Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds / Kyle Bess / Audubon Photography Awards
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. Contact
Over the coming months, we will explore offering class sessions online, as well as creating a more modular class format. We know the twice per week in-person schedule, over the course of two semesters, is inaccessible for many and we are exploring ways to open this opportunity up to more participants.
The long-term, primary instructor for this course, Dennis Paulson, has decided to retire. Congrats to him! We will be working over the next few months to identify and schedule new instructors for this course.
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.
We are updating how students join this program. More information coming in early 2023.
Bird ID quiz
The application process used to include a short identification quiz about some of the birds that occur regularly in our state. The quiz included 30 species to identify visually and 15 species to identify by sound. 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.
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