by William Burt

William Burt has presented a number of slide programs over the years to audiences both large and local, including those below.

His three currently available lecture programs, all based on his books and exhibitions, are:

    * Water Babies >>  A portrait of the rarely seen downy young and adult birds of the wetlands – those that "get their feet wet," as it were – including ducks, grebes, gallinules and shorebirds, herons, etc.  Based on the recent book.  More...

   * Marshes: The Disappearing Edens >>  Explores a selection of the best of North America’s remaining marshlands, with an eye to their alluring beauty and their little-known elusive birds. Based on the 2007 book.  More..

   * Rare & Elusive Birds of North America >>  Recounts the photographer’s 16-year adventure in search of the continent’s 20 most elusive “mystery birds,” as featured in the 2001 book.  More..

To inquire about dates and fees, please contact William Burt

phone (860-434-8173) or e-mail.

All Recent Presentations (since pub. of Water Babies):

  • October 8, 2015 (Thurs.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Conn. River Museum  (Essex, Conn.)

  • December 2, 2015 (Wed.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Coastal Camera Club  (Madison, Conn.)

  • December 4, 2015 (Fri.), 7:30 PM:  Water Babies  Peabody Essex Museum  (Salem, Mass.)

  • January 7, 2016 (Thurs.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Potapaug Audubon Soc.  (Old Lyme, Conn.)

  • February 2, 2016 (Tues.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  East Lyme Pub. Library (East Lyme, Conn.)

  • February 3, 2016 (Wed.), 6:30 PM:  Water Babies  Simsbury Camera Club (Simsbury, Conn.)

  • March 10, 2016 (Thurs.), 7:30 PM:  Rare & Elusive Birds of North America  New Haven Bird Club (Hamden, Conn.)

  • April 15, 2016 (Fri.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Lyme Land Trust  (Annual Meeting) (Lyme, Conn.)

  • April 11, 2016 (Wed.), 7:00 PM: Water Babies  Bedford Audubon Soc. (Katonah, NY)

  • October 6, 2016 (Thurs.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Lyme Public Library  (Lyme, Conn.)

  • December 14, 2016 (Wed.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies  Menunkatuck Audubon Society (Branford, Conn.)

  • January 15, 2017 (Sun.), 2:00 PM:  Water Babies  Newtown Public Library  (Newtown, Conn.)

  • January 21, 2017 (Sat.), 6:00 PM:  Water Babies  Haddam Land Trust (Annual Meeting) (Haddam, Conn.)

  • January 31, 2017 (Tues.), 3:30 PM:  Water Babies Stoneridge Ret. Comm. (Mystic, Conn.)

  • February 8, 2017 (Wed.), 7:00 PM:  Water Babies Chester Village West (Chester, Conn.)

  • March 18, 2017 (Sat.), 11:15 AM:  Water Babies  Connecticut Ornithological Association (Annual Meeting)  Middlesex Community College  (Middletown, Conn.)

  • May 9, 2017 (Tues.), 6:30 PM: Water Babies  Hartford Audubon Soc. (Annual Meeting & Banquet) (Hartford, Conn.)

  • May 13, 2017 (Sat.), 7:30 PM: Water Babies  Combined (multi-hosted) event: White Memorial Conservation Ctr.; Flanders Nature Ctr.; & Litchfield Hills Audubon Soc. – at White Memorial Conservation Ctr. (Litchfield, Conn.)

  • May 23, 2017 (Tues.), 4:00 PM: Rare & Elusive Birds of North America  Stoneridge Ret. Comm. (Mystic, Conn.)

  • May 30, 2017 (Tues.), 7:15 PM: Water Babies  Masonicare at Ashlar Village (Wallingford, Conn.)

  • June 5, 2017 (Mon.), 6:00 PM: Marshes: the Disappearing Edens  Litchfield Hills Audubon Soc. (Annual Dinner) (Litchfield, Conn.)

  • July 16, 2017 (Sun.), early PM: Water Babies Norwalk Land Trust event (Norwalk, Conn.)

  • September 14, 2017 (Thurs.), 2:00 PM: Marshes: The Disappearing Edens Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, Conn.

