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Birding

Birding Classes

With Glenn Olsen


Virtual Birding Classes

Virtual classes will be held online where we will have participation, questions and discussion as in a regular class. Field trips will take into account the current conditions and pandemic restrictions on the respective date. We will follow certain safety measures for everyone’s benefit. These include wearing masks, everyone traveling in their own vehicle, physical distancing (6 feet or more). Other measures may be added if needed. Additionally, if conditions change, the field trip may be rescheduled to a future date. The instructor has the option to cancel a class if the minimum size hasn't been reached.

For all classes bring your field guide if you already own one, note pad and pen. If you do not have a guide, please wait until after the first class to purchase as we will discuss various guides. You may purchase your guide through Houston Audubon and help support our conservation and education efforts. 


Fundamentals of Birdwatching: July 21, 2020 -- SOLD OUT

This class is designed for anyone just beginning to become interested in birdwatching. We will cover selecting the proper binoculars and how to use them effectively as well as field guides and how to understand them. A broad and general overview of selected birds will provide a “big picture” understanding of birds of North America. The more common birds of our backyards, neighborhoods, and local parks will be discussed along with key concepts for learning to identify them. We will cover locations to go birding for a short trip of a couple of hours and locations for day-long trips. This class does not have a field trip.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 (7:00-8:00 PM)
Class Fee: Free but registration is required. There is no field trip with this class.


Beginning Gardening for Birds: August 4, 2020

Learn how to begin to create a garden that is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and many other birds. We will cover ground covers, low-growing flowers and grasses, short height shrubs and flowers, medium height trees, plants for shade and sun and vines. By using a layering technique and selected plants you can greatly increase plant diversity and create an amazing habitat in a small space. We will discuss design elements to comply with homeowner regulations to keep our garden attractive to humans as well as many birds. Our intent will be to show you how to design a stunningly beautiful landscape that is also an enjoyable and safe habitat for birds, butterflies, and family.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: $25.00. There is no field trip with this class.

  • Registration starts shortly.

    To reserve a spot, email Mary Anne Weber at maweber@houstonaudubon.org. She will send you the registration link once it's available.


Shorebirds of Texas: August 18, 2020; Field Trip: August 22, 2020

The Upper Texas Coast – one of the best places in the nation for observing shorebirds – is a beautiful and complex habitat of salt marsh, coastal marsh, uplands and beach. Only a short drive from Houston, this critically important habitat provides resting, feeding and breeding sites for hundreds of thousands of birds each year. Included in this habitat is Bolivar Flats, recognized as an important resting and feeding site for migrating shorebirds throughout the Western Hemisphere. In this course, participants will learn the “how, what, when, and where to look to identify families and individual species of shorebirds. On the field trip we will observe shorebirds in their natural habitat and practice the concepts, tips, and techniques learned in class to identify them. Class is open to everyone but beginners may find this class more meaningful if they have taken Beginning Birdwatching and Fundamentals of Birdwatching, although not required.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, August 18, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, August 22, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

  • Registration starts shortly.

    To reserve a spot, email Mary Anne Weber at maweber@houstonaudubon.org. She will send you the registration link once it's available.


Hawk Migration in Texas: September 8, 2020; Field Trip: September 12, 2020

Hawks are a fun, awesome, exciting and challenging group of birds! We are fortunate that a major migration route is along our coast and we can see these amazing birds as they pass overhead during fall migration. We will experience this inspiring migration on the field trip. In class we will discuss hawk migration, parts of a hawk (topography), what and where to look for to identify a hawk, and other keys to Identification. In the slide presentation, we will see examples of these concepts and also compare and contrast some commonly seen hawks, falcons, and kites. Class is open to everyone but beginners may find this class more meaningful if they have taken Beginning Birdwatching and Fundamentals of Birdwatching, although not required.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, September 12, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

Hawk Migration in Texas: September 29, 2020; Field Trip: October 3, 2020

Hawks are a fun, awesome, exciting and challenging group of birds! We are fortunate that a major migration route is along our coast and we can see these amazing birds as they pass overhead during fall migration. We will experience this inspiring migration on the field trip. In class we will discuss hawk migration, parts of a hawk (topography), what and where to look for to identify a hawk, and other keys to Identification. In the slide presentation, we will see examples of these concepts and also compare and contrast some commonly seen hawks, falcons, and kites. Class is open to everyone but beginners may find this class more meaningful if they have taken Beginning Birdwatching and Fundamentals of Birdwatching, although not required.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, October 3, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

  • Registration starts shortly.

