A variety of classes on birding and natural history are taught throughout the year by qualified instructors who are experts in their respective fields. Classes support the Seattle Audubon mission of appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.
To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, including helpful tips for finding class venues, click here.
Visit the Master Birder page to learn more about that two-semester program.
Note: registration for all classes going forward will be online only. Should using a computer pose a barrier to participation, call The Nature Shop (206-523-4483). Here's a visual for how to receive the member discount.
FALL 2018 CLASSES
with Dan McDougall-Treacy, Master Birder and Seattle Audubon Classes Committee member
Lecture: Wednesday, October 10, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Brick Building Room 31
Field Trip: Saturday, October 13, 7:00am, destination TBD
Cost: $35 members, $50 non-members
Join this class to indulge our fascination with Woodpeckers. Familiar cartoon character – sure. But wait – there’s more! While most woodpeckers dress themselves in patterned black and white, some show themselves in shades of green or browns. Their unique mode of living – including drumming and drilling – arouses our attention and our curiosity. Some woodpecker species are widespread, and others are uncommon and specialize in unique environmental niches.
The class will examine the distinctive characteristics of this family and review the 12 species that can be seen in Washington. A closer emphasis on the five species commonly found here on the western side of the state will include field marks and other identification tips, range and habitat, nesting, foraging and feeding specializations, and ecological and conservation issues. Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for ALL LEVELS of birders
Yard Birds - inviting birds and bugs to your garden
with Penny Bolton, long time King County Master Gardener and a graduate of the Seattle Audubon Master Birder program
Lecture: Wednesday, October 17, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Seattle Audubon
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Listen to and learn about our common yard birds! This down to earth presentation will help gardeners and birders create easy to maintain bird friendly gardens, and will include a lecture with slides and birdsongs. Learn how to make home gardens and yards friendly and safe for them and other wildlife. In addition to answering participant questions, we will discuss:
• How birds are affected by human settlement patterns?
• What kinds of birds and bugs we can host in our gardens and neighborhoods now?
• How can you make a welcoming place for birds and animals to come? Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for ALL LEVELS of birders
10 Gateway birds of Seattle and how to find them
with Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser, Seattle Audubon Master Birder
Lecture: Thursday, October 18, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Brick Building room 36
Field Trip: (optional) Saturday, October 20, 8:00am - noon, Discovery Park
Cost: $20 members, $35 non-members
Are you just beginning your life as a birder? Not sure where to go to see interesting birds? Or how to find them, once you get there? Using 10 (or so) charismatic birds found in Seattle as examples, we’ll explore resources you can use to plan your birding excursions. We’ll also talk through strategies for laying eyes on those feathered beauties and for then figuring out who you’re looking at. Taught by a Master Birder who is still discovering cool places to go birding. Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for BEGINNER birders
Intermediate Bird ID: Common Birds of Fall
with Connie Sidles, author and Master Birder
Lecture: Thursdays, October 18, 25 and November 1, 8, 7:15-9:15pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 2
Field Trip: See note below. All field trip sign-up and organization will happen in class.
Cost: $120 members, $135 non-members
If you're an intermediate birder seeking to deepen your birding skills, then this class is for you. Master Birder Connie Sidles introduces you to the birds of fall: the first class will cover wrens, tits, sparrows, finches; the second class will cover waterfowl; the third class will cover raptors; and the fourth class will cover seabirds. Class time is important for this course, but time in the field lies at the heart of what we offer. You will have opportunities to go on two all-day or half-day trips, and optional hours-long walks every week from Oct. 21 through Dec. 8. Our trips are all designed for easy walking, with carpooling and shared expenses for the away trips. Appropriate for INTERMEDIATE birders This class is FULL. To join the wait list, click Register Now and "purchase" (this is free) a wait list "ticket."
Note on Field Trips: This class offers multiple opportunities to spend time in the field with Connie. Connie will lead several formal field trips where you can observe the birds studied in class, as well as organize a scavenger hunt, when we will divide into teams and search our area for targeted birds. Connie also invites you along with her informally to help conduct shorebird surveys and to conduct a bird census of the Montlake Fill.
