For the Birds Mini-Course Descriptions
Session 1: All About Owls
January 19 – Feb 2
Denizens of the night, owls are some of our most fascinating and mysterious birds. Learn how these incredible animals make a living when most of us are asleep, and hoo you can find in CT.
January 19 -Week 1: Jump in and discuss the incredible adaptations of owls, their migration patterns and conservation efforts taking place in the United States.
January 26 -Week 2: Learn about the species that call Connecticut home. We will go over habitat and range, diet, calls, and ID tips for each species.
February 2 -Week 3: There are many owl species in North America that have only been spotted in Connecticut a few times, or not at all. Learn about some of Connecticut’s rarer owl species as well as those that inhabit other parts of our country.
Session 2: Gulls and Terns
February 16 -March 2
Often overlooked on Connecticut’s shore, gulls and terns are some of our most common yet difficult to identify birds. Learn which species call Connecticut home and how to identify them in their various plumages.
February 16 -Week 1: Discover the adaptations, migration, feeding and breeding habits, conservation and human interactions that make gulls and terns unique.
February 23 -Week 2: Recognize characteristics and gain understanding in identifying Connecticut’s different gull species.
March 2 -Week 3: Terns are in the same family as gulls and can also be difficult to identify. Wrap up the week with learning how to tell the difference between Connecticut’s tern species.
Session 3: Waterfowl: Geese, Ducks and Swans
March 23 – April 6
Coastal Connecticut is a great place to see numerous waterfowl species in winter and early spring. Learn about the adaptations these birds have to their aquatic lifestyles and how to find and identify Connecticut species.
March 23 – Week 1: Standing out among flocks of waterfowl, geese and swans are our largest waterfowl species. Week one will discuss Connecticut geese and swan species including habitat, range, diet, and identification tips.
March 30 -Week 2: Some of the most well-known waterfowl are dabbling ducks. In week two, learn about Connecticut’s amazing dabbling duck species.
April 6 -Week 3: Connecticut’s shore and large water bodies are full of diving ducks in winter. Week three investigates Connecticut’s diving duck species including wear to find and how to identify these beautiful birds
Session 4: Wonderful Warblers
April 20 – May 4
Every spring, birders in Connecticut eagerly await the return of our wonderful warblers from their wintering grounds. Learn which species you can expect to see this spring and how to identify these small flying jewels.
April 20 – Week 1: Week one begins with warbler migration and conservation as well as general tips on how to identify spring plumages.
April 27 -Week 2: Many species of warbler have been recorded in Connecticut. Week 2 will start to cover each Connecticut species including identification, habitat, range, and more!
May 4- Week 3: Week 3 finishes up Connecticut species identification including less common species seen over the years.
Session 5: Hovering Hummingbirds
May 18 – June 1
Among the smallest bird species in North America, hummingbirds are also among the most beloved. These incredible fliers are a welcome visitor to backyard feeders and gardens. Learn about what makes these birds so fascinating and which species call Connecticut and beyond home.
May 18 – Week 1: Hummingbirds live a high-speed lifestyle and with that comes numerous adaptations. In week one learn how a hummingbird flies, feeds, migrates, and more!
May 25 -Week 2: Connecticut has just one native hummingbird species, however it is not unlikely to see visitors from other parts of the country. Week two covers species recorded in Connecticut including range, diet and identification tips.
June 1 – Week 3: Found in North and South America, there is a wide diversity of species that Connecticut never gets to see. This week will cover those hummingbirds found in other parts of the country as well as those birds that play a similar ecological role in other parts of the world.
Session 6: Sensational Shorebirds
June 15 – 29
Dotting Connecticut’s shores, mudflats, and estuaries, shorebirds are a welcome site in summer. These birds provide some of the best examples of human-bird interactions and what we can do to mitigate human disturbance to bird species. Learn about which species can be spotted in Connecticut and when and where to begin to identify them.
June 15 -Week 1: Week one begins with a general overview of shorebird adaptions, migration, and conservation action taking place in Connecticut.
June 22 -Week 2: Plovers, oystercatchers, stilts, and avocets are some of the most charismatic shorebird species found in Connecticut. This week, dive into learning about their habitats, range and diet.
June 29 -Week 3: Sandpipers are both the most numerous group of shorebird found in Connecticut as well as the some of the most difficult to identify. Finish up this course by challenging your identification skills.
Session 7: Swallows and Swifts
September 7 – 21
Each fall these aerial insectivores dazzle Connecticut residents with their acrobatics and stunning migration displays. Learn about these incredible fliers and how they live both here in Connecticut and worldwide.
September 7 -Week 1: Highly adapted to life on the wing, we will go over how swallows and swifts fly and feed, breeding habits, conservation, and general ID tips.
September 14 -Week 2: In week 2, dive deeper with with your identification skills and begin to distinguish between species.
September 21 -Week 3: Though Connecticut only sees a handful of swallow and swift species, there are many others throughout the world. This week, learn about some of the other species found in the United States and beyond.
Session 8: Birds of Prey
Among the most capable predators in the world, birds of prey fascinate us with their incredible speed and power. Learn about what makes these birds so amazing and which species you can expect to see in Connecticut.
October 5 – Week 1: Week one starts with an overview of bird of prey adaptations, migration, and identification tips for identifying between the groups.
October 12 -Week 2: Connecticut has a wide variety of bird of prey species. In week two, delve into the vulture, falcon, kite, eagle and accipiter species found in Connecticut.
October 19 -Week 3: Buteo species are the most difficult birds of prey to identify. Week 3 will go through the different hawk species found in Connecticut.
Session 9: Spectacular Sparrows
November 2 – 16
Their field markers may not be as brightly colored as other songbird species, but nonetheless sparrows are striking! They are also among the birds that can be challenging to identify. Learn about which species can be seen in Connecticut.
November 2 -Week 1: Though small birds, there is a lot going on in the world of sparrows. Week one will start with sparrow migration, conservation, and ID tips, and go over some rarer sparrow species recorded in Connecticut.
November 9 – Week 2: With over two dozen species recorded in Connecticut, sparrow identification is no easy task. Week 2 will begin the journey through identification as well as touch on habitat, diet and field marks
November 16 -Week 3: Week 3 concludes with the remaining Connecticut sparrow species identification and characteristics.