All indoor programs will be held on the second Thursday of the month. There are no indoor programs in June, July, or August. The social half-hour begins at 7:00 PM; the program at 7:30 PM.


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Annual Banquet

May 14, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Svalbard: An Arctic Naturalist’s Paradise

Presented by Wayne Petersen

The stunning Svalbard archipelago, one of the dramatic lands of the midnight sun, belongs to Norway but is located far north of the country. Its endless summer hours of daylight, towering sea cliffs teeming with breeding seabirds, immense slopes of rocky talus, and gleaming tidewater glaciers are a constant reminder that it lies a mere 600 miles from the Arctic Circle. Characterized by a super abundance of seabirds and two iconic arctic mammals, Walrus and Polar Bear, Svalbard is a naturalist’s paradise.  As with polar oceans elsewhere on the planet, the marine environment is rich in productivity and capable of sustaining a great abundance of life. Svalbard thus hosts a wide variety of specialized creatures capable of exploiting this superabundant marine life.  Seabirds reign supreme, with species such as Northern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, and Thick-billed Murre being notably abundant. You’ll be dazzled by Wayne Petersen’s superb photos of Svalbard’s avian and other wildlife species, but his presentation will also take us beyond the archipelago’s unique natural beauty as we know it today.


Untouched arctic wilderness that it is, Svalbard remains one of the best places on earth to observe the Polar Bear, an animal potentially facing early extinction unless the current trend in global warming is reversed.  As a magnificent natural laboratory for observing and learning about the effects of climate change on bears, Svalbard offers evidence that its avian inhabitants too, including the mysterious Ivory Gull and tiny Dovekie, are increasingly at risk. As warming temperatures escalate the melting of polar ice and raise ocean temperatures, there could be devastating impacts on marine plankton and fish populations.  The resulting collapse in marine prey populations could ultimately have disastrous effects even for the currently abundant bird species such as the Thick-billed Murre and Atlantic Puffin.  Indeed, a break in ocean food chains could have tragic consequences for the long-term survival of both arctic seabirds and land animals.


Wayne Petersen is Director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program at the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Prior to that he was Field Ornithologist at the Society. For decades he has led international birding trips for MassAudubon and other ecotour groups, and he has lectured and conducted birding workshops across North America. With his extensive knowledge of the habitats, distribution, and status of the bird life of Massachusetts, he co-authored Birds of Massachusetts (1993) and is co-editor of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 & 2 (2003 ,2013).  A long list of other writing accomplishments range from pocket guides of songbirds and backyard birds to contributions to The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. He is a founding member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee and is on the advisory committees of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and our own COA, among other organizations. Currently president of Bird Observer magazine, Wayne is a recipient of the American Birding Association’s prestigious Ludlow Griscom Award for outstanding contributions in regional. ornithology.   

Don’t miss this festive event—always great company, great food, and a great program. Reservations required; watch the spring newsletter, Club emails, and the Club website for details and reservation forms. Early reservations are greatly appreciated!

 Please remember to bring cash to the banquet to pay for your drinks at the cash bar and to buy tickets for the always-fun raffle of interesting, exciting, and worthwhile prizes!



May 14, 2015
7:00 pm
Event Category:


New Haven Bird Club