  • November 13, 2017 (Mon.), PM: Rare & Elusive Birds of North America Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club (Annual Dinner) (Hyde Park, NY)

  • November 16, 2017 (Thurs.), 7:00 PM: Water Babies Killingworth Land Trust (Biennial Meeting) (Killingworth, Conn.)

Past Lecture Venues Include:

     “Rare & Elusive Birds of North America.”  The Hampshire Bird Club, Amherst, Massachusetts.  October 20, 2014.

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens” & “Birds of the Wetlands.”  O. C. Marsh Program Lecture, Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven, Connecticut.  April , 2013.

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens.”  The Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.  January 9, 2009.   

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens” and “Notes on Photography.”  The Nature Conservancy, 2008 Annual Convention, Eastern Region, Norfolk, Virginia.  May 29, 2008.

     “Rare & Elusive Birds Of North America.”  The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, New York.  December 4, 2007.

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens” and “Notes on Photography.”  The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland.  July 15 & 16, 2007.

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens.”  University of Connecticut, American Experience Lecture Series at Avery Point.  November 27, 2007.

     “Marshes: The Disappearing Edens.”  The Wilson Ornithological Club & Massachusetts Audubon Society’s 2007 New England Birders’ Conference, Reading, Massachusetts.  March 20, 2007.

     “Rare & Elusive Birds of North America.”  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.  April 2, 2004.

     “Rare & Elusive Birds of North America.”  O. C. Marsh Program Lecture, Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven.  January 8, 2003.

     “Rare & Elusive Birds of North America.”  Connecticut River Museum, Essex, Connecticut.  April 20, 2004.

     “Shadowbirds.”  Vaughn Memorial Lecture, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York.  April 24, 1996.

     “Shadowbirds.”  Harvard Museum of Natural History (formerly MCZ), Cambridge, Massachusetts.  October 20, 1994.

     “Shadowbirds.”  Nuttall Ornithological Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  April 4, 1994.

     “Shadowbirds.”  Feature Presentation, Massachusetts Audubon Society’s 1994 New England Birders’ Conference, Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts.  November 19, 1994.

     “Shadowbirds.”  Linnaean Society, at American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.  September 28, 1993.

     "Rails: the  Shadowbirds of Marshlands."  Connecticut Ornithological Association Annual Meeting, Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut.  March 27, 1993.

       (also numerous other museum, school & university, Audubon, nature center, & other audiences)

Water Babies

A Slide Lecture by William Burt

     The “babies” are the downy young of ducks, grebes, gallinules and shorebirds, herons, and the other birds of wetlands – those that get their feet wet, as it were – and challenging they are, to birder and photographer alike: quick-footed, wary, and well-camouflaged, to say the least; and temporary (you have only a week or two each year in which to find them).  But above all else, they are endearing.  From the comic-monster herons to the fuzzy ducklings and stick-legged sandpipers, these tots have personality, and spunk.  You see it in their faces, every one.  

     You’ll see the parent birds in this slide presentation, too.  Each downy chick is juxtaposed with the adult it will become.

     To photograph these youngsters and adults, William Burt prowled through their wetland breeding grounds each spring and summer for some 7 years, all over North America, from the arctic circle to the Gulf of Mexico.  The result: a portrait of these wild birds of the wetlands as both young and old, unknown and known, new and familiar.

How many could you recognize?


Marshes: The Disappearing Edens

A Slide Lecture by William Burt

Based on the recent book (Yale University Press, 2007), this presentation explores some of the best and least known North American marshlands, with an eye to their lyric beauty and their lurking birds.  One such marsh, a shallow prairie lake in western Canada, was visited 100 years ago by old-time ornithologist A. C. Bent, who hailed it as a great bird paradise: the region’s “crowning glory,” he called it.  What remains of it today?  Its birds?

The audience will journey to see marshes all over the continent: from New England and New Jersey south to Maryland and Florida, along the Gulf and up through the interior Midwest, west across the plains of Canada, and south to Oregon and California.


“Perhaps no other living person has spent more time in marshes than William Burt.  …Without question, Burt knows the marshes unlike any other.”

