2021 Birds By Song – A Course in Bird ID & Ecology

5 Day Course:  Wednesday through Sunday; June 2 – 6, 2021

Course Leader: Artemis Eyster;

Program hosts: Jean Farkas,Teri Gilligan & Beth Clodfelter


Held at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary with field trips to other Arc preserves

$490/person includes 12 meals and all curriculum.

$15 discount on registration for current Arc members

Optional 4-nights lodging at the Sanctuary –  $45/night/person shared; $75/night private room

Imagine having the capacity to enter any forest, old field, or woodlot in the eastern United States, and with your eyes closed, recognize nearly every bird song that you hear.

Here is an in-depth course that teaches you to learn and remember the songs, calls and field identification skills of the breeding birds in  America’s Eastern forest heartland, as well as their natural history and ecology. Gaining such skills requires lots of time in the field, patient repetition, good learning aides, and positive reinforcement – attributes that are not often found in casual bird walks with birders, but will be bountifully present in this course.

Whether you are a beginning or intermediate birder, you will leave this course with substantially higher levels of mastery, adding 25-45 new songs to your repertoire. We will spend every day outdoors with a small group of participants who will be personally coached and guided by our leaders. People vary widely in their ability to learn through sound. This course accommodates the entire range of native abilities, and everyone will leave this course feeling proud of their newly won accomplishments.

What you will learn.

  • Become familiar with the most common songs, and in many cases the call notes, of up to 85 species of nesting birds in the Appalachian heartland.
  • Increase your repertoire of recognized songs by 25-45 new species.
  • Learn and practice techniques of identifying birds in the field, based on markings, behavior, & flight patterns.
  • Tricks and tips for permanent memorization.
  • Learn bird assemblages by habitat – exploring the most common habitats in the mid-latitude heartland of eastern North America.
  • Gain a holistic view of avian life challenges and ecosystem requirements.
  • Learn the taxonomic groupings to which bird species belong, evidencing evolutionary lineages and relationships to other species here and abroad.
  • Learn bird food sources and behaviors; and how they change from season to season, and from species to species.
  • Hear educational stories about bird natural history and ecology that can be remembered and passed on to others.
  • Learn conservation challenges facing bird species in eastern North America.
2012 Birds by Song Participants
Barn Owl in the Ridgeview Farm Barn
Common Yellowthroat. Photo by John Howard
Eastern Bluebird. Photo by Jerry Dalrymple
Carolina Chickadee. By Jerry Dalrymple