Bird Fair speakers – what would you like?

This short questionnaire about Bird Fair celebrity speakers is acquiring some fascinating suggestions.  There are close to 100 responses after just a few hours.

If you would like to hear more female celebrity speakers who would they be?  A long list is growing with some favourites emerging.

If you would like to hear more female celebrity speakers then which males might have to make way for them? Again, some consensus views are emerging, but don’t worry, I’ll only summarise these in the vaguest and most general of ways (but I will pass the results on to the Bird Fair organisers).

Click here to respond – the software tells me that it takes just under five minutes to complete and that must mostly be thinking time about who you’d like to hear rather than typing time. 

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9 Replies to “Bird Fair speakers – what would you like?”

  1. It’s easy to dodge speakers by attending other sessions so I wouldn’t drop any of those volunteering to take part. It’s also easy for those invited to speak to share their sessions - Chris Packham skillfully redirects his spotlight onto guests/colleagues he feels should be heard.
    Provided they can afford to volunteer and have something to say, all good speakers should be welcomed. I’d like more education and less “here’s my photo album” talks - that should be Birdfair’s aim.
    I’m not sure celebrity matters or sells tickets (other than for the evening event) - but think there are plenty of female adventurers, naturalists, artists, film makers and writers who could be asked. For female celebrities - I’d ask Ellie Harrison (Shropshire Wildlife Trust), any of the many producing BBC natural history programmes, Lindsey Chapman (-Watch), Georgia Locock (activist), Miranda Krestovnikoff, Liz Bonnin, Laura Howard, Helen Moncrieff, Penny Anderson for starters.
    (My no.1 choice would always be Brett Westwood though).

  2. It’s a fair point to criticise the gender imbalance but I would like to know how that reflects the birding world or not. I know Miranda Krestofnikoff has been asked and declined, Georgia Locock similarly. Janet Sumner came a few times then stopped. Those that do speak are those that volunteer, it’s not always easy to get them to volunteer, sadly.

  3. I think discussion about gender is as pointless as Blair’s Babes.
    I want to hear the best speaker on any given subject and if it happens to be given by a transgender chimpanzee, that’s fine by me.

    If the point of the Birdfair is to get as many visitors as possible then big names surely must help. That would include a mix for all people including kids.

    I would like to see more youngsters given a chance. Certainly Georgina as mentioned above and Findlay Wilde. New Nature online mag has some interesting articles by the younger set, do any of the contributors fancy giving a talk?

    And yes, personally I would like more political discussions. For some, it may be the only chance they get of hearing of issues that affect us all.

    However, much of what goes on at the Birdfair doesn’t concern birds at all. And that’s good. As much as I like birds, I have enjoyed the discussions/talks in the past on Badgers and Whales and moths and rewilding. In short, I go because it’s not just about birds and I do wonder if the Birdfair where to become the Nature fair, would it be more inclusive. Are non birders being put off of coming?
    If you like plants would you go to a Birdfair? We know the answer is yes.....but does the plant lover?

  4. I filled in the questionnaire but would like to add Isabella Tree, just reading her book on Wilding at Knepp. She's the guest speaker at our local Wildlife Trust AGM in October.

  5. Nigel Scott, from his wise position as Events compere, makes a very important point. Over the years, a number of leading female wildlife TV personalities have been asked and declined. More often than not, this is because Birdfair falls in mid-August and this is perceived by them to be sacrosanct family time (especially if they have young kids) and they have been away filming for chunks of time throughout the year away from family. We must respect that. That is a work-life balance choice. We must also remember that many of the celebs (of both genders) will have partners who have no interest at all in attending a Birdfair for 3 days, especially in high summer. They will then face a tough choice as to whether to come alone. There may be domestic arrangements/negotiations at play that we are all not aware of. It was, however, lovely to see a 9 month old baby in the Green Room this year with her father whilst the mother was up on the Events stage or inspiring young naturalists in the WildZone. Creche next year?

    1. Rob - a Bird Fair creche does seem to be an idea that is gaining ground. Personally, I think it's a good idea.

      1. "both genders"

        24 hrs later the TransPolice haven't turned up frothing at the mouth so I'm guessing they aren't into Standing up for Nature

  6. I wouldn't like to see any 'casualties ' from this approach to solving the gender imbalance issue. The example of Martin Hughes Games on the Watches springs to mind in so much as it seemed he was despatched because he was too old/ white/ male or whatever. Sad, because he was a gifted presenter who was able to convey fascinating knowledge about the natural world in a way which was very appealing.
    I am more than happy to hear anyone who has interesting things to say on the matters which concern me at events such as Birdfair....but here's the rub. More and more the event seems to be more about promoting far flung exotic wildlife holidays. The 'talks' are also mainly about 'let me tell you about my far flung exotic wildlife adventures'. I was there only on Friday and attended only one talk....the BTO talk on feeding garden birds. This appealed to me because it was about something which I am involved in and I wonder if this was so for the many who also queued. I would like to see more of this type of thing and more 'local' ie UK based projects.
    As for the issue of male celebs as eye candy....well what can I say that hasn't already been said...other than ( and sorry about this guys) I don't think Poldark need worry too much about stepping aside any time soon !

  7. I note that County Bird Clubs have a low profile, this probably reflects a declining and ageing membership and an uncertainty about their role. Highlighting best practice, maybe an award, might help revitalise the sector and be just as interesting as travelogues selling holidays.


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