“All fields have their mega-conferences. Tech has the Consumer Electronics Show, business has the World Business Forum, design has 99U—the list goes on. These conferences function as idea supercolliders, bringing together thousands of speakers and listeners to be informed, inspired, and probably a little overwhelmed, too.
Ornithology is no exception. While bird conferences that bring together delegates from their respective countries happen all over the world, no ornithological meeting is quite like the one hosted by the International Ornithologists’ Union: the International Ornithological Congress (IOC), a seven-day extravaganza with a schedule packed daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Each IOC, happening every four years, features a dizzying array of symposia from every field birds could possibly touch, ranging widely between socio-cultural fields like linguistics to mainstay ornithological disciplines such as systematics to booming, newfangled fields like big-data citizen science.
IOCs don’t stop with talks and other presentations. In classic mega-conference form…”
In the latest issue of Birding Magazine, I take a different angle in the News & Notes column. Instead of telling the story of three different research projects as per usual, I use the entire space to digest the 2018 International Ornithological Congress—a mad flurry of 1600+ bird folk sharing a vast array of insights & discoveries.
My hope is that the column gets across how rich and varied an experience it was, and even more importantly, drives home the importance of events like these in our historical moment.
Thanks for reading,