Noble S. Proctor   Ornithologist, Author, Educator (from book Peer Review)


“Naturalist Burt uses his considerable literary and photographic skills to describe the mysterious beauty of rapidly disappearing wetlands. … Capturing on film elusive spoonbills, bitterns, and herons sheltered by elegantly shaped plants with delightful names like sea pink, sweet flag, swamp rose mallow, silverweed, and blue flag, Burt delights in and educates readers about the fragility and importance of wetlands.”

Pamela Crossland   Booklist (March 2007).

“Burt melds the eye of an artist, the soul of a poet, the dedication of a religious acolyte, and the wizardry of seldom-seen nature photography to create a stunning evocation of the edenic marshlands of North America.  This is simply a marvelous production.”                       

      Bernd Heinrich   Author, Artist, Biologist

“William Burt has an enviable gift: the power, with prose and camera lens, to persuade a reader of MARSHES (Yale, $35) that these “disappearing Edens” are among the most remarkable places on earth.  Believe him.”

      Katrine Ames   House & Garden (April 2007).

To inquire, please contact William Burt

phone (860-434-8173) or e-mail

Rare & Elusive Birds of North America

A Slide Lecture by William Burt

For 16 years, William Burt pursued a stubborn mission: to find and photograph all 20 of the continent’s least known and least seen birds.  He spent weeks in the field at a time, employing his own hand-built equipment and often visiting sites repeatedly, year after year in certain cases – sometimes in the middle of the night – to get the picture he was after.  The result: his 2001 book (Rizzoli/Universe), and museum exhibition, Rare & Elusive Birds of North America.

Through this presentation the audience will journey to the marshes, plains and prairies, swamps and woodlands, in search of the rails and bitterns, nightjars, and other “mystery birds” that birders long to see.


“William Burt is a perfectionist whose photographs of rails and other shy and elusive birds of our wetlands are unquestionably the finest ever taken. He has set a new standard.”

      Roger Tory Peterson

“Through his stunning visual presentation and his informed narrative, Burt takes us into the mysterious world of America’s most elusive bird species − including those that few people have ever observed in the wild.  His words and pictures, based on years of field work with these “mystery birds,” inspire his audience to come away with newfound desire to protect and conserve the natural environment.”

Jim Berry   President, Roger Tory Peterson Institute (Jamestown, New York).

“William Burt is one of the truly great naturalist-poets, and one of Roger Tory Peterson’s finest past friends and protégés.  His photographs are nothing short of magical, and when he writes and speaks he orchestrates the two, words and pictures, with great charm and delight.”

      Julio de la Torre   Past President, Linnaean Society  (of New York City).

“More than a remarkable and beautiful collection of photographs, this book by Bill Burt provides an intimate look at some of the most little-known birds in North America.  His detailed accounts of the lives of these birds, and the special challenges and successes he experienced on his quest to photograph them all, make fascinating reading.  What really comes through, in the writing and the photographs, is his deep and sensitive appreciation on the uniqueness of each of these most intriguing birds.”


David Allen Sibley   Author, Artist  (quoted on book jacket)

“Burt … collects 16 years of work into a celebration of species that most bird-watchers have only glimpsed.  His book is familiar to readers of Smithsonian or Audubon magazines, in which his photographs have whetted the appetites of many…  Burt’s photographs reveal the subtle beauty of birds that most birders have seen only for a split second.  The accompanying essays make light of the author’s difficulties in finding and photographing the birds.  The result is a quietly wonderful book…”

Nancy Bent   Booklist   (November 15, 2001)

“Some of the 50 photographs included in the book show birds that have rarely, if ever, been captured before on film…. After reading what the author went through to get each image, it's hard not to admire his perseverance. It's also hard not to appreciate the birds themselves. I can understand why Burt concludes: "It's reassuring just knowing they are out there."

      Mark Wexler   Editor, National Wildlife magazine  (winter 2002 )

To inquire, please contact William Burt

phone (860-434-8173) or e-mail




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to contact William Burt:

phone (860-434-8173) or e-mail

All images and content copyright William Burt. All rights reserved.  Images cannot be copied, duplicated or used in any way without permission of the photographer.