• Formal field trips (two trips per student; signups during first class): Oct. 20: Montlake Fill (half day), Nov. 3: Skagit Flats (all day), Nov. 17: Alki (half day), Dec. 1: Puget Sound Seabird Survey (specific site tbd) Dec. 8: Vashon (all day)
• Scavenger hunt: Nov. 10
• Montlake bird monthly census (optional; no signups required): Oct. 28, Nov. 25, Dec. 30,
• Montlake Fill shorebird counts in the morning (optional; no signups required): Oct. 21, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, Dec. 2, Dec. 9
Modern Smartphone Digiscoping
with Nathaniel Peters: Master Birder and Microscopy Instructor
Lecture: Wednesday, October 24, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 6
Cost: $20 members, $35 non-members
In this class I will show you how your smartphone camera, practice, and patience can transform your binoculars or telescope into a formidable bird photography tool. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the "digiscope", freehand vs. mounted digiscoping styles, binocular vs. telescope digiscoping, commercially available vs. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) digiscopes, and more! I will share the tricks that I have learned over 6 years of active digiscoping in the Pacific Northwest and will present the evolution of my own DIY diginocular and digiscope prototypes. There will be some time at the end of class for practice with your own equipment (i.e., binoculars, telescope, smartphone) and evaluation of its digiscoping potential. By the end of this class, you will be ready either to begin construction of your own smartphone digiscope or know where to find a commercially available setup suited to your needs and equipment. Materials to bring: Notebook, binoculars and/or telescope (optional), smartphone (optional) Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for ALL LEVELS of birders
How to Identify Sea Birds of Puget Sound
with Joe Sweeney, Seattle Audubon Field Trip Leader and Master Birder
Lecture: Tuesday, October 30, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 3 (on hold for Room 6)
Field Trip: Saturday, November 3 or 10 (sign up for one of the two dates when you come to class) to the Edmonds Pier or other suitable viewing spot along Puget Sound
Cost: $40 members, $55 non-members
Identifying the birds that inhabit Puget Sound can be challenging. To the untrained eye, those small, fast-moving birds that fly low over the water tend to all look the same. In this class, you will discover how to separate a Rhinoceros Auklet from a Pigeon Guillemot, a Double-crested Cormorant from a Brandt’s Cormorant, a Horned Grebe from a Red-necked Grebe, and a Common Loon from a Pacific Loon. We will also discuss diving ducks (including mergansers, scoters and goldeneye) and gulls. We will examine photos of the species mentioned above (and more), and discuss the flight characteristics, field marks and behavioral differences that can help us unravel the identification mysteries of the birds of the Sound. No prior experience with seabirds is necessary. All that is required is a desire to learn and a sense of adventure. A sense of humor wouldn’t hurt, either. Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for BEGINNER and INTERMEDIATE birders
Introduction to Gulls and Terns of the Pacific Northwest
with Hans de Grys, Chemistry Teacher at Lakeside School, Master Birder, Recipient – MIT’s Inspirational Teacher Award
Lecture: Tuesday, December 4, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Lakeside School, Allen-Gates Bldg, Room 104
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Identifying gulls can be one of the most intimidating tasks for beginning birders. We will spend the evening exploring the clues that make gull ID possible (and even fun?). The class will also look individually at the 15 or so most common gulls and terns of Washington, and practice separating them using field marks and other clues. The focus will be primarily on adult gulls, but we will dabble a bit into immature plumages and common gull hybrids of the Seattle area. Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for BEGINNER and INTERMEDIATE birders
Winter Identification of Deciduous Native Plants
with Van Bobbitt, former South Seattle College horticulture instructor and Washington Native Plant Society board vice-president
Lecture: Saturday, December 8, 9:00am-12:30pm
Location: Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, Fireside Room (downstairs)
Cost: $45 members, $60 non-members
Add another dimension to your winter walks in the woods. Learn to identify deciduous native plants from leafless twigs. Become competent using print and online guides to winter plant ID. Required text: Winter in the Woods: A Winter Guide to Deciduous Native Plants in Western Washington, available from WSU Extension Publishing for $6.00. http://pubs.wsu.edu/
NOTE: Students should wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather as part of the class will be outdoors. It would be helpful, but not required, if they could bring a hand lens (small magnifying glass) to class. Enter promo code SASMEMBER at checkout to receive member pricing. Appropriate for ALL LEVELS of birders