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Classes

Improve your birding skills — or get started in bird-watching with some friendly, expert help! Golden Gate Audubon offers classes for all levels of birding experience. Please register for our classes online (easy and fast). If you don’t have access to a computer, call our office at (510) 843-2222 and we will return your call as soon as possible.

CANCELLATION POLICY: As a small organization with limited office staff, it is challenging for us to handle last-minute cancellations. If you need to cancel, we will refund your registration fee if :

(1) You withdraw more than two weeks before the start of the class, AND
(2) We can fill your spot with someone from the class waiting list.

Please note that there will be a $5 cancellation fee to cover the credit card transaction costs for your sign-up and cancellation.

 

Birds of the Bay Area

Jan. 7 through Feb. 15

This class is now FULL but you may register to be on the waiting list.

Explore the extraordinarily varied habitats of the Bay Area with two of the region’s most experienced birding instructors. Rusty Scalf and Bob Lewis will lead field trips to habitats including fresh and saltwater wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands savannah to study the avian denizens of these communities. Classroom sessions will help you prepare for and review the birds you encounter. Field trip locations can be found on www.wingbeats.org.

  • Six Wednesday evening lectures, from Jan. 7 through Feb. 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Six Saturday or Sunday field trips (your choice) on the weekends following each class.
  • The final field trip on Feb. 14/15 is an overnight trip. Participants should book their own motel rooms  for Saturday Nov. 14. Instructors will offer motel suggestions. Destination to be posted soon.
  • Fee: $105 for GGAS members, $125 for non-members.
  • Class is limited to 40 participants.
  • Location: Class takes place in the East Bay at the Ed Roberts Campus, directly across the street from Ashby BART. The venue is easily reachable for people coming from both the East Bay and San Francisco. Free parking behind the building. Click http://www.edrobertscampus.org/getting-here for directions.
  • Click here to register. 

 

Beginning Birding –  evening session

Jan. 12 through Feb. 9

This class is now FULL but you may register to be on the waiting list.

Winter in the Bay Area means  an abundance of visiting shorebirds and waterfowl. This great introduction to bird-watching will teach you about the migrants and seasonal visitors, as well as year-round residents. Instructor Anne Hoff will familiarize you with the tools of the trade — binoculars, field guides, scopes, and the best local places to watch birds.  In Monday evening classroom sessions, she’ll introduce you to different kinds of birds. Then on the following Saturday, she’ll help you spot them in the field! No prior birding experience required.

  • Five classroom sessions on Monday evenings Jan. 12, 19, 26, and Feb. 2 and 9, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
  • Four field trips of 2.5 hours on Saturday mornings – Jan. 17, 24, 31, and Feb. 7.
  • Limited to 16 participants. Then there will be a waiting list in case any participants drop out.
  • Fee: $85 for Golden Gate Audubon members, $105 for non-members.
  • Location: League of Women Voters office, across the hall from the GGAS office at 2530 San Pablo Avenue (at the corner of Blake) in Berkeley.
  • Click here to register.

Beginning Birding — morning session

Jan. 12 through Feb. 9

Winter in the Bay Area means  an abundance of visiting shorebirds and waterfowl. This great introduction to bird-watching will teach you about the migrants and seasonal visitors, as well as year-round residents. Instructor Anne Hoff will familiarize you with the tools of the trade — binoculars, field guides, scopes, and the best local places to watch birds.  In Monday morning classroom sessions, she’ll introduce you to different kinds of birds. Then on the following Friday, she’ll help you spot them in the field! No prior birding experience required.

  • Five classroom sessions on Monday mornings Jan. 12, 19, 26, and Feb. 2, and 9, from 10 to 11:30 am.
  • Five field trips of 2.5 hours on the Friday mornings after each class — Jan. 16, 23, 30 and Feb. 6 and 13.
  • Limited to 15 participants. Then there will be a waiting list in case any participants drop out.
  • Fee: $85 for Golden Gate Audubon members, $105 for non-members.
  • Location: Finnish Hall at 1970 Chestnut St. in Berkeley, one block north of University Ave and two short blocks east of San Pablo Ave. Parking information will be sent to registered participants. (Note new location: NOT the Audubon office.)
  • Click here to register.

