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Nature Victoria


Programs that connect with nature

The Marine Birds Course

The Marine Birds Course is designed for birders, naturalists, and interpreters who are keen to know more about the behaviour of marine birds. Learn where to find and how to identify marine birds and discover fascinating secrets about how they live and feed. The presentations are tailored for easy assimilation by amateurs as well as experienced biologists and naturalists. The focus is on the ecology and behaviour of birds encountered in our local waters. Emphasis will be given to unique and interesting biological and behavioural information that will capture the imaginations of both amateurs and professionals.

The course instructor, James Clowater, is an ornithologist who specializes in the behavioural ecology of marine birds.

Topics covered in the course include:

  1. Adaptations for flight
  2. Adaptations of diving birds
  3. Foot-propelled diving birds
  4. Wing-propelled diving birds
  5. Shorebirds
  6. Nocturnal foraging by Western Grebes

Birds included in this course are those commonlly seen in the marine environment around Victoria, BC. These include loons, grebes, cormorants, alcids, gulls, diving ducks, phalaropes, and shorebirds.

This course consists of five two-hour presentations and two field trips. The presentations take place during the week from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. They consist of a Powerpoint presentation with digital video sequences of birds and bird behaviour as well as demonstrations. The field trips are on Sundays from 9:00 am to 10:30 am.

Registration:

The course is offered in the spring at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and in the fall at the University of Victoria. The cost for the series is approximately $95.00 plus tax per person, depending on the hosting location.

Please contact Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary or the University of Victoria's Department of Continuing Studies for exact dates and registration fees.

Wait List:

If you wish to be placed on a wait list and contacted by email for the next session, please submit the following email contact form.

BIRDING BASICS

Birding Basics is an ideal opportunity for those interested in discovering the pleasures of bird watching. The complete program consists of Birding Basics I: Songbirds , and Birding Basics II: Waterbirds. Each is a series of four lectures and three field trips, where you will learn the basics of birding and how to avoid common frustrations. You will learn to identify birds by visual cues such as typical postures and profiles as well as by field marks.

BIRDING BASICS I: Songbirds

The songbird component is available in the spring when we can best study see and listen to the songbirds. In this series I will introduce how to identify birds by song, calls and sonations. You will learn techniques to differentiate the great variety of calls, what to listen for, and how to narrow the identification to just a few species.

Topics covered in this course include:

  1. Equipment and field guides
  2. Classification of songbirds
  3. Where to find local birds
  4. Identification of songbirds
  5. Why and how birds sing
  6. Identification of birds by songs, calls, and sonations


BIRDING BASICS II: Waterbirds

The waterbird component is available in the fall when the waterbirds return to coastal waters after the breeding season. The waterbids are a diverse group that includes loons, grebes, cormorants, alcids, ducks and geese, shorebirds, gulls and terns.

Topics covered in this course include:

  1. Equipment and field guides
  2. Classification of waterbirds
  3. What to look for to identify birds
  4. Where to find local species
  5. Waterbird identification


Registration:

The courses are offered at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and at the University of Victoria. The University of Victoria has sessions at the Victoria campus as well as in Sidney at the Mary Winspear Centre. The cost for the series is approximately $95.00 plus tax per person depending on the hosting location.

Please contact Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary or the University of Victoria's Department of Continuing Studies for exact dates and registration fees.

Wait List:

This course can be offered whenever we have the minimum number of registrants so if you miss an offering or to reserve your seat in the next session, please put you name on the wait list. You will be contacted by email for the next session.