AOS Spring 2023 Meeting features Dwight Cooley discussing the nearly 100 years of bird conservation at Wheeler NWR

Bachman's Sparrow photo by Curt Burney Dwight Cooley is a native Alabamian who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 36 years at various locations throughout the southeast including Merritt Island NWR in Florida, Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR in Mississippi, and Alligator River and Pea Island NWR’s on the North Carolina Outer Banks. From 1997 until his retirement in 2016, he served first as Deputy Project Leader and then Project Leader at the Wheeler NWR Complex in northern Alabama. This amazing complex encompasses seven national wildlife refuges covering over 12,500 square miles and is one of the most visited refuges in the South.

Dwight is the Alabama Ornithological Society’s Keynote Speaker for the 2023 Spring Meeting (21-23 April) at Dauphin Island. His talk is entitled “A Grand Experiment—Approaching a Century of Bird Conservation at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge” and will focus on Wheeler’s rich history, its very unique beginning and partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and importantly, the successes and challenges facing Wheeler today. Dwight’s professional interests revolve around migratory bird management, habitat management and restoration, endangered species management, and connecting people with nature. He holds a BS in biology from Athens State University and an MS in zoology and wildlife from Mississippi State University.

The AOS weekend will include several field trips led by knowledgeable birders from the area. This time of year along Alabama’s Gulf coast provides amazing opportunities to observe the huge diversity passing thru as well as check out the early breeders in action. Given the right conditions, coastal birding in April has the potential to be epic!

The Alabama Ornithological Society welcomes new members. Dues and fees are modest and birders of all ability levels are welcome. Dues for current members are due in January.

Information about how to register and also a schedule of events and field trips is available HERE.