Classes

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Adult Classes

Ticket sales close at 4:30pm the day-of class.

ALL CLASSES ARE RECORDED AND SHARED WITH REGISTRANTS. NO NEED TO ASK.

Current members of our local Seattle Audubon chapter receive a 20% discount on online classes as a benefit of annual membership. More online sessions will be listed as they are scheduled.

Introduction to the Sparrows of Washington State with Hans deGrys
Wednesday, December 1 from 7:30-9:00pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
Nearly 20 species of sparrows (and their close allies) call Washington state home for all or part of the year. While they may appear at first to be a swarm of similar, nondescript birds, the different species of sparrows are actually quite distinct, with differing field marks, vocalizations, habits, and natural histories. This class will focus both on identification and appreciation of this often overlooked group of birds. This session is suitable for beginning and intermediate birders.

Using eBird with Brendan McGarry
Tuesday, December 7 from 7:00-8:30pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
Does eBirding make you a better birder? Maybe so, maybe not. Will eBird help you take a deeper dive into recording your sightings while supporting research efforts across the globe? Undoubtedly. If you’ve ever felt intimidated or unsure where to start with using eBird, both on a mobile device or computer, this is the class for you. Brendan will teach you the basics of how to record, share, and manage your lists while using eBird as a tool to learn new regional birds and prepare for upcoming departures near and far.

Snow Geese: the facts behind the winter spectacle of our Western Arctic population with Martha Jordan
Wednesday, December 8 from 7:00-8:30pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
They arrive each fall from their breeding grounds on Russia’s Wrangel Island, north of Siberia in the Chukchi Sea, to wintering areas from the Skagit-Frasier valleys to eastern Washington and Oregon and Central Valley California. In the 1970s this snow goose population was in trouble and much effort by Russia, Canada and the U.S. was made to ensure they survived. They not only survived, they have thrived. The Wrangle Island population has grown exponentially over the decades and is now a concern to many waterfowl managers, farmers and others as this increase in population creates an ever growing human-wildlife conflict as well as attracting a growing throng of winter birdwatchers who drive an economic boom of ecotourism. This program will present information on how what we once knew about lesser snow geese no longer applies. Why are lots of snow geese now in eastern Washington? Learn about migration routes, where all these snow geese winter, how many are there, and the conflicts between humans and these geese and how these geese impact other waterfowl/waterbird species.

Swans of Winter with Martha Jordan
Thursday, December 16 from 7:00-8:30pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
Martha Jordan, well-known swan biologist, will present a program on Washington’s native Trumpeter and Tundra swans. You will learn about their life history, biology. The latest updated information on eastern Washington swans and how Washington’s west and east sides are connected for swans not only in WA but along the entire flyway. Martha will shed some light on the problems and controversies these birds face on their wintering grounds and what is needed to insure their future. Get updated on the swan lead poisoning problem, habitat issues and more.  Swan identification tips will be shared through photos that help clarify the challenges of identification of Trumpeter and Tundra swans.

Introduction to Common Raptors of Western Washington with Hans deGrys
Monday, January 3 from 7:30-9:00pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
Raptors are a taxonomically diverse group of birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons. We will spend some time looking at the 12 or so most common raptors of Western Washington, focusing on identification using field marks and patterns of distribution and abundance. Photos, maps, and charts will be used to explore the physical appearance, distribution, and natural history of these majestic birds. This session is suitable for beginning and intermediate birders.

Winter Waterfowl for Intermediate Birders with Connie Sidles
Wednesdays, January 5, 12, 19, 26, and February 2 from 7:00-8:30pm
Tickets $75 with sliding scale
Everybody knows a Mallard, right? And Northern Shovelers are those guys with big bills, while Buffledheads are the little black-and-white ‘rubber duckies.” But do you *really* know your waterfowl, even the so-called easy ones? Can you identify each species by gender, in eclipse, in flight, and by voice? Western Washington is the winter home for more than three dozen different species of swans, geese, and ducks. As an intermediate birder, it’s possible to know them all, in all their guises. Let master birder Connie Sidles take you on a virtual journey through our state’s waterways to discover the ins and outs of our winter waterfowl.

