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Adult Programs

Birding Classes

With Glenn Olsen

Class Advisory

Classes will be offered remotely online. Class participation is welcomed and recommended. If a class includes a field trip component, these are planned in recognition of the current virus conditions. Consequently, 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 measure may be added if needed.
Additionally, if conditions worsen the field trip may be rescheduled to a future date. If you cannot attend the field trip, you will have a credit for any future class field trip of your choosing. In registering for the class you agree to follow these safety procedures and follow the instructor’s guidance on the trip.

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.

Zoom Class: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: $25.00
Optional Field Trip Fee: $50.00 subject to class advisory. Saturday, November 14, 2020. 8 AM - 4 PM.

Sparrows of Upper Texas Coast: December 1, 2020; Field Trip: December 5, 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.

Zoom Class: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 (7:00-8:45 PM)
Class Fee: $25.00
Optional Field Trip Fee: $50.00 subject to class advisory. Saturday, December 5, 2020. 8 AM - 4 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. 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

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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