By Alex Smolyanskaya
One of the many special items up for bid during this year’s Birdathon Auction is a private Birding By Ear session with Denise Wight. Denise’s Birding By Ear group classes have been known to fill up within minutes of going up online, so this is a unique opportunity to learn from Denise in a small setting.
I have taken her class multiple times (as have many others!) and I think that even a single private session would help take your birding by ear to the next level. Whether you’re just starting out or working on your sparrow ‘tseeps’ and chips, Denise meets you where you are. She shares her intimate knowledge of bird songs, calls, and non-vocal sounds and offers a variety of approaches and tips among which you choose whatever works for you. There are some bird calls for which I still conjure a mnemonic in Denise’s voice, and you know what? That works for me!
Denise starts many walks with a few minutes of quiet listening — something I now try to do every time I’m out on my own. It helps me become more aware of my auditory environment and pinpoint what I know and what I don’t. With Denise nearby, she helps identify the mystery birds and reveal the key parts of the sound you can use to identify the bird on your own. I love that throughout a walk she stays focused on listening, even if a bird is in plain sight. The reward is the ability to identify many more birds out on your own, since we typically hear many more birds than we see.
Denise’s instruction has taken my birding to the next level, and this is a great opportunity for you to do the same!
The auction goes live on March 25 at this link: https://www.ebid.net/us/for-sale/private-birding-by-ear-with-denise-wight-177674020.htm. It will go to the highest bidder on April 1 at 12:30p. Check out the other auction items, which run throughout Birdathon, at https://www.ebid.net/us/users/goldengateaudubon/listings/. Bid your heart out!
Alex Smolyanskaya has been birding the Bay Area since moving here in 2015. She is currently enrolled in the Master Birder course with the goal of becoming well-rounded observer of local birds and wildlife. When she’s not birding, Alex helps people make informed decisions with data science.