Introduction to Gulls and Terns of the Pacific Northwest with Hans deGrys
Wednesday, February 9 from 7:30-9:00
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
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. This session is suitable for beginning and intermediate birders.

Recordings of classes are available for one month past the live class date

Intermediate Bird ID: Little Brown Jobs: Identifying the Little Brown Birds of WA State with Connie Sidles
Five weekly online classes on Thursdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28, and November 4 from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Tickets $75 with sliding scale. This class is underway. Register to receive the class recordings.
If you’ve been confused, amused, and otherwise disabused of the notion that you’ll ever be able to identify the Little Brown Jobs (also known as Little Brown Birds) that populate so many of our Northwest habitats, have no worries. Master Birder and nature author Connie Sidles will take you through the 30+ most look-alike LBJs of Washington State in five classes that will tune you up for our fall migrants and winter residents. The sparrows, finches, longspurs, and buntings that have been busy raising young here and elsewhere will be showing up in numbers beginning in September and October. With the help of this class, you’ll be ready and waiting to ID this challenging but rewarding group of birds. This class is designed mainly for birders who believe they are at the level of advanced beginner or intermediate.

How to Identify Seabirds of Puget Sound with Joe Sweeney
Thursday, November 11 from 7:00-8:30pm
Tickets $15 with sliding scale
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. Appropriate for BEGINNER and INTERMEDIATE birders.

Beyond Beginning Earbirding with Nathan Pieplow
Monday, November 15 and Thursday, November 18 from 7:00-8:30pm. This is a 2-class series; each session is unique.
Tickets $30 with sliding scale
At one time or another we’ve all discovered that bird identification by ear can be just as important as bird identification by eye. However, as most of us have also discovered, birding by ear isn’t always easy. There are many tools and techniques available to improve our birding by ear skills, including recorded bird songs and calls, mnemonic devices to recognize bird songs, and spectrograms to help visualize bird songs and calls. In Part 1, Nathan Pieplow taught a shared vocabulary to describe bird sounds based on spectrograms and as described in his book Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America. In this Part 2, Nathan Pieplow builds on the shared vocabulary and spectrograms to learn how to use heuristics: mental shortcuts that don’t get you all the way to an identification, but that can cut identification problems in half. This class is a follow-on to Part 1 but open to all birders who want to improve their birding by ear skills.
Do I register for each class separately?

Yes. Click on the Register Now button at the bottom of the class description to register for that class only.

Are classes recorded?

All online classes are recorded and links to view the recordings are emailed to registrants within a few days of the live class session. You do not need to let anyone know if you cannot attend the live session – you will receive the recording no matter what.

The online class sold out. Can I still view the class recording?

Yes. Use the Register Now button to purchase access to the class recording. Links to recordings can be found in the confirmation email that auto-sends when you register (check your junk and/or clutter boxes) if an online session has already happened, or will be emailed to you after the online session has finished.

How long are recordings available?

The class recording is available for one month past the live class session. If the class is a series of sessions (some classes have 2-4 sessions over a period of weeks), the recordings for all sessions in that series are available for one month past the last live class session date (e.g. if the last class in the series is on May 1, the recordings for the whole series will be available until June 1).

Do Seattle Audubon members receive a discount on online classes?

Yes. Current members of our local Seattle Audubon chapter receive a 20% discount on online classes as a benefit of annual membership. Please use code SASMEMBER at checkout.

How do I use Zoom?

 If you have never used Zoom, check out this YouTube tutorial.

What is the master birder class about and when is the next master birder class series happening?

Seattle Audubon offers a Master Birder Program, a two-semester course and education-for-service program focusing on the identification and natural history of Washington’s birds. Offered every other year, participants benefit from an intensive study of Northwest birds and serve as valuable resources for Seattle Audubon and the community.

I want to know more about IN PERSON classes.

To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions for IN PERSON classes, including helpful tips for finding class venues, click here.