"I wanted to thank you for offering the workshop that was led by Dr. Jim Davis. I found it to be both enjoyable and informative. Dr. Davis is extremely knowledgable about the area and was able to answer questions pertaining to the local flora and fauna as well as answer some of the more technical questions regarding videography. I found the most enjoyable part was his ability to share his insights on how nature works and how to put it into story form. It has given me a whole new perspective on the different behaviors that we regularly see while observing nature."
Betty Kolar, Homosassa Springs, Florida
"Jim Davis, the presenter was phenomenal. He explained how one can observe the behaviors of wildlife through the use of digital equipment and software. Amazingly, it is through observation that a story begins to emerge about a particular species. What a better way to observe, witness, and learn about wildlife firsthand! The workshop participants shared their observations followed by a Q&A session. The content of the discussion provided valuable information, and changed my perspective and increased my awareness on how I view nature. For me, it is exciting to be able to apply this knowledge and improve my skills ... from my perspective in a kayak on paddling trails. I highly recommend this workshop and am looking forward to learning more at Jim's next workshop."
Jessie Williams, Ph.D., Media For Conservation
"Dr. Davis, Congratulations on a very successful Terra Explorer pilot workshop. I relished your great suggestions on nature videography and most of all your guidance on ways to "see" nature. This workshop reinforced my impetus to go out in nature, find the captivating stories unfolding in my own back yard, and to archive these stories visually to share with others. The Terra Explorer offers a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts, both professional and amateur, to share their passion and insights about the natural world with others--and I intend to use it! Thank you for a most stimulating and informative workshop. I highly recommend Jim as a speaker as he is both informative and entertaining.
Previous lectures and workshops
Carrol Henderson, Nongame Wildlife Program Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
"I would like to extend my recommendation to birding clubs and Audubon groups regarding the excellent presentations that are given by Dr. James Davis about "interpretive birding" and bird behavior. One of the enjoyable things about observing birds is that it can be done at many levels of interest and intensity. Interpretive birding represents a rewarding technique that is relaxing, exciting, and can lead to behavioral discoveries that have gone unnoticed by observers in the past. There are fewer and fewer naturalists who emulate the fine art of patient bird observation that were perfected by Dr. Alexander Skutch with his lifetime of bird studies in Costa Rica. Now Dr. Davis is helping us learn the skills that help make behavior watching a very rewarding and enjoyable avocation."
Steve Weston, officer in charge of organizing programs
"After attending a recent talk given by Dr. Jim Davis at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Ornithological Union's, I highly recommend Jim as a speaker. I whole hearty encourage Audubon chapters to avail themselves of the opportunity to experience his exciting program. I am sure that many birders will share my enthusiasm for Interpretive Birding, a unique style of bird that has forever altered the way I look at birds. As program officer, I have scheduled Jim to give a talk at the Minnesota River Valley chapter. We had several other members at the meeting, who later contacted me specifically to suggest that we bring in Dr. Davis to speak."
Dr Rosemary Murray, Visitor Services Co-ordinator, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Australia
"Dr. W. James Davis has been involved in a series of interactive Interpretive Birdwatching Walks at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. What started as a trail program quickly became one of the most popular activities in our community education program attracting both experienced and inexperienced birders. Jim's enthusiasm, interactive style and sound knowledge of his subject allowed all to participate and enjoy the two to three hour program. The popularity of the program was such that there was frequently a waiting list for the next walk or additional walks were organized. I have no hesitation in recommending Dr Davis for similar program
Brian H. Bell < www.peregrinenorthwest.com>, Birding & Natural History Guide, Seattle, WA.
"I have recently attended an Interpretive Birding workshop conducted for the Seattle Audubon Society by Dr. Wm. James Davis. I highly recommend the workshop and Jim as an instructor/presenter. Jim brings considerable knowledge and enthusiasm to the topic of watching and interpreting avian behavior. He is also attuned to the needs of workshop participants in that he effectively answers questions to help individuals understand the information being presented.
Rosalind Philips, Olympia Washington
I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Davis speak at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia Washington. He spoke eloquently on Interpretive Birding, a birding method that moves beyond the initial thrill of listing species to studying bird behavior. His presentation was full of interesting information, anecdotes, good visuals and illustrated how to take the doldrums out of summer birding by concentrating on the behavior of a few local species. I was pleasantly surprised by how consistent Dr. Davis was in his use of citations.
