The 2015 American Birding Expo Recap

The inaugural American Birding Expo is in the books, and we believe this first one can be filed under WOW! Here are some highlights:

  • The Expo featured more than 85 exhibitors (all space was sold out!)
  • Almost 1,200 people registered in advance as VIP attendees.
  • Weekend attendance was estimated at 2,500+ birding consumers
  • 41 total countries were represented among exhibitors, attendees, and sponsors!
  • 35 U.S. states were represented among exhibitors, attendees, and sponsors!
  • We raised nearly $6,000 via donations to the three Expo conservation causes.
  • Representatives of 26 bird clubs participated in the Bird Club Coffee Break & Brainstorm on Saturday afternoon.
  • The American Birding Association Members’ Summit, held immediately prior to the Expo, attracted more than 100 attendees.

The Expo was held on the scenic grounds of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center (GIAC) and Scioto Audubon Metropark. Inside GIAC were the major optics companies/retailers, artists, and book sellers/publishers, along with several other key exhibitors and hosts. Outside, covering a huge area of the GIAC parking lot, was an enormous (50-by-200-foot), all-weather tent inside which were another 50+ exhibitors. In the adjacent lot was a 30-by-90-foot activity tent, where evening gatherings for exhibitors, sponsors, and hosts were held and exhibitor spotlight talks were presented during daylight hours.

Our exhibitors were almost universally thrilled with the number of consumers with whom they got to interact. Even the crummy rainy, cold weather on Friday and Saturday did not slow down attendance at the Expo. And Sunday’s beautiful weather finished the weekend off nicely.

Mark your calendar now—in LARGE BOLD LETTERS WITH PERMANENT INK—for the 2016 American Birding Expo: September 16–18. Same place. More exhibitors. More fun.

Yes the 2016 Expo has shifted earlier in the season for 2016. This is due to scheduling conflicts at both the venue and with a certain college football team that plays home games in Columbus.

For Attendees

If you made it to the 2015 Expo you know why there’s nothing else like it for birders in North America. Where else can you speak in person to people from so many far-flung corners of the globe—birding travel experts who will gladly help you plan the trip of a lifetime? Where else can you completely take your time while testing all manner of optics and gear, augmented by detailed product advice from experts? At the American Birding Expo! You can view a complete list of 2015 Expo exhibitors here and visit their websites for more information.

For Exhibitors

More than 95 percent of our 2015 exhibitors have indicated that they’re coming back next year. Some want double booths; some will be bringing more staff. We’ve already added a dozen new exhibitors who will join us for the first time in 2016. We once again expect to sell-out all exhibitor space, even with a doubling of our capacity. So please make your plans now to be a part of the 2016 American Birding Expo. If you are not currently on our contacts list for Expo updates, you can join it here. We’ll be sure to keep you informed as details emerge and exhibitor registration opens.

New for 2016

Some of the new ideas we’re hoping to include in the 2016 Expo include:

  • A Brainstorm for Birding Festivals, featuring input from organizers of several of the most successful events both in North America and worldwide.
  • Donate your Old (but still working) Optics to Conservation.
  • A Birding Film Festival featuring movies and documentaries about birds and birding.
  • Other Cool Ideas —but you’ll have to come to the Expo to see for yourself!
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About Us

Bird Watcher’s Digest, a bimonthly magazine for birders, was founded in Marietta, Ohio, in 1978 by Elsa and Bill Thompson, Jr. BWD also publishes Watching Backyard Birds for backyard birders. Over the decades, BWD has expanded to include other modes and channels of content creation and distribution: websites, videos, podcasts, blogs, booklets, print and e-books, birding gear, and events, most notably the Midwest Birding Symposium, BWD Reader Rendezvous, and the American Birding Expo.

Client Testimonials

Bird Watcher's Digest and the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival has enjoyed a  long-time working partnership. Both organizations experienced phenomenal growth while making the appropriate internal and external changes to compete in the world of birding and nature-based activities. The Thompson family and BWD staff are mentors who best promote your event or product. Each customer receives the same caring service whether first or long time advertisers.

Neta Harris

Celestron is proud to team with organizations like Bird Watcher’s Digest. Advertising and sponsorship efforts are integrated smoothly and our participation at their events like the recent American Birding Expo in Columbus, Ohio allow us to build our relationships with people in the outdoor enthusiast community.

Michelle Meskill

BWD has been a part of our promotional plan for several years. The team and Thompson family are wonderful partners, the readers are dedicated birders. BWD should be considered for the media plan of any brand, service or venue that needs to reach this target audience in a trusted, welcoming environment.

Bill Wilson

Our experience working with BWD is multifaceted. BWD is professional and trustworthy. We find them friendly and loyal. They know the birding business and have a strong following. Our advertising with BWD enhances our image and produces sales. BWD is a family business like ours, which we know works best with birders.

Keith Hackland

The BWD team makes things happen in a big way. Working with Bill, Dawn, Kyle, Mollee and the whole crew at the American Birding Expo was fantastic. As we've come to expect, the event flowed smoothly and seamlessly throughout. We're already looking forward to the next one!

George L. Armistead
Events Coordinator / American Birding Association

Its been fantastic working with the professional team at The Bird Watchers’ Digest and we appreciate their help in promoting us to their readership and fans.

Adam Riley

We know when the magazine lands in people’s hands because our phone rings! And it’s been that way from the first ad over a decade ago. That makes me feel old.

Geoff Heeter

Working with the BWD team has been great for our company, and we are pleased to see their magazine and online presence going from strength to strength. We are loyal fans of BWD!

Leon Marais
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