Master Birder Program

Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds / Kyle Bess / Audubon Photography Awards

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Class Updates

The next master birder class is not currently scheduled. We anticipate master birder class sessions will begin in spring 2023, with information about the enrollment process and schedule posted here in early 2023. Please check back, and thank you for your patience.

The Seattle Audubon master birder program is an incredible opportunity to learn about the birds of Washington state. Participants intensively learn about birds, ecology, conservation, and more and serve as valuable resources for the community.


In the past, all master birder participants were required to contribute at least 100 volunteer hours to Seattle Audubon within two years of completing the program. We are figuring out how to incorporatate education-for-service into the new version of this program. More soon!

Anyone intested in volunteering is welcome to contact the Community Engagement Manager for more information about volunteering. Volunteer opportunities are varied and include bird surveys, environmental education, The Nature Shop, outreach, field trips and more.

Class Schedule

The new version of the master birder program will be comprised of modules organized by Washington State habitats. Each habitat module will cover a unique set of bird species, ecology, and conservation considerations partucular to the habitat. Students may sign up for one habitat module, or all all of them.

Class Fee

The master birder class has the depth and rigor of a college-level ornithology class. Seattle Audubon subsidizes a significant portion of the expense of offering this class, with the grateful understanding that the volunteer hours that master birder grads contribute to Seattle Audubon are invaluable.

To make the master birder program accessible to as many people as possible, Seattle Audubon is offering a sliding scale class fee. Within the limits of their budgets, we ask incoming students to pay what they can.

Bird ID quiz

Students will self-select into the new master birder program. Each habitat module will have a set of prospective student self-assessments, similar to the visual and sound ID quiz that participants took for master birder class admittance in the past. Going forward, interested individuals will determine their own readiness.

Since the master birder coursework is geared toward intermediate to advanced birders, being ready to handle the volume of information will help you feel prepared and successful during class.

For fun for now, quiz yourself on species that regularly occur in Washington, whether migrant or resident, and whether it occurs in only eastern Washington or western Washington or both. The species may be male or female, adult or immature, and in breeding plumage or nonbreeding. Birding-by-ear is another way to test your bird ID skills.

Sample quiz:

Visual identification: Mountain Chickadee, Eastern Kingbird, Long-eared Owl, Green Heron, Golden-crowned Kinglet, European Starling, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Glaucous-winged Gull, Hermit Thrush, Black Oystercatcher, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Meadowlark, Bohemian Waxwing, Red-necked Grebe, Pelagic Cormorant, Gadwall, Rough-legged Hawk, Rhinoceros Auklet, Fox Sparrow, Turkey Vulture, Tree Swallow, Bufflehead, Caspian Tern, Yellow Warbler, Pacific Loon, Anna’s Hummingbird, Harlequin, Hairy Woodpecker, Cooper’s Hawk

Birding by ear identification: Belted Kingfisher, California Quail, Great Blue Heron, Swainson’s Thrush, American Bittern, Pacific Wren, Steller’s Jay, Common Nighthawk, Willow Flycatcher, House Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, Song Sparrow, American Wigeon, House Finch

Want to increase your knowledge? Need to prepare for the Master Birder program?

Consider taking these steps:

If you have questions, please email