As the 1994 winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, I was impressed by how accessible Dr. Davis was to the younger people in the audience. Dr. Davis is a dynamic speaker who draws his audience into the conversation by posing questions and actively encouraging participants to ask questions. The bird walk I took with Dr. Davis the following morning demonstrated that he possesses the same skills in the lecture hall and in the field. What a revolutionary morning of birding. I will never look at cowbirds or warbling vireos the same way again!
Dr. Karen E Russell, Dept. of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University
I have been birding, now, for several years. As my birding skills mature, I find I want to know more about the biology of particular species. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a morning field-workshop conducted by Dr. Jim Davis as part of the Brownsville Birding Festival. The focus of activity was on interpreting behavior. In just a few short hours, Dr. Davis was able to teach the group some of the basic skills of observing bird behavior. He pointed out certain postures, activities, bird-bird interactions, and flock interactions, all of which I had never fully appreciated. I particularly enjoyed the way Dr. Davis persuaded the participants to voice their observations. Once we did this, he encouraged us to offer an interpretation about what a particular behavior might mean. Throughout the morning, the group became more confident in describing observations and expressing interpretations. I thoroughly enjoyed the session and have begun practicing some of those basic principles. I strongly recommend these and similar sessions with Dr. Davis to other birders and hope to participate in future workshops, when the opportunity arises.
I have subsequently subscribed to the Interpretive Birding Bulletin. One of the many reasons I like to bird is to learn as much about a particular species as I can. I have several books about identification, migration, and conservation, but my library contains very little information about bird behavior. Issues of the Bulletin are filling this void. I have found the Bulletin to be a wonderful resource for learning about avian behavior. I also think this publication will prove to be a valuable addition to the current literature for all levels of those interested in birding.
Laurilee Thompson, Chair: Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
Thanks for bringing your innovative style of viewing birds to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.Inviting you was a gamble since I was unfamiliar with your ability to speak or your effectiveness as a trip leader. However, I am always looking for new offerings for attendees and your approach was intriguing enough to take a chance on. Based upon reactions from participants on your field trips, I am glad I did. When I asked them whether I should bring you back next year their answer was a resounding YES! Some of them suggested that I use you as a keynote speaker in the future. You received top ratings and good comments on the evaluation sheets they filled out. The enthusiasm that you generated in our guests was greatly appreciated. I look forward to seeing you next year. Jim returned in November 2003, to give keynote address and workshop. Nice job.
Georgann Schmalz, President, Atlanta Audubon Society
Bird watching and watching birds are two complementary activities in Jim Davis' mind. Not that there's anything wrong with bird watching, he cautiously tells a skeptical crowd of avid birders at our monthly meeting of the Atlanta Audubon Society. But you can take your passion to another level if you just take the time to simply watch birds as they go about their daily activities. Far more interesting and fulfilling than just checking a bird off a list, observing a bird's behaviors can make you feel much more connected to them. Even obsessed listers can learn by patiently observing what birds are doing. And while it might take an educated person to interpret these behaviors, anyone can enjoy discovering how birds do things; eating, bathing, flying, swimming, foraging, anting, sunning, grooming, and even, courtship and mating.
How do you add watching birds to your birding? In a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable presentation, Jim Davis teases his audience with examples of intriguing behaviors by various birds. He takes you beyond just noticing and describing these behaviors to questioning their origins and functions. His slides show some behaviors that you may have seen before, but this time he guides you carefully through a process of really noticing and interpreting what you are seeing.
This is a highly recommended presentation for not only beginners but also for advanced birders. Give it a try, he advises. It's the only way to really appreciate and understand the complex life beyond each check you place next to a bird's name.
Dr. Dan May , officer in charge of organizing programs
Jim Davis spoke to the monthly meeting of the Atlanta Audubon Society in January, 2002, on bird behavior. His talk, well-illustrated with slides, was the most interesting and engaging talk on birds that I have heard in many years. Jim conveyed a large amount of information and ideas in an enthusiastic manner, involving his audience throughout. I wasn't the only one who appreciated Jim's talk - afterward, several members came to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the presentation. (I am in charge of programs for our meetings, and it was nice to have my choice of speakers so well validated.) Jim also led a Saturday morning interpretive bird walk for a small group. He did an excellent job in having us look and listen very carefully to the birds we encountered, to describe what we heard and saw, and only then to attempt to interpret it. It was great - an excellent way to expand the value of more traditional bird walks.