Roanoke Valley Bird Club VSO Annual Meeting April 29-May 1, 2016

Ah, spring birding in the mountains and valleys of Roanoke. Come experience it for yourself. We are lucky to have a diverse assortment of habitats that attract a wide variety of migrant and resident birds. From yellow-crowned night-herons and Louisiana waterthrushes on our local streams to cerulean warblers on our mountaintops, from grasshopper sparrows in our fields to ovenbirds in our forests—the Roanoke area has it all. There will be a few field trips offered Friday afternoon (preregistration required; descriptions can be found in this newsletter) and lots more on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. There will be stationary, driving, and hiking trips of varying degrees of difficulty so you can choose one that's right for you.

We will start the weekend with several field trips Friday afternoon (preregistration required at 540-580-5214 or RVBC2015@OUTLOOK.COM).

Pick up your registration packets and sign up for Saturday and Sunday's field trips beginning Friday afternoon. You may sign up for a boxed lunch to take on your field trips Saturday and/or Sunday. Lunches will include sandwich, chips, cookie and beverage for $13 each. Otherwise lunch is on your own at the Sheraton’s award-winning Shula’s 347 Grill or at another of the fine restaurants Roanoke has to offer. Field trip leaders may have suggestions for restaurants in the vicinity of your trip. The hotel also offers complimentary shuttle rides to Valley View Mall for its guests, where you will find a wide variety of places to eat. For breakfast at the hotel you may purchase a hot breakfast buffet or menu item at Pi Kitchen, or lighter fare at the Market, both opening at 6 a.m.

Enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and cash bar Friday evening while you browse through the vendor tables and peruse the items up for bid at our silent auction. Then attend the short business meeting, which will be followed by the ever popular and always entertaining Jerry Via of the New River Valley, with his program entitled "Birds of the Roanoke Valley and Mountains." This program will help familiarize you with what species we are likely to encounter.

On Friday and Saturday, be sure to look for our silent auction with many wonderful bird and outdoors-oriented items, as well as some exciting gifts and discount coupons for restaurants.  If you’re suffering from “warbler neck” after all the great birding Saturday morning, try a relaxing chair massage; we suggest a donation of $1/minute to the trained massage therapist.

After a morning of birding on Saturday, relax at the hotel while visiting the vendor tables and attending a series of short lectures at the papers session in the afternoon. That evening you can again enjoy the hors d'oeuvres and cash bar, mingle with friends you seldom see, and maybe even make some new friends. You won’t want to miss the banquet Saturday night, featuring Pete Dunne as keynote speaker. In his program, "Small-Headed Flycatcher," Pete will recount the rediscovery of a bird believed extinct (if it ever existed at all) whose discovery was claimed by both Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon, and this dispute lies at the heart of the discord between these twin pillars of American Ornithology. The yarn has a modern as well as historic focus and will be enjoyed by birders and non-birders alike. Pete will be doing a book signing at the banquet, and Buteo Books will have an assortment of his books available for purchase, or you can bring one from your own collection. If there’s a particular book you’re looking for, contact Buteo Books at or 434-263-8671.

Limited exhibit and vendor space is available.

Prices are $10/individual, $20/business, and nonprofits are free. Limited advertising space is available in the program. Rates are $90/full page, $60/half page, $45/quarter page and $25/business card size.

Sunday morning there will be more field trips to attend as we wind up the weekend's activities. How would you like to win a chance to go birding with Pete Dunne on Saturday? He has agreed to let us raffle him off for a fun morning of easy birding. You can purchase as many raffle tickets as you'd like using the registration form. At the close of registration, we will draw the winning tickets and notify the winners.

Pete Dunne

Pete Dunne, Ambassador for New Jersey Audubon, retired Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, founder of the World Series of Birding, contributor to many major American birding magazines, and author of more than a dozen books on birds, birdwatching and bird conservation, started birding when he was 7 years old. In 2001, he received the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association for lifetime achievement in promoting the cause of birding. Eric Stiles, president of New Jersey Audubon, calls him a "birder, teacher, natural history maven and master chronicler of the natural world."


The Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center at 2801 Hershberger Road will be our base of operations. You do not have to stay at the hotel to attend the meeting, but everything other than field trips will happen there. The Sheraton is conveniently located just off I-581 eight miles south of I-81. The hotel is less than two miles from the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport and from Valley View Mall, a major shopping center with numerous restaurants. Guests can take advantage of the hotel’s free shuttle service to both. The hotel has set aside a block of rooms for us at the special rate of $99.00 plus tax. That rate will be available for 3 days prior to and 3 days after the meeting for those who wish to come early or stay on after the conference to experience more that the Roanoke area has to offer. Rooms must be reserved by April 8 to take advantage of this special rate. All reservations are subject to a 72-hour cancellation policy. Reservations can be made online here. You can also reserve a room by calling the hotel central reservations number at 800-563-3535, or by calling the hotel directly at 540-563-9300. To receive the special group rate, attendees should identify themselves as part of the Virginia Society of Ornithology 2016 Annual Meeting.

The recently renovated hotel offers rooms that include free internet, cable TV, a refrigerator, a large desk, Sheraton Sleeper beds and in-room coffee by Starbucks. Dining options at the hotel are Pi Kitchen, opening for breakfast at 6 a.m. as a courtesy to us early birds, with an ala carte menu as well as a buffet breakfast for $13.95; The Market, open at 6:30 a.m. with light fare; and Shula's 347 Grill for lunch and dinner. Other hotel amenities include a full bar, fitness center, indoor pool, and an ATM. Find out more about the hotel, such as their pet friendly offer and their Make a Green Choice option, at

We look forard to seeing you in 2016. Don't forget to check the RVBC Facebook page or Roanoke Valley web site at roanokevalleybirdclub.comoften.

VSO 2016 Annual Meeting Call for Papers

The Virginia Society of Ornithology invites scientific presentations for its 2016 Annual Meeting to be held April 29 – May 1st in Roanoke. This meeting is a joint event with the Roanoke Valley Bird Club. Oral presentations should be 15 minutes long, including time for questions. Static displays (such as posters) will also be accepted space permitting. Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee and added to the program until the schedule or display space is full. Please submit the following information about your poster or presentation no later than March 14, 2016. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by March 21, 2016.

  • Oral presentation or poster
  • Presenting author’s name
  • Presenting author’s contact information:
    postal address, email address, phone number
  • Institutional affiliation (if applicable)
  • Names of co-authors (if applicable)
  • Title of oral presentation or poster
  • Brief abstract (250 word limit)
  • Audio-visual needs (e.g. laptop and LCD projector,
    overhead projector, slide projector)

Send information (email preferred) to Carole Massart
Phone: 540-890-4806
Postal address:
Carole Massart
1777 Thomason Lane
Goodview, VA 24095