bird Symposium!