Thursday, June 25, 2020

YOU are invited!

Yellow Warbler

When: Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 7:00 pm CDT
Where: Laura's Zoom Conference Room
My Patreon supporters (and people who contribute back-channel) will get an email invitation automatically.
Anyone else: email me before June 30. First come, first served up to 100 people total.
Topic: Nesting Birds

At 7 pm Central Time on the first of every month, I'm going to be providing a free program by invitation only as a special gift for everyone who supports me via Patreon (or with back-channel contributions to me directly). I just launched Patreon a couple of weeks ago, and so far it's been going very slowly. I don't want to speak to a mostly empty house, and know that in this tricky time, many people have taken even bigger cuts in pay than I have and can't comfortably afford to give me money, so this time around, I'm inviting everyone who reads my blog or listens to my podcast to come for free. 

People supporting my work at any level, starting at $1 a month, either via Patreon or a comparable personal donation (email me to get my address) will automatically get an email invitation to my Zoom conference room (as long as you've signed up by June 30) and don't need to do anything more. I'll send the invitations out on June 30. 

And for this first program, I'm happy to invite non-supporters, too. Just send me an email with the subject line: Program Invitation.  

Since 1986, I have had zero financial support for "For the Birds" except for one year in the 1980s, when the Superior Radio Network got a grant to pay me $300 a month for the radio program, and the two years that I wrote a blog for an optics company. The other 31 years that I've produced my radio program/podcast, this blog, and my website, it's been entirely at my expense. Your contributions will help me cover the many costs involved in producing all this content as well as these new monthly programs. This year in particular, all my spring and summer speaking engagements were cancelled, cutting out my primary source of income for the year, and my writing income has had to be cut back, too. So your support will really be helpful!

I've set up Patreon to allow contributions starting at $1 a month. Patreon recommends starting at a higher level, and at that low level, my share is about 45¢, which isn't much. (The percentage I get is higher at higher levels.) But a great many of my friends, and people who are interested in birds in general, don't have a lot of discretionary income, especially these days, and there are a lot of worthy causes out there. That's okay—little by little, 45¢ contributions do add up. Of course, I welcome higher contributions as well, so I've set up six levels of support. 

Meanwhile, even if you don't or can't make a contribution, you're invited to that first program. I'll be talking about nesting backyard birds, with LOTS of photos! If you are wondering specifically about species in your own backyard, let me know. I won't necessarily have access with the rights to use photos of a lot of species, but I'll see what I can come up with. 

So far I have enough Patreon supporters to pay for my Zoom Pro account, which allows me to invite up to 100 participants for these online programs. I simply cannot invite more than that unless I've got enough supporters to increase my Zoom membership level (I have to pay $15 per month now to invite no more than 100 people. That would go up to $65 per month if I increase it to 500). On the off-chance that I get more requests than the 100 spaces I'm allowed to fill without enough contributions to cover the added expense, I'll send out those Zoom invitations on a first-come, first served basis.  

Black-capped Chickadee--fledging day!