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Birding

Birding 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. 

Flycatchers: September 10 and September 14, 2019

Flycatchers are the most species-diverse family of birds in the world. This makes them extremely interesting and challenging to study. Twenty-five species are regular in Texas either as resident or migrant species. So, this makes identification a lot simpler! However, there are still many challenges to identification with only twenty-five! The migratory species of the eastern and western regions of our state migrate through the respective region primarily in mid-April through May en route to the breeding grounds. We are next likely to encounter them in fall migration, mid-August through September, as many of them return to Mexico and Central America for winter. According to the Sibley Guide there are nine flycatchers that are resident species with most of those residing in the Rio Grande Valley region. In this class, we will discuss the key principles to know when confronted with the identification of a flycatcher. Most of our time will be spent on those species one is most likely to encounter in a day of birding, either in migration or as a resident species. Tips on behavior, separating similar species, and understanding habitat will be discussed.

Class: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, September 14, 2019 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)


Hawk Migration: September 24 and 28, 2019

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 24, 2019 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, September 28, 2019 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)


Introduction to Birding: October 8 and 12, 2019

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 8, 2019 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, October 12, 2019 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)


Wintering Sparrows: November 19 and 23, 2019

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 19, 2019 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, November 23, 2019 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)


Wintering Waterfowl: December 10 and 14, 2019

The Upper Texas Coast is an amazing area for wintering waterfowl. Each year we have thousands of ducks (24 species possible) and thousands of geese (5 species possible) and mergansers (2 species). While the identification of male ducks is often straightforward, the same cannot be said of the more cryptically colored females. Therein lie the challenge and fun of duck identification. We will learn techniques for separating the 24 species of ducks, the different species of geese, and the mergansers.

Class: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Field Trip: Saturday, December 14, 2019 (7:30 AM - 3:30 PM)


Urban Birding
at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University.

Houston has been called “an urban birder’s paradise.” Most people are amazed to learn that they can see over a hundred species of beautiful birds in our city parks, neighborhoods and even perched among the buildings of our skyline. Our region lies within the flyway for birds that migrate from Central America, South America and Canada. Houston’s mild fall brings an opportunity to get outside and scout for Peregrine Falcons, American Robins, Red-tailed Hawks, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Redheads, and more. Learn to identify birds and become familiar with the many birds that can be seen in our urban landscape. This course also includes a guided field trip to one or more urban birding hot spots, led by instructor Glenn Olsen. Co-sponsored by Houston Audubon. Five classes on Thursday afternoons beginning on September 26, 2019. Field trip on Saturday, October, 2019. Registration will begin soon on the Rice University website.


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. 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 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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