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High Island

High Island Birding Classes

People walking on Bolivar Flats

Check out the classes below and join us to hone your birding skills this spring! Registration is not required. Classes are held at the Morse Field Station across the entrance to Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary.

Saturday, April 6

Birding 101: 11 AM

Lights Out: 2 PM
Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative with the goal of getting Texans to turn off non-essential lighting to reduce bird fatalities from collisions with buildings. The initiative began here at Houston Audubon in 2017, and in this talk, we will share about the history of the program, the science behind it, and the road forward for Lights Out, including how participation is a key aspect of becoming a Bird-Friendly Space!

Sunday, April 7

Birding Bolivar Peninsula: 11 AM
With a cumulative list of over 400 bird species, the Bolivar Peninsula hosts millions of individual birds annually. Join us as we explore some of the history and ecology that make High Island and the Bolivar Peninsula the unique place it is for birds and birders.

Friday, April 12

Birding with Technology: 11 AM
Come learn how to enhance your birding experience using some modern tools accessible through your smartphone! From quickly ID’ing birds through sight and sound, to easily tracking the birds you’ve seen in dynamic lists, this class welcomes birders of all experience levels!

Saturday, April 13

Birding & Community Science: 11 AM
How does the simple act of birding influence how conservation biologists manage land? How does a lay person inform the world of the live movement of migratory songbirds? How does the community create large datasets that teach ecologists and ornithologists new life history traits about the birds we love? Find out in the Birding and Community Science class and learn how your data helps bird conservation!

Sunday, April 14

Warbler Identification: 11 AM
Consisting of some of North America’s most brilliant eye-candy, the warblers (Parulidae) are a favorite fixture of High Island’s birdlife during the hectic spring months. Despite their often bright colors, they can pose some identification challenges. Here we will discover some tricks to identifying the 35+ species that are regularly found in High Island throughout the spring.

Friday, April 19

Birding 101: 11 AM

Birding Panama: 2:30 PM
Dive into the heart of Darién with Carlos Bethancourt from the Canopy Family and uncover the secrets of Panama's birding paradise. This lecture shines a spotlight on the majestic Harpy Eagle, Panama's proud national symbol, alongside other remarkable species like the Crested Eagle, Black Oropendola, and the elusive Grey-cheeked Nunlet. Discover how Darién, with its rich tapestry of ecosystems, supports not only these incredible species but also a myriad of other avian wonders. Learn about the region's conservation challenges and successes, and how ecotourism initiatives like the Canopy Camp are making strides in preserving this vital habitat for future generations. Prepare to be enthralled by stories of Darién's feathered residents and ongoing efforts to preserve their habitat. This lecture is not just a birding journey, it's a tribute to the Harpy Eagle and the vibrant biodiversity of Panama's most enchanting region. This presentation is made possible by Houston Audubon's partnership with Land Sea and Sky.

Saturday, April 20

History of High Island: 11 AM
Native Americans, pirates, mineral wells, health spas, farms, oil wells, always birds, and eventually birders. Find out about Houston Audubon’s High Island Sanctuaries’ history.

Best of Birding in Central America: 2:30 PM
Join Sabrewing Nature Tours owner Rob Ripma as he explains what factors you should consider when deciding which country in Central America you want to visit. From birding and experiencing the culture of Guatemala to discovering the remote and exciting Darién province in Panama, Rob will help you explore all the best birding options in this incredible region! This presentation is made possible by Houston Audubon's partnership with Land Sea and Sky.

Sunday, April 21

Raptor Identification: 11 AM
Some of the greatest visible migratory spectacles on the Upper Texas Coast involve migratory birds of prey. Every spring and (particularly) fall hundreds of thousands of raptors funnel their way along the Texas coast. While usually quite visible- either perched on a power pole or soaring overhead- their often subtle patterning and various age-related plumages can lead to some tricky identification challenges. This class will walk participants through identifying the many species of diurnal raptors one might expect to encounter on the Upper Texas Coast.

Bird Watcher's Digest: Then & Now: 2:30 PM
BWD has been publishing the best stories for birders by birders since 1978! Enjoy a look into the early days of the magazine, which started in Bill and Elsa Thompson's living room in Marietta, Ohio, to its evolution into the beautiful, informative, and entertaining magazine it is today. Editor Jessica Vaughan will highlight some of the captivating art, photography, and writing the BWD team is proud to deliver to readers in every issue. This presentation is made possible by Houston Audubon's partnership with Land Sea and Sky.

Friday, April 26

Shorebird Identification: 11 AM
Often lauded as one of the most difficult groups of birds to identify, shorebirds are a huge fixture of spring migration on the Bolivar Peninsula, with over 40 species recorded. This array of diversity can be overwhelming, so this class will focus on how and what to look at when identifying a shorebird rather than a species-by-species treatment.  

The Right Binocular for You: 2:30 PM
With so many options available, choosing the right binocular can be overwhelming. Whitney Lanfranco is a long time birder, binocular user, and the Nature Manager of Land Sea & Sky. Join her for an informative presentation that will answer your questions and help demystify optics. Learn all about magnification, field of view, warranties, different price points, and much more.

Saturday, April 27

Birding by Habitat: 11 AM
From nearshore waters and saltmarsh to mature oak mottes and coastal prairie, High Island and the surrounding environs support a surprising number of distinct habitats, all of which are used by different types of birds. We’ll walk through what those habitats are and how to recognize them so that you can better build your birding itinerary on the Upper Texas Coast.

Sunday, April 28

Birding by Weather: 11 AM
We’ll explore how factors like wind and storms affect birds and their migration on the Gulf Coast. We will then learn how to use this information to get the most out of your birding in High Island (and beyond) this spring.