This is the first of a two-part course offered in the Chesapeake Forum Winter and Spring Semesters 2023.  The parts are independent, and one may be taken without the other.  While this is a program for beginners, birders who have had some experience and wish to hone their skills are welcome. 

Unlike previous birding courses, most of the teaching will be done in the field, bird-by-bird, species-by-species. There will be ten weekly field trips, eight of which will be 3-hour outings to local destinations and two of which will be essentially all-day to more distant locations. 

      • Backyard Birds.  January 23, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Pickering Creek Audubon Center

      • Feeder Birds. January 30, 8-11 am. FIELD TRIP to Wye Farm, Centreville

      • Owls. February 7, 5-8 am, FIELD TRIP to Tunis Mills & vicinity

      • Waterfowl 1. February 13, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Cambridge

        • Waterfowl 2. February 20, 8 am-4 pm, FIELD TRIP to Ocean City & Berlin

          • Winter Woods. February 27, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Seth Demonstration Forest

            • Those Pesky Sparrows. March 6, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Oxford Conservation Park

              • Blackwater Potpourri.  March 13, 8 am-2 pm, FIELD TRIP to Blackwater NWR

                • Birds of Open Country.  March 20, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Caroline County

                  • Wastewater. March 27, 8-11 am, FIELD TRIP to Easton Wastewater Treatment Facility I

                There will be two in-person classes. The first will introduce birding skills and resources and cover some important ecological concepts. The second and last will take place after all the field trips and will provide the opportunity to review any challenging identifications of the species seen in the field. 

                Due to the importance of being able to get good looks at the birds seen, each participant must have a birding-quality pair of binoculars (7×42 or 8×42 recommended). Some field birding will require walking distances of up to a mile.

                What to Expect:  This is a field-oriented course in which bird identification will be learned according to each species seen on a series of ten trips to a variety of destinations and habitats. It is intended for beginners and those who wish to increase their birding skill and confidence.

                Participants will gain confidence in identifying many bird species that are common winter residents on the Eastern Shore. In addition to clues such as field marks, general appearance, and behavior, they will see how the relationship between species and habitat provides additional identification information as well as insight into approaches to bird conservation.

                HYBRID course at the Easton Family YMCA (choose to participate in person, through Zoom, or recording) with FIELD TRIPS to multiple locations.

                2 classroom sessions | Thursdays | Jan 19, and March 30 | 2:30 – 4 pm | $45

                10 field trips | Mondays | Jan 23, 30, Feb 13, 27, March 6, 20, 27 at 8 – 11 am; Feb 20 at 8 – 4 pm; March 13 at 8 – 2 pm and Tuesday, Feb 7 at 5 – 8 am

                Feedback from Wayne’s past courses:

                “I signed up for Wayne’s class just for the experience of the remote field trips and they introduced me to places I’d never find on my own. Bravo Wayne and thank you!”

                “Wayne’s enthusiasm is contagious. I learned so much from each class session!  Being able to put it to practice in the field made this learning experience even more meaningful. The follow up videos were so helpful to review. Please continue to provide outside experiences in the future

                “As always, Wayne’s classes are full of useful information and his field trips are amazing! I particularly liked the focus this semester on the ecology of our land use here on the Eastern Shore.  It gives us all something to think about!”


                Wayne Bell, Ph.D.

                Dr. Wayne Bell is Senior Associate and former Director of the Washington College Center for Environment and Society. A native of Silver Spring, MD, he graduated from the University of Miami, Florida, and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University where E.O. Wilson infected him with a lasting love of ecological things. Retired in 2006, Dr. Bell continues his passion for birds and teaching through the Maryland Ornithological Society and its Youth Program (YMOS).

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