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Birding and Nature Classes

With Glenn Olsen

Classroom location: Houston Audubon's Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. 440 Wilchester Blvd., Houston, TX 77079. Telephone: 713-932-1639

Classroom sessions are normally held in the administration building which is the brick building you first come to on the gravel drive as you enter the sanctuary. On a rare occasion we meet in the log cabin, which is the second building.

Field trip locations: We will review all the details for the field trip in class. The instructor will be checking for bird activity the week of the class to maximize our opportunity to see birds. You will be provided info by email on what to bring and complete driving directions to our meeting location a few days before the field trip. 

Hawk Migration: September 18 and 22, 2018

In this class we will learn to identify hawks, from the small American Kestrel to the majestic Bald Eagle, and we will learn how and why hawks migrate. Houston is located along a major flyway: we will take advantage of this by spending time in the field practicing identifying hawks in flight as they pass through on their way from their breeding grounds in Northern Canada and Alaska to their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

Class: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, September 22, 2018 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)

Gulf Coast Birding
at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University.

Discover the variety of birds in the Texas Gulf Coast from the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron to the Peregrine Falcon. As a world-renowned region for birding, the Texas Gulf Coast is home to a great number and variety of beautiful birds. In this introduction to birding -- one of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational interests in the country -- learn to identify birds that can be seen throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. The course also includes a guided field trip, led by instructor Glenn Olsen, to observe the behavior of birds in their natural habitat and to gain experience in bird identification. Co-sponsored by Houston Audubon. Five classes on Thursday afternoons beginning on September 27. Field trip on Saturday, November 3.

Nature at Night: October 13, 2018

Adults and accompanied youth (age 10+) can discover the joys of urban wildlife -- mammals, rodents, birds, frogs, and crawling creatures. Our wildlife neighbors live in our backyards, bayous and parks. Before we head out on the trails of Edith L Moore Sanctuary, we will meet in the historic cabin to learn about the wildlife of our city and neighborhoods and how these animals find food, shelter and why we rarely see them. With luck we may find an Eastern Screech Owl, a raccoon along the banks of the creek searching for food, an armadillo or opossum may shuffle across the trail, and we may find exciting insects like the beautiful but ferocious golden-eyed lacewing, a praying mantis (the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the insect world), or the weird walking stick. Bring your flashlight to help search for the animals and insects whose eyes sparkle like diamonds in the night. Class: Saturday, October 13 5:30 PM -8:30 PM Cost: $35 for members, $25 for youth (accompanied by adult class participant), $45 for non-members

Introduction to Birding: October 23 and 27, 2018

In this class, we'll learn the basics of birdwatching, or birding, which will include learning about the habitat, migration, and behavior of birds, as well as how to identify them by family and species. Get ready to be fascinated by birds! In this class you will not only enrich your enjoyment of the birds in your own backyard, but you will attain a set of skills that will allow you to explore and expand your enjoyment of birds near and far.

Class: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, October 27, 2018 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)

Sparrow Identification: November 27 and December 1, 2018

Secretive and challenging to identify are what make this group of birds Fun. The Upper Texas Coast is a great place to see wintering sparrows. Learn the key principles of identification that will enable you to separate the 17 different species that are possible. After this class you will no longer call sparrows little brown birds, you will recognize them as sparrows.

Class: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, December 1, 2018 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)

Wintering Birds: December 11 and 15, 2018

In this class we'll focus on the many species who winter in our region, including raptors, waterbirds, sparrows, and other landbirds.

Class: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, December 15, 2018 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)

Glenn Olsen
Glenn Olsen


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. He is currently Region 8 Director for the Texas Ornithological Society. 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 or 832-517-2478.


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