Beginning Birdwatching: October 20, 2020; Field Trip: October 24, 2020

Birds are a fascinating, beautiful, and amazing part of our natural world. Birdwatching (birding) is a fun, challenging, and exciting way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise our minds, and meet wonderful people. Learning to identify birds can be a short recreational adventure or lifelong growth opportunity. In this class we will cover the basics of how to get started, how to look at a bird for identification purposes, what to look for and concepts of bird family characteristics, body structure, habitat, behavior, and other key considerations to identify birds. This class is open to anyone, however, it is recommended that the Free Fundamentals of Birding class be taken beforehand if possible, but is not required.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, October 24, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

  • Registration starts shortly.

Winter Birds of Upper Texas Coast: November 10, 2020; Field Trip: November 14, 2020

Winter is an excellent time to be outdoors! Generally mild weather, few mosquitoes, lots of birds from many families: gulls, shorebirds, sparrows, hawks, ducks and geese, sandhill cranes and even a few warblers among many others. In this overview class we will discuss winter migration of birds, various habitats and the birds one can find in each, as well as many but not all of the more commonly seen birds during our winter. We will cover identification tips and techniques for some of the various Families of birds. We will also dive into techniques to distinguish species that resemble one another. Class is open to everyone but beginners may find this class more meaningful if they have taken Beginning Birdwatching and Fundamentals of Birdwatching, although not required.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, November 14, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

  • Registration starts shortly.

Sparrows of Upper Texas Coast: December 8, 2020; Field Trip: December 12, 2020

Sparrows are a beautiful and exciting part of our natural world! We will learn how to begin to identify this very challenging group. Many species of sparrows are small birds, secretive, colored in shades of browns and grays and affectionately referred to as “LBJ’s” (little brown jobs). I like to say that warblers are the acrylic paintings of the bird world and sparrows are the watercolors of the birds. But it is their subtlety of appearance that makes them fun and challenging to identify. This class will focus on how to look at, and what to look for to identify a sparrow. Learning to see and understand the structural differences, color pattern differences, and behavior will be covered. This class is not recommended for beginners but is not closed to beginners. At least one previous class is recommended.

Virtual Class: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: Class Only $30.00. Class and Field Trip $75.00
Field Trip: Saturday, December 12, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

  • Registration starts shortly.

Glenn Olsen
Glenn Olsen

Instructor

Glenn Olsen leads natural history and birding tours with GOBirding Ecotours and teaches bird identification, gardening for birds and butterflies, and nature-related classes through Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Houston Audubon, Katy Prairie Conservancy, and the Texas Master Naturalist program. He has served on the Houston Audubon Board as Vice President of Education and also served as an Audubon Warden monitoring colonial nesting birds in Rockport, TX. Two of his many other efforts towards conservation include monitoring endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chickens at the Nature Conservancy's Texas City Preserve and co-founding the Wildscapes Workshop through the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) where he served as president of both the Houston Chapter and the State NPSOT. He has led field trips and/or given programs for meetings of the Texas Ornithological Society, Houston Audubon, Houston Arboretum, the Native Plant Society of Texas, Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Rockport Hummer/Bird Festival, Galveston FeatherFest, and other groups and festivals.  Glenn has led trips to such exotic locales as Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Amazon Rainforest, Costa Rica and the hottest birding locations in the U.S. Contact Glenn at h.glenn.olsen@gmail.com or 832-517-2478.


Testimonials:

Introduction to Birding Class:
The class and field trip conducted by Glenn Olsen was outstanding.  The program exceeded my expectations.  Mr. Olsen is a master.  He was able to patiently cater to a novice like myself and to those in the group with more birding knowledge and experience.  He showered us with his knowledge and love of birding and nature.  I learned so much.  It was my good fortune.  Thank you and the society for your association with Mr. Olsen.
-- Carol Devine

Waterfowl Class:
I want to take a second to say how much I enjoyed Glenn Olsen’s - Waterfowl course last week. While the weather was less than ideal, the birds and beauty that I was introduced to far surpassed any inconvenient weather issues. Being a backpacker, runner, bicyclist, photographer, and general outdoor-ist, I was amazed to find out that I have missed so much in viewing birds in their natural habitat. I had looked at birds, but not really ‘seen’ the birds. Glenn’s course opened my eyes to a world I had been looking past. I highly recommend any of Glenn's courses. I was at first a little intimidated by my lack of bird knowledge, not just compared to Glenn Olsen’s (which was to be expected) but to the group in general. Glenn and the group of experienced birders, which was probably 75% of the group, made me feel right at home and were helpful and encouraging to this total novice. I walked away feeling that Birders are Good People and this will not be my last Audubon event.
-- Tim Brooking

Spiffy Sparrows Class:
I wanted to let Houston Audubon know what a wonderful experience Glenn Olsen's class and field trip were this last week. Glenn is a tremendous, patient teacher, and so very passionate about birding. Thanks to Houston Audubon and Glenn for a great learning opportunity!
-- Sherri Taxman

 

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