Upcoming Classes

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Birding 101: Spring and Summer Birds

308 4th Ave S, Kirkland, WA 98033

Birding can be great fun but frustrating until you become familiar with the local avifauna and learn the skills that expert birders use. We will kick-start your abilities by covering the techniques that experts use to separate and narrow their identifications. Size and shape, color patterns, behavior, habitat, and sounds all play a key role in helping to identify species. Our focus will be on the common birds likely to be found in Western Washington during the spring and early summer.

Slides and field trips will allow you to practice these skills. We will spend time on bird songs, too. We will cover the hardest birds early in the course so there will be lots of time for review.

  1. Flycatchers, Woodpeckers, Vireos, Jays, Swallows, Chickadees, Wrens

  2. Thrushes, Starlings, Waxwings, Finches, Sparrows, Warblers, Blackbirds

  3. Waterbirds: Ducks, Coots, Grebes, Ducks, Geese, Swans, Cormorants

  4. Gulls, terns, shorebirds, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Vultures

The goal is to help you learn 100 species that you might see in Western Washington during a trip to a local park, wetland, or natural area.

Register Now

Class Price Option (Half-Day Field Trips Included)

Course Outline

Lecture 1: Birding Skills: Size and Shape & Applying those skills to first set of birds

Lecture 2: Flycatchers, Woodpeckers, Vireos, Jays, Swallows, Chickadees, Wrens

Lecture 3: Thrushes, Starlings, Waxwings, Finches, Sparrows, Warblers, Blackbirds

Lecture 4: Waterbird, Gulls, terns, shorebirds, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Vultures

*Each Lecture will be about 2 hours

Class Meeting Schedule: 7:00 PM-9:00 PM

Tuesday, April 23rd

Tuesday April 30th

Tuesday May 14th

Tuesday May 21st

Field Trip Opportunities: Half-Day and Full Day Trips

Local Half-Day Trips (Mornings)

April 27th – Union Bay – Montlake Fill
May 4th – Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (Discovery Pass required)
May 18th – Foster Island & UW Arboretum
May 25th – Marymoor Park

Full Day Field Trips (Limited to four cars and 15 participants)

May 5th – Grays Harbor, WA -- Tides should be good for shorebirds. Return to Seattle approximately 7 or 8 PM. Expect to leave in the AM in time to reach Bottle Beach between 9 AM and 10 AM. (A $10 Fee and Discovery Pass Required)

Thomas Bancroft  Ph.D. Ecology, Former Audubon Chief Scientist

Thomas Bancroft
Ph.D. Ecology, Former Audubon Chief Scientist

Instructor: Thomas Bancroft

Thomas Bancroft has been a birder all his life and has a Ph.D. in Ornithology. He has birded in 48 states, several Canadian providences, and on 6 continents. Tom has identified more than 560 species in the United States and slightly over 2,000 worldwide.

Birds have been a big part of his life, both recreationally and professionally. Their identification, ecology, behavior, and systematics were central parts of his undergraduate and graduate schooling, and remain a key interest. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he worked in the bird laboratory at Carnegie Museum analyzing bird banding data and helping with the banding program at Powdermill Nature Reserve. In graduate school, he studied Scrub Jays, Blue Jays, and Boat-tailed Grackles. While working for National Audubon, his fieldwork on wading birds and White-crowned Pigeons helped move the conservation agenda.

Just before moving to Seattle, Thomas served as Chief Scientist for National Audubon, helping them integrate with the work of Birdlife International all across the Americas. He recently finished a 6-year appointment to Washington Audubon’s board and is the Secretary of Washington Ornithological Society. Tom helps teach the Introduction to the Natural World course for the Mountaineers and leads birding field trips for the Mountaineers and Washington Ornithological Society. He has been a member of Audubon since his teenage years.