Rebecca Laflam of Falmouth was surprised to see such a range of ages – from 20-somethings to those in their 70s – at the shorebird seminar Tuesday in Portland.

Hillevi Jaegerman, 27, of Portland, thought it was refreshing to see such an eclectic mix of birders who came to learn about shorebirds that migrate through Maine.

That’s what you get when you hold a birding talk at a microbrewery.

Nick Aschauer, the barman at Rising Tide Brewing, wasn’t that surprised because, he said, this is Maine. Why wouldn’t people sit for an hour at a microbrewery, beer in hand, completely engaged in a talk by a bird biologist?

“I don’t actively seek these talks out but I was looking forward to this,” Aschauer said. “I don’t normally work Tuesday nights but wanted to hear this.”

The talk given by Maine state shorebird biologist Lindsay Tudor was part of a lecture series hosted by the brewery and Freeport Wild Bird Supply owners Derek and Jeannette Lovitch.

Rising Tide donated $1 from every beer sold during the event to bird conservation work in Maine.

Last year there were eight “Birds on Tap” talks at Rising Tide that drew as many as 70 people. In 2017 there will be 10 seminars.

The Lovitches also coordinate birding trips with the Maine Brew Bus, finishing each three-hour adventure in southern or central Maine at two microbreweries. The Birds on Tap road trip started in 2015 and offered six trips this year. The cost of these events is $65, with the beer-tasting included.

The birding seminars at Rising Tide’s tasting room in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood are free. Root beer is offered at no cost to birders. Yet many in the group could be seen sipping a pale ale or lager.

“I am a biologist who works in aquaculture,” Jaegerman said. “I’m used to going out at work or at the university to talks. This was more casual. You can drink while you learn.”

Not everyone at Rising Tide that evening was there for the birding semimar. But what was surprising was how the din of pub talk that filled the cavernous industrial space came to an abrupt end when the birding talk began. The dozens who filled the L-shaped bar and pub tables listened intently to Tudor’s PowerPoint presentation as she spoke for an hour on shorebird migration.

She explained how 38 species of shorebirds who nest in the Arctic make an annual migration to South America, stopping in Maine on the way. Because these Arctic breeders only lay about four eggs – compared to, say, ducks, which can lay 12 to 15 eggs – adult shorebird survival on the migration flight is imperative. The good news, Tudor said, is these tiny, frail birds are long-lived.

“The little least sandpiper has the longevity record, at 18 years,” Tudor quipped. “That’s their strategy.”

The talk was not technical. It was conversational, funny and informative. Tudor made fun of the birds’ long, skinny legs and puffed-out feathers – but clearly rallied people to help these birds better survive their difficult journey.

“They are on a tight schedule,” Tudor said. “If the habitat here is degraded, they don’t have time to shop around. They’re your birds when they’re here. They’re your responsibility.”

Much about these birds’ life story was remarkable – with some flying as high as 10,000 feet on their annual migration flight and others covering 5,000 miles in a six-day journey from the Arctic to Brazil.

“This is a photo of a whimbrel,” Tudor said. “They look stupid but look what they can do.”

After 50 minutes of bird biology, Tudor looked around and, seeing the audience attentive and silent, continued to talk about new efforts in the Atlantic flyway to help shorebirds. When she was done most lingered to ask her questions or talk with other birders.

Last call at the bar was 8:45 p.m., with the brewery still buzzing. A handful of bird biologists who came in casual attire looked around and were not surprised.

“Most people who like birds also like beer,” joked Alex Dalton, a bird biologist who works at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham.

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