sparrows (March), warblers and migrants (May), Shorebirds (July), Seabirds (Aug). For more information, see below.
Sparrows – The Little Brown Jobs
Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 28 (instruction), 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 30 (fieldtrip), TBA
Well-camouflaged and perfectly adapted to living low and near the ground, sparrows are often categorized as “little brown jobs” by birders. By concentrating on differences in shape, behavior, voice, and habitat, sparrows can be easier to identify than you think. Sparrows are also fascinating as they have afforded scientists important opportunities to learn about bird song, dialects, territoriality, and migration patterns. Come and gain an appreciation for this largely North American group of birds, their natural history, and their influence on ornithology.
Birding Level: Beginner on up.
Physical Requirements (for fieldtrip): Light to moderate depending how much we need to walk. Most sites are on flat terrain, although we may visit at least one site that has trails on a slope; we will take it easy though – you will not need mountain climbing gear for this workshop.
Warblers and other Migrant Landbirds
Tuesday, April 30th, Thursday, May 2nd (instruction), 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Sunday, May 5th (field trip), TBA
Nothing in birding and ornithology is perhaps as exciting as migration! Throughout the world birds move, and this has captured our imaginations from ancient times until now. Fortunately today we have many more tools at our disposal to help understand migration, and begin to explain how these little creatures do it. This course is partly to teach the identification of our migrants, but also as an introduction and summary of bird migration itself, focusing on warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes and a others. We will get to enjoy and learn about migratory birds, what they look and sound like, and also discuss migration itself. How it happens, how they do it, and why they do it. We will discuss where they go in the winter, and where they spend their time when they are not here with us. Our field trip will focus on areas where we can find migrant landbirds; some may already be in our territory, while others will still be on the move.
Birding Level: Beginner on up.
Physical Requirements (for field trip): Light. We will bird various trails, coastal spots and generally flat areas without much slope. At this time of year active migration is most easily visible on the coast. We will spend some time watching visual migration on the coast, before looking for migrant and resident landbirds in the San Mateo coast or the skyline.
Shorebirds in “Fall”
July dates, TBA
Shorebird migration is one of the most marvelous of all animal migrations. Some of these birds migrate from the southern hemisphere to the high Arctic in a very rapid migration. Fall migration begins in summer for these birds! This trip is timed with a perfect time to study a mix of breeding and molting plumaged shorebirds, also at a time when unusual things can show up! We are fortunate to live by San Francisco Bay, one of the world’s most important migration stop-over areas for shorebirds. Shorebirds can be difficult to identify, particularly when worn, molting and in juvenile plumage. In order to identify these fall shorebirds, we will dig deep into bird behavior, physiology, ecology, and everything else that is relevant to this season and your enjoyment of migrating shorebirds. This is an opportunity for you to create depth to your shorebird identification skills, have a great time, and view many shorebird species. We are likely to remain in bayside locations to study shorebirds. If there is something unusual or interesting on the coast, we may head there as well.
Birding Level: Intermediate and up.
Physical Requirements (for fieldtrip): Light. We will bird from various parking lots, bayside trails, and flat surfaces. Don’t expect to walk too much, but do expect to stand around a lot, often in cool winter weather, so bring the layers.
Aug Dates TBA
Saturday, Sept. 7th (fieldtrip) - other dates available
Pulitzer Prize nominated nature book writer Scott Weidensaul has written that in North American birding, the ocean is the final frontier! It is a vast environment and access is difficult. Birds move due to migration, food concentrations, and changing habitat conditions. But the rewards of heading out on the ocean are huge! Seabirds are gorgeous with their graceful lines, shapes, and flight styles. They include some of the most amazing of migrant species, birds that use the entire ocean as part of their annual distribution. The ocean off the coast of California is one of the richest places on earth, with opportunities to observe iconic species such as albatrosses, puffins, shearwaters, auklets, and storm-petrels. Rarities, odd fish, and whales may also be viewed! The classroom portion of this workshop will focus on the identification, and ecology, and distribution of seabirds. This workshop can be taken as just a class or include a discounted pelagic trip. Class is $90, pelagic will be offered at discounted rate of $110. Please contact Kathi Kendrick at 408-946-6548 x10 or email@example.com to sign up for the class portion; you will need to contact Alvaro at 650-504-7779 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for discounted pelagic. Other pelagic dates are available; check http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/ for other dates.
Birding Level: Beginner on up.
Physical Requirements (for fieldtrip): Moderate. Comfort level will depend on current weather and your personal tolerance for sea conditions. Fortunately, late August to early September seas average the mildest conditions of the year. The boat will depart from Pillar Point Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay. Strategies for preventing seasickness will be discussed in the workshop. The boat is coast guard certified with all of the required safety equipment, and experienced captains.
Registration & Payment
Each workshop is $150 per person (*except Seabirds – please contact Kathi Kendrick at 408-946-6548 x10 or email@example.com to sign up for the class portion ($90); you will need to contact Alvaro at 650-504-7779 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for discounted pelagic ($110)). We have changed our membership benefits! You must have an active membership to register for a workshop. To check your membership status please call 408-946-6548 and we will be happy to assist you. You can also make a membership payment online by visiting our secure website.
You can register for a workshop using one of the three registration methods below.
1. Write a check, payable to the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Print out and complete this registration form, and mail your check and registration form to 524 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA 95035.
2. Pay online using our secure website. Under the Donation menu, there is a drop-down menu titled “Program-Designation;” please select “Adult Birding Workshop.” In the “Dedication” line, please be sure to include any other pertinent information, such as the class name or the number of participants.
Then email Kathi Kendrick at email@example.com with the following:
Name of the workshop
3. Call us with your credit card number. Please call our office at 408-946-6548.
Once you have followed these steps, we will confirm your reservation via email. Please follow the instructions above or the process may be delayed.
Each workshop is limited to 15-20 students; workshops that are full will be marked as [full].
You must be a minimum of 16 years of age to participate in a workshop.
The Shorebird workshop will be held at the Sobrato Center for Non-profits in Redwood City, Bay C Room, 330 Twin Dolphin Dr., Redwood City. Directions
Times: Instruction evenings are from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.; field trip times and location TBA.