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Classes

Improve your birding skills — or get started in birdwatching 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.


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Birds of the Bay Area

January 9 through February 18

This class is now FULL. You may register below to be on the waiting list. Or try one of our other excellent winter birding classes!

It’s winter!  It might even rain!  But ducks and shorebirds are wintering in the area.  Geese and cranes are in the Central Valley and hawks are in the air!  Join an enthusiastic group of birders to experience birding locations in our area while learning about bird ID and a variety of other bird-related topics.

Field trip locations can be found on the instructor’s website, http://www.wingbeats.org/.

  • Six Tuesday evening classes, Jan 9 to Feb 13; 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Five three-hour field trips on the Saturday or Sunday (your choice) following each class plus one weekend long field trip on Feb 17-18.
  • Instructors:  Rusty Scalf and Bob Lewis
  • Limited to 40 participants
  • $130 for GGAS members, $150 for non-members
  • Location: Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, directly across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. Free parking in the lot behind the center.
  • Click here to register for the waiting list in case of cancellations.

 

Birding by Ear – Winter

January 11 through February 17 

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.

Field trip locations can be found on the instructor’s website, http://www.denisewightbirds.com/.

  • Six Thursday evening classes, Jan 11 to Feb 15; 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Six three-hour field trips on the Saturday following each class, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Instructor: Denise Wight
  • Limited to 20 participants
  • $110 for GGAS members, $130 for non-members
  • Location: Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, directly across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. Free parking in the lot behind the center.
  • Click here to register.  Once the class is full, you may register to be on a waiting list.

Migrant Treasure Hunt – The Central Valley

January 17 through January 21 

The Central Valley’s wetlands, grasslands and croplands host over 50 species of wintering and resident waterfowl and wading birds. Moreover, the area is home to about 20 species of raptors at this time of the year including Bald Eagles, Merlins, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks and Burrowing Owls. Through this class you’ll get practical tips to find birds in the Central Valley with an emphasis on avian habitat selection, bird calls/song, and behavior. We’ll also discuss how water resources management in California and climate change are influencing avian diversity and distribution in the region.

  • One Wednesday evening classes, Jan 17; 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • One weekend-long field trip to the valley, Jan 20−21.
  • Instructor: Juan-Carlos Solis
  • Limited to 20 participants
  • $50 for GGAS members, $75 for non-members
  • Location: Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, directly across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. Free parking in the lot behind the center.
  • Click here to register. Once the class is full, you may register to be on a waiting list.

 

Gulls of California

January 17 through February 3 

California and the San Francisco Bay area are a haven for most of the North American birds in the Laridae family — more commonly known as gulls. This is a short course on the natural history and identification of the common gull species present in winter, but will also touch on uncommon-to-rare and pelagic species that visit our state and offshore waters.

We’ll focus on the taxonomic relationship between gull species, gull morphology (especially age/plumage cycles), habits, habitats, and hybridization. We will have access to the excellent collection of gull “skins” at California Academy of Sciences.

The two-hour (plus) field trips will be to typical gull loafing and feeding spots in the San Francisco area and will be announced in class, where carpooling can be coordinated. Inclement weather postpones field trips.

Note: This class is intended for birders who identify as intermediate level and above who have perhaps put aside identifying gulls because of the inherent difficulties. A particular focus on age and plumage “cycles” of gulls in California will be a foundation of the course.

  • Three Wednesday evening classes:  January 17, 24 and 31, 2018: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Three Saturday field trips (locations TBD, times may be slightly altered):
    • January 20 –  1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
    • January 27 – 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
    • February 3 – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Instructors: Rudy Wallen, Eddie Bartley, and Jack Dumbacher
  • Limited to 20 participants
  • Fee: $100 for members of GGAS and California Academy of Sciences; or $120 non-members.
  • Class location: California Academy of Sciences (Enter at “staff entrance” ay rear of building. Further instructions will be provided.)
  • Click here to register.  Once the class is full, you may register to be on a waiting list.

Raptors in Winter

January 23 through February 11

Relatively mild temperatures and productive food sources make California an ideal destination for raptors in winter. This class taught by Eddie Bartley will focus on the amazing evolutionary adaptations and life histories of California’s hawks, eagles, harriers, kites, and falcons. Three evening 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.

Carpooling and Ride Share will be encouraged. Contact instructor for additional information: eddie@naturetrip.com

  • Three Tuesday evening classes January 23, 30 and February 6 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Three field trips, 9AM to 3PM on Sundays following the classes.
  • Instructor: Eddie Bartley
  • Limited to 20 participants
  • $100 for GGAS members, $120 for non-members
  • Location: Fort Mason in San Francisco, Landmark Building C, Room C230; fee based parking on site
  • Click here to register. Once the class is full, you may register to be on a waiting list.

Participants will be encouraged to join Eddie at the raptor rich “Winter Wings Festival” in the Klamath Basin which runs from February 15 through 18. (NOT a GGAS sponsored event); Separate registration (opens Saturday December 160 for the festival is required at http://winterwingsfest.org/

 

Master Birder Class – 2018

February 7, 2018 through December 2018

Golden Gate Audubon Society and California Academy of Sciences are very excited to offer our Master Birding course for the fifth year. The objective of the course is to help 20 ambitious students enhance their birding and conservation skills, and develop 20 new active conservation community members for GGAS, the Academy, and other Bay Area institutions.

The Master Birding Program is an advanced class, and will be one year in duration, with 11 classes and 11 field trips.  Classroom meetings will take place at the Academy to take advantage of the Academy’s collections and facilities.  Field trips are designed to reinforce class subject matter and to get firsthand experience with the breadth of birds that occur in the Bay Area. 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 with a MB-designated organization (GGAS, the Academy, and a long list of other Bay Area birding or conservation organizations) over a two-year period, and participate in at least 70 percent of the classes and field trips.

Through the program, graduates will develope a field notebook documenting sightings of over 200 bird species, know how to identify the more difficult bird species, learn about avian physiology, behavior and taxonomy, and develop an understanding of avian habitats and bird communities.  Graduates will have participated in over 20 organized field trips, developed a backyard (local patch) list, and made a 10-minute presentation to the class on an avian topic of their choosing.  Other details of the course will be presented to interested candidates.

Instructors are Jack Dumbacher, Eddie Bartley and Bob Lewis.  Fee for the class is $700 for non-CAS or non-GGAS members, $600 for members.  The class will start on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, and will meet one Wednesday of each month, 6:30 – 9 p.m.  The class will finish in December 2018. Field trips will take place on the weekend immediately following the class.

Registration is through California Academy of Sciences. We will post the link here as soon as it is available, in early December.

 

Birding by Ear – Early Spring

March 1 through April 7 

Spring! Birdsong is in the air. It’s a great time to learn birdsong. Get out early and learn them as the migrants arrive. Territories and pair bonds are being established, and birds are vocal. Learn why birds sing, and observe them in the field.

Field trip locations can be found on the instructor’s website, http://www.denisewightbirds.com/.

  • Six Thursday evening classes, March 1 to April 5; 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Six three-hour field trips on the Saturday following each class, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Instructor: Denise Wight
  • Limited to 20 participants.
  • $110 for GGAS members, $130 for non-members
  • Location: Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, directly across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. Free parking in the lot behind the center.
  • Registration opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 16. Check back here for the registration link. Once the class is full, you may register to be on a waiting list.

 

Our Beginning Birding class will return in spring 2018!

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.