Birding Basics Class
April 27 @ 6:30 AM - 11:00 PM
Become a better birder! In this class, you’ll develop a breadth of knowledge and skills to better appreciate Vermont’s common and not-so-common birdlife. Identify species from sight and sound by scrutinizing field marks and decoding birdsong. Understand avian ecology and interpret behavior by exploring a wide range of habitats and natural communities. Participate in Vermont bird conservation by immersing in local avian research programs. Whether you are a backyard birdwatcher ready to expand your knowledge, or a passionate naturalist seeking a fun new approach to field ornithology, this course is the perfect primer for better birding in Vermont.
This course meets four times, for a total of 20 hours of instruction.
Limited to 10 participants. Fee: $95/$110 NBNC members/non-members. This registration fee covers all four classes.
Class 1: Spring Sights and Songs
April 27th 06:30 – 11:00 AM
Our first class focuses on techniques for field identification by sight and sound. As we welcome early spring migratory songbirds back to the Green Mountains, we’ll decipher how to use field marks, flight pattern, behavior, and habitat as clues to identification. We’ll also explore different resources available for birders to learn and practice species identification.
Class 2: Ecology and Life History
May 19th 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Our second class will bring us to a variety of habitats across Vermont to meet a wide cross-section of local avifauna. We’ll explore wetlands, fields, forests, and lakes to see how various species overcome the challenges presented by different ecosystems. We’ll investigate the diets, foraging ecology, and predator-prey relationships of resident birds while we enjoy the species using our local natural areas as migratory stopovers.
Class 3: Forest Bird Monitoring
June 15th 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Today we practice the skills gained in the first two sessions by participating in the Vermont Forest Bird Monitoring Program. Managed by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, this program is one of the continent’s oldest ongoing studies of forest bird population trends. Data collected by researchers and volunteers has greatly informed our modern understanding of forest bird health. We’ll survey our historic monitoring plots, discuss research protocols and citizen science in Vermont, and continue to explore bird biology and identification.
Class 4: Bird Banding
July 7th 6:00 – 10:00 AM
Our final class brings us up close and personal with our local avifauna. North Branch Nature Center is a research site for the Institute for Bird Population’s MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding program. Join NBNC staff in this renowned research project that catches, tags, and releases breeding songbirds to better understand bird survival, distribution and breeding success. This morning is a rare opportunity to explore bird physiology and plumage with up-close specimens, and an immersion in hands-on bird research and conservation.