For the first time in history of the British Birdwatching Fair (usually shortened to Birdfair), first started in 1989, the event is not being held at Rutland Water, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the event is now being held virtually, with both live and precorded lectures and discussions, as well as virtual exhibitor “stands” and an art gallery.
The library of recorded lectures will be released daily from 18 August, and will be available to watch for three months after Birdfair.
Some highlights of the event include:
- State of the Earth Question Time, chaired by Dominic Dyer, with panel members Dr Jane Goodall, Chris Packham, Lizzie Daly, Craig Bennett, Sir Ian Boyd, Liz Bonnin and Will Travers.
- State of the Earth Next Generation Question Time Panel, chaired by Dominic Dyer, with panel members James Miller, Dara McAnulty, Mya-Rose Craig, Bella Lack and Sophie Pavelle.
- The Gaia Girls: can women save the natural world? Chaired by Lucy McRobert, with panel members Judy Ling Wong, Tessa Boase and Jamey Redway.
- Birding live on location in Europe and Africa.
- Author’s Forum with talks from authors including Helen Pilcher, Matthew Oates and Richard Lewington, and interviews with authors such as Patrick Barkham and Megan McCubbin.
There is also a competition for young wildlife photographers to enter with the theme of ‘Best Wildlife Photos from your area’, which is sponsored by Canon and closes at 12noon on Friday 21 August. A Canon Ambassador will judge the competition and select the top five pictures for each of the three age brackets.
The finalists will appear on the Virtual Birdfair website and be judged by the public on an online voting system and the winning photograph in each category will be announced on the Virtual Birdfair website.
This year’s Birdfair will have no charge for any of the events, but organisers hope that attendees will donate all or some of the normal ticket price to contribute to this year’s project to help stop the illegal bird trade in South Africa.
As usual, BBC Wildlife Magazine is a sponsor of the event and has a special 3 issues for £5 offer for attendees.
*3 issues for £5 offer is only available to UK residents paying by Direct Debit. After your first 3 issues your subscription will continue at £18.99 every 6 issues. If you cancel within 2 weeks of receiving your 3rd issue you will pay no more than £5. BBC Wildlife magazine is published 13 times a year. Your subscription will start with the next available issue. Offer ends 30 September 2020.