Advanced Beginning Birding 

Jan. 14 through Feb. 15

This class is now FULL but you may register to be on the waiting list.

The Advanced Beginning class is geared to people who have already taken our Beginning Birding class, OR who have birded once a month (on average) for at least a year. Participants must have and use binoculars confidently. Field trips will take you to five counties, including bayside, Delta and fresh water locations. This class will help you understand the various bird families and master tricky IDs, and will also introduce you to citizen science (bird counting/monitoring) activities.

  • Five classroom sessions on Wednesdays Jan. 14, 21, 29, and Feb 4 and 11, from 7 to 8:30 pm
  • Five field trips of 3+ hours on the Sunday mornings — Jan. 18 and 25, and Feb. 1, 8, and 15.
  • Limited to 16 participants.  Then there will be a waiting list in case any participants drop out.
  • Instructor: Anne Hoff
  • Fee: $100 for Golden Gate Audubon members, $120 for non-members.
  • Location: League of Women Voters office, across the hall from the GGAS office at 2530 San Pablo Avenue (at the corner of Blake) in Berkeley.
  • Click here to register.

 

 

Birding By Ear – Winter session 

Jan. 15 through Feb. 21

NOTE: This class is now full. You may register to be placed on the waiting list in case there is a cancellation.

Birds communicate by making a variety of sounds all year long, even in the middle of winter. This class focuses on bird sounds heard at this time of year in our area. We will learn to locate and identify birds by chirps and calls as well as songs of some species that are now starting to sing.

  • Six Thursday evenings, January 15 – February 19 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Six Saturday field trips, January 17 – February 21 8:30 – 11:30am
  • Instructor: Denise Wight, www.denisewightbirds.com
  • Fee: $105 for GGAS members, $125 for non-members
  • Class is limited to 20 participants. \
  • Location: The Ed Roberts Campus, directly across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. The venue is easily reachable for people coming from both the East Bay and San Francisco. Free parking behind the building.
  • Click here to register. 

California Raptors in Winter

Jan. 24 through Feb. 8

NOTE: This class is now full but you may sign up to be on the waiting list.

Relatively mild temperatures and productive food sources make California an ideal destination for raptors in winter. This class will focus on the amazing evolutionary adaptations and life histories of California’s hawks, eagles, harriers, kites, and falcons. Presentations include information specific to winter resident, migrant, and seldom-seen vagrant raptors. On three full-day field trips, we’ll have opportunities to view and focus on this order but won’t ignore the myriad of other birds that call California home during winter.

  • One class presentation on Saturday Jan. 24, followed by a field trip. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Three Sunday field trips on Jan. 25, and Feb. 1 and 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Instructor: Eddie Bartley.
  • Fee: $100 for GGAS members, $120 for non-members.
  • Limited to 20 participants.
  • Location: The first class meets at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory office (Marin Headlands, Fort Cronkite). Ample parking is available. The three Sunday field trips are to Point Reyes, San Mateo coast, and Sacramento Delta. Field trip meeting points will be announced in class, where carpooling can be coordinated.
  • Rain date of Feb. 15 and/or Feb. 22 if bad weather postpones field trips.
  • For more information on the class, contact Eddie at eddie@naturetrip.com or go to www.naturetrip.com.
  • Click here to register. 

 

 

Master Birder Class

Starting Feb. 4, meets monthly throughout 2015

Golden Gate Audubon Society and California Academy of Sciences will offer their third year-long Master Birder class, starting on Wednesday February 4, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.. The goals are to help 20 ambitious students enhance their birding and conservation skills, and to develop 20 new active volunteers for GGAS, the Academy, or other Bay Area institutions.

