The seventh North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC VII), which came to a close on Saturday, August 15, was a resounding success! The conference, organized by nine societies and originally planned to convene in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was moved online as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic grew. This virtual gathering provided an opportunity for nearly 3,000 attendees to share and discuss their efforts in the realms of avian research and conservation, bringing this science to an international audience, meeting the conference’s goal for broad accessibility and engagement. Professional and amateur ornithologists, students, educators, resource managers, conservationists, and other bird enthusiasts participated from 67 countries and represented all continents except Antarctica—it was a truly global interchange of ideas!
If you missed the conference, you can still view the recorded scientific presentations by registering here! Access to the session recordings will be available to non-attendees from Friday, August 21, through Wednesday, September 9, but you must register for access by Thursday, August 20, at 11:59 pm EDT. Printable PDFs of the scientific program and abstracts are available to everyone online, regardless of their conference registration status.
The conference offered a rich slate of scientific oral and poster presentations, workshops, round-table discussions, and networking events. Each day featured one or more outstanding lectures by keynote or plenary speakers on salient topics in ornithological research and conservation. Other invited speakers shared important messages about how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession of ornithology.
The NAOC scientific program included 211 oral presentations in 22 symposia, 274 oral presentations in general sessions, 80 tantalizing ‘lightning’ talks on various topics, and 330 poster presentations, all presented live with interactive Q&A sessions. New research, ideas, and tools were also shared through live in-depth discussions in 13 round tables and four workshops. Many innovative networking opportunities, both serious and fun, allowed attendees to meet new people, catch up with colleagues, and share common interests in ornithology. Registered attendees will have access to all recorded presentations through the EventPilot app through Wednesday, September 9.
The virtual format of the conference attracted particularly high attendance from students and colleagues in Mexico, Central and South America, and Caribbean countries. Most of the plenary talks included live Spanish translations, and other presentations offered Spanish and English subtitles on the slides and posters. Many people who would not otherwise have been able to attend were able to do so, due to a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation and sponsorships from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and other partnering organizations, through generous underwriting for free registration for students and greatly reduced registration fees for everyone else. In addition to our host societies, generous sponsors, and exhibitors, we thank the tremendous efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly devoted their talents and countless hours of time and effort to organize and bring this monumental effort to fruition!