to walk into any natural landscape and have the skills to see more birds, identify them with confidence, know their songs, understand their stories and lives; to enter more deeply into the vast complexity of the natural environment which surrounds you? If you answered “Yes!”, then “Bird Watching” is the course for you. “Bird Watching” is a six part course which runs over six months. Comprised of six zoom conferences, six comprehensive ebooks, five engaging field assignments and six field trips which target building knowledge and skill sets, this course will take you on a journey that will make your birding part of a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the natural world. You will discover an engrossing pastime which will greatly enhance your life on multiple levels. Most of all, this course will give you the gift of wonder.
This course is designed for beginner or irregular birders, bushwalkers, nature lovers, the curious and students who are ready to go beyond their passing interest and build the skills and knowledge which will truly bring the wonder of birds and nature into their lives.
The course begins simply and grows in detail as we build upon our knowledge and experience. We explore clothing, equipment, field guides, ethics, avian anatomy, how to identify birds, reading bush environments, avian ecology, bird song, and behaviour. We conclude with classification, evolution, biogeography and conservation.
At the completion of this course you will be a confident birder and hopefully a more passionate and engaged birder, well equipped in a broad understanding of birds which will take you deeper into their lives and relationships. You will be capable of taking on the challenges and joys of birding in every context.
Part one of Bird Watching begins with the basics: What is birding and why go birding? We look at clothing, shoes and bird touring essentials. Most people struggle with using binoculars in the field. We learn how binoculars work, how to select the right pair for you and binocular maintenance. You’ll get all the tips on how to quickly get your binoculars onto birds and get a great sharp view of them very rapidly. Seconds count in the field, so this is an important first skill that you will learn to master.
We also explore Field Guides and making the right choice for you as well as keeping records, recording birdsong and Birding Ethics and Etiquette. All this will give you a great grounding upon which to start birding. This part comes with a detailed ebook, zoom conference, a simple assignment and a birding field trip on the Garawarra Trail in the Royal National Park.
Part two of Bird Watching explores avian anatomy: feathers, beaks/bills, scales and wattles. We learn how birds see, breathe, move and fly. We learn about bird song and how and when and why birds sing. We dive deep into bird identification: how to look at birds – you would be surprised how many of us don’t know how to do this basic aspect of observation. We examine behavioural terminologies which will help us gather information and identify each species. This knowledge lays the foundation for solid bird observation and the skills to make the most of your experiences to become confident in the field.
This part of the course comes with a detailed ebook, zoom conference, an assignment and a birding field trip on Lady Carrington Drive in the Royal National Park where we work on observation skills.
Part three of Bird Watching takes us into birds in the environment: How to read a forest, birding in the heath, how to find birds, how to approach birds, field craft, little brown birds. Each of these aspects of birding demands knowledge and specific skill sets but without them, our birding will always be less successful and possibly frustrating.
Our ebook and zoom conference for this part of the course will give us the theoretical knowledge and we will put that theory to practice in an engaging field assignment as well as a field trip through Curra Moors in the Royal National Park.
Part four of Bird Watching takes us further into our understanding of birds in the environment. We explore avian ecology, behaviour, foraging guilds, flocks and feeding, territoriality and defending resources, migration, nomadism, courtship and raising young. Understanding these aspects of the lives of birds will help us to find more birds, anticipate their behaviour in the field and have a have a deeper appreciation for their lives, movements and roles in local ecologies.
Our ebook and zoom conference for this part of the course will again give us the theoretical knowledge and we will put that theory to practice in our in-depth field assignment as well as our field trip to Castlereagh Reserve in western Sydney.
Part five of Bird Watching explores the bigger picture of Australian birds, helping us to understand the evolutionary relationships of Australian birds; their classification and taxonomy. We explore the evolution of birds, the story of the Australian continent and how the evolution and distribution of our birds tie in with the changes in climate, geography and botany.
Understanding these things helps us to know more about the bird before us, how to learn more about them and make sense of not only the distribution of Australian birds but how birds fit into various groups or clades which comprise the Australian avifauna. As in other parts of this course we cover the theory in a zoom conference and ebook. We deepen our understanding with an assignment and field trip to the Lilyvale and Garawarra Ridgetop Trails in the Royal National Park.
The final part of the Bird Watching course shows the way to next level birding: making birding a serious part of your life, where you contribute to our collective knowledge of birds not just in social media but through local, national and global organisations. We examine the threats facing Australian birds and opportunities to participate in citizen science and banding projects as well as volunteering in local and Australia-wide conservation measures.
Our zoom conference and ebook also offer plenty of information on how to learn more, equipping you with the skills to solidly research birds, expanding on your knowledge and sharing it with others. We conclude the course with a visit to Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. The birdlife here is diverse and fascinating, including difficult rarities like the Eastern Bristlebird and Eastern Ground Parrot.
Includes 6 field tours, 6 zoom meetings, 5 assignments, 6 comprehensive ebooks, unlimited assistance with assignments.