The Master Birding Program is an advanced year-long class that includes 11 class sessions and 11 field trips throughout 2015. Classes will take place on the first Wednesday of each month, with field trips on the following saturday. (No class or field trip in July.) Most classes will take place at the Academy of Sciences to take advantage of the Academy’s collections and facilities. Field trips will be designed to reinforce class subject matter. Prior to taking the course, prospective students are expected to be able to identify California birds at an “intermediate level” (100 species by sight, and 25 species by sound).  

To successfully complete the program, students must commit to volunteer at least 100 hours to any MB participating organization (GGAS, the Academy, and other Bay Area birding or conservation organizations to be specified later) over a two-year period, and participate in at least 70 percent of the classes and field trips.

Upon completion of the program, the graduate will have developed a field notebook documenting sightings of over 200 bird species, will know how to identify the more difficult bird species and will have an understanding of habitats and bird communities, bird physiology, behavior and taxonomy.   S/he will have participated in over 20 organized field trips, developed a backyard (local patch) list, and will have made a 10-minute presentation to the class on an avian topic.  Other details of the course will be presented to interested candidates.

Instructors are Jack Dumbacher, Eddie Bartley and Bob Lewis.  For more information or to apply for the class, click on http://www.calacademy.org/events/science-classes-and-courses/san-francisco-master-birding-course.

North American Owls

Feb 10 through 18 plus field trips

Owls fascinate most of us. Learn what makes owls different from other birds, how to identify them by sight and sound, and the basics of their habits and habitats. Classes will be illustrated with slides, and with sounds of these birds of the night. Field trips will take us to local owl habitats, where we’ll hope to hear and see some owls. Instructor Dave Quady (davequady@att.net) is author of the Owls section of National Geographic’s Complete Birds of North America, and a frequent GGAS field trip leader.

  • Four evening classroom sessions on Feb 10, 12, 17 and 18, from 7 to 9 pm.
  • Three weekend afternoon and/or evening field trips on Feb. 14, Feb. 21, and a date in March that is not yet determined. Trips will be re-scheduled in the event of poor weather for owling.
  • Location: Classroom sessions at the League of Women Voters office, across the hall from the Golden Gate Audubon office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue (at the corner of Blake) in Berkeley. Field trip locations will be announced during class.
  • Instructor: Dave Quady.
  • Fee: $100 for GGAS members, $120 for non-members.
  • Limited to 20 participants.
  • Click here to register. When the class is full, you can register to be on the waiting list.

 

 

San Francisco Classes with Joe Morlan

Evening bird classes taught by Joe Morlan and endorsed by Golden Gate Audubon Society will be starting February 24 and 25, 2015. All classes meet 7-9:15 p.m. in room 218 at City College of San Francisco, John Adams Center. Free parking is in the school lot adjacent to the building at 1860 Hayes Street. If the lot is full, additional parking may be available. See class calendars for details.

The instructor is coauthor of “Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area” and “Birds of Northern California.” He is also coordinator of the recorded “Northern California Birdbox,” Chair of the California Bird Records Committee, and winner of the 2010 Ludlow Griscom Award for contributions to regional ornithology. Slides illustrate all lectures, and the text for all classes is “A Field Guide to Birds of North America,” sixth edition, by the National Geographic Society. “The Sibley Guide to Birds” is recommended as an adjunct text for both classes. Ornithology I will not be offered this semester.

  • Field Ornithology II (EA110) meets on Wednesdays February 25 through May 20. It is a continuing in-depth study of North American birds including cormorants, pelicans, herons, storks, and vultures.
  • Field Ornithology III EA120) meets on Tuesdays February 24 through May 19. It is a continuing in-depth study of North American land birds including flycatchers, shrikes and vireos.

The instructor may arrange optional field trips on weekends. Please bring binoculars and field guides to class if you have them. Fees are $265 for each twelve week class but there is a $15 discount for each class if you pre-register at least a week early. For further information call (415) 561-1860. You can register online, or mail or fax this registration form.

For additional information see the official City College Continuing Education site. Schedule and details for Fall 2014 are available here.

What’s even more fun than taking one of our birding classes?

Taking it with a friend! Invite a birding buddy to register with you.