The Mystery of Migration

May 17 Ocean Plaza Coastal Ecology Lecture Series to Feature Local Bird Expert Diana Churchill




(TYBEE ISLAND, GA) Local bird expert Diana Churchill will be the featured speaker at this month’s Ocean Plaza Beach Resort Coastal Ecology Dinner Lecture Series, Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at the hotel’s Dolphin Reef Oceanfront Restaurant. Churchill’s lecture will focus on the mystery of bird migration. The lecture will be preceded by a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m. in the Dolphin Reef Bar, and dinner will be served in the Dolphin Reef main dining room at 6:30 p.m. The standard Dolphin Reef dinner menu will be offered. To RSVP, please call 912-786-8400.


For thousands of years, birds have been leaving comfortable winter homes in the New World tropics to make an arduous journey to the Northern Hemisphere in order to find mates and settle down and raise families. During her lecture, Churchill will explore and attempt to answer some of the questions surrounding migration. Who migrates? Why? When do they migrate? Which species migrate in and stay for the summer? Who migrates at night? Who migrates during the day? Which species typically migrate through the coastal Low Country and what does coastal Georgia have to offer these migrants?


Churchill grew up in Savannah and developed an early love of birds and the coastal Low Country. Her family fed birds and spent family vacations on Tybee Island or camping in the mountains of North Georgia or North Carolina. She attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she majored in Spanish. Churchill took one course in ornithology during college in which she and her classmates spent a month riding around the state watching birds. She later attended massage school in Boulder, Colorado and then worked for 17 years in a private massage practice in Massachusetts. While in Massachusetts, she joined the Brookline Bird Club and became hooked on birds, particularly the spring migration of songbirds.


Since moving back to Savannah in 1998, Churchill has worked at Wild Birds Unlimited. For the past 12 years, she has penned a twice-monthly column for the Savannah Morning News titled "Birder’s Eye View." She recently turned a series of her columns into a book, "Birder’s Eye View: Savannah & the Low Country," which also features hundreds of her photographs. Churchill has been actively involved with Ogeechee Audubon for 12 years and has led birding programs and given talks for a variety of groups and organizations.


About the Coastal Ecology Dinner Lecture Series
Created by Ocean Plaza Beach Resort Innkeeper Harry Spirides, the Coastal Ecology Dinner Lecture Series is held at the resort’s Dolphin Reef Oceanfront Restaurant on the third Thursday of every month and is open to the public. The multimedia lectures, which feature topics pertaining to coastal ecology, are presented by distinguished experts in the field but given in terminology everyone can understand. There is no entry fee or cover charge to attend the presentations. The lectures are preceded by a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m. in the Dolphin Reef Bar, and the standard dinner menu is offered in the Dolphin Reef main dining room at 6:30 p.m. for those attending who are hungry. The Coastal Ecology Lectures begin at 7 p.m. and last for approximately 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period.


Among the topics covered at past Coastal Ecology Dinner Lectures were the effect of changing climates on marine ecosystems, coral habitats off Georgia and adjacent states, the declining sea turtle population, the area’s wild dolphin population and the importance of protecting blackwater river ecosystems.


About the Ocean Plaza Beach Resort
There has been a resort hotel continuously operating on the Ocean Plaza Resort property for more than 120 years. The property is located on Tybee Island, GA at 15th Street and oceanfront, about 20 minutes east of historic downtown Savannah. For more information on the Ocean Plaza Beach Resort, call 912-786-7777, email or visit


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