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Become a Master Birder

December 26th, 2012

Golden Gate Audubon and the California Academy of Sciences are very excited to offer a new course: the Master Birding Program. The objective is to help 20 ambitious students enhance their birding and conservation skills and to develop 20 new active volunteers for GGAS, the Academy, or other Bay Area institutions.

The Master Birding Program is a one-year advanced class with 10 classes and 10 field trips. Many of the classes will be held at the Academy to take advantage of the collections and facilities. Field trips will be designed to reinforce class subject matter.

Prior to taking the course, prospective students are expected to be able to identify California birds at an “intermediate level” (100 species by sight and 25 species by sound). To successfully complete the program, students must commit to volunteer at least 100 hours to any participating organization (GGAS, the academy, and other Bay Area birding or conservation organizations to be named later) over a two-year period and participate in at least 70 percent of the classes and field trips.

Upon completion of the program, the graduates will have developed a field notebook documenting sightings of more than 200 bird species, will know how to identify the more difficult bird species, and will have an understanding of habitats and bird communities, physiology, behavior, and taxonomy.  Each will have participated in over 20 organized field trips, developed a backyard (local patch) list, and made a 10-minute presentation to the class on an avian topic. Other details will be given to interested candidates.

Instructors are Jack Dumbacher, Eddie Bartley and Bob Lewis. Fee for the class is $500. The class, starting February 6, 2013, will be held on the first Wednesday of the month, 6:30–9 p.m. The last class will be November 6. Field trips will be on the Sunday following each class. For more information, contact Eddie Bartley at eddie@naturetrip.com or 415.355.0450.

Ruddy Turnstone photo by Bob Lewis.