Stimulating conversation on native birds on offer at Bellingen Writers Festival

Published 08 May 2019

Visitors to the annual Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival are in for a special treat this year with well-known animal behaviour and avian expert, Emeritus Professor Gisela Kaplan from the University of New England, confirmed as one of the featured authors appearing at the event.

Prof. Kaplan will share her extensive, in-depth knowledge of native birds - both ancient and modern – with festival goers during a series of talks scheduled daily for the duration of the event.

On Friday, she will present ‘Exceptional native birds in an ancient landscape’ at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre.

“It’s a lesser known but significant fact that songbirds evolved in Australia (East Gondwana), survived the latest mass extinction 65 million years ago and from there radiated to other parts of the world,” Prof. Kaplan said.

On Saturday, Prof. Kaplan will participate in a panel discussion entitled ‘Science Fact, Science Fiction and the Environment’ alongside another University of New England academic, lecturer in Peace Studies Dr Marty Branagan.

Sunday, she will deliver the featured talk ‘Birds in your Backyard – from community science to art’ at the Bellingen Youth Hub.

Prof. Kaplan, who is attached to the UNE School of Science and Technology, has become a public voice for science on wildlife, especially native birds, and regularly features as an expert on national and international media.

She specialises in vocal and cognitive behaviour in animals and birds and is a prolific writer with over 250 research articles and 22 books to her credit. Her previous books include the Whitley Award winning Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds, as well as Australian Magpie and Tawny Frogmouth.

Prof. Kaplan’s books appeal to bird lovers, amateur ornithologists and naturalists, as well as those with a scientific or professional interest in avian behaviour and ecology, and anyone interested in the importance of native birds to the environment.

Her latest updated, and much expanded second edition of Australian Magpie: Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird will be launchedat the Festival.  Copies of these three latest books, including Australian Magpie will be available for purchase during the festival.

The Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival will run from Friday 7 June to Sunday 9 June with events scheduled to be held at a number of local venues.

Booking is essential to avoid disappointment. More information on the festival can be found here:

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