DEAR ABBY: I am a professional ornithologist (bird expert) with a substantial record of accomplishments — books, scientific papers, blog, website, consultant work, etc.

My hometown has held a bird festival for more than a decade and each year it features a main speaker at the dinner.

My expertise and experience far outshine that of any of the speakers they have invited by a considerable margin. I am well-known in town, but have not been asked to speak.

I talked to the festival board members, and they say I haven't been deliberately excluded, but they didn't give me any reason why I have been ignored.

There's no history of bad feelings, but I'm starting to develop some now. It feels like a personal and professional snub. How do I respond?

— Unappreciated in California

DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: You're not alone with this dilemma.

To paraphrase a verse from the Bible (which also sounds like Rodney Dangerfield), "A prophet is without honor in his own hometown."

Because the festival board members have been made aware that you are qualified and would like to be a speaker, it's time to step back.

Make other plans for when the festival is held. It's possible your absence may make their hearts grow fonder.

However, if it doesn't, at least you won't be sitting at home and brooding. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) n