Field Ornithology course



3 days








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Field ornithology course covering the birds of Britain and survey methodology

This course lasts a year with four sessions of three days. Students will work towards a level 6 Ofsted approved certification in field ornithology. This is uniques in the UK.

It is destined for student, graduate and career conservationists to improve field ornithology skills and employ-ability. The course will cover the simple and advanced methodologies for surveying breeding, migrating, and overwintering birds, as well as how to identify over 200 species by sight, and over 100 by sound.

Difficult groups such as warblers, winter gulls and more will become accessible and even easy. Passionate and expert teachers and helpers will be able to break down ID struggles and supply solutions for memory and recognition.

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

Everyone is welcome on this course. There is no pre-requisite level of knowledge, your learning curve will be more or less steep! The course is designed for student, graduate and career conservationists and ecologists. It is very difficult to have a complete and practiced knowledge of Britain’s birds and survey techniques to study them. This course is able to offer this, and The Habitat People are excited to meet anyone wanting to learn and perfect!

Learning Path

Field Ornithology is a course run by The Habitat People, specialised on filling the growing skills gap between young conservationists and entry level field jobs. This course will cover the simple and advanced methodologies for surveying breeding, migrating, and overwintering birds, as well as how to identify over 200 species by sight, and over 100 by sound. The course will teach everything from basic bird identification through to more advanced field techniques. Learners will be taught how to use their skills to actively contribute to modern conservation, both over the year of the course and after. Optional learning between sessions will be tailored to each learner’s abilities, from learning everyday garden birds, to searching for subspecies of warblers. We also provide a support network to assist with learning outside of the main sessions and provide advice and thoughts to learners whilst out in the field. Northeast Scotland has one of the most diverse and varied range of habitats of anywhere in the UK, so is an excellent location to survey and learn about varied avian diversity. Following the final session there is a pass/fail exam encompassing calls and song, visual identification, and a field exam. On passing all three sections, learners will achieve a level six certificate of competence, and provide an excellent reference of their skills and abilities to future employers.

This course is run by The Habitat People and administrated by Lantra, on behalf of Ofsted.

For all twelve days of teaching, and the final exam, the course is £850.00 per learner, with a concessionary rate of £450.00 for students and unemployed. 

Experienced ornithologists that wish to receive the certificate as proof of capability can apply at a discounted rate to take the exam early, after proving competence for £300.00 .

Day 1 –
Morning – Introduction, ‘ID quiz-up’, and discussion
Afternoon – Winter waterbirds and waders
Day 2 –
Morning – Fieldwork: Overwintering bird survey methods
afternoon – Fieldwork: Transects, accuracy and why you don’t count all the birds
Day 3 –
Morning – Threats to British birds, how to identify them and bird of prey identification.
Afternoon – Making gulls easy

Day 1 –
Morning – Introduction, ‘ID quiz-up’, and discussion
Afternoon – Identifying breeding territories & warblers for dummies!
Day 2 –
Morning – Fieldwork: Spring migrant surveys
afternoon – Fieldwork: Reedbed surveys
Day 3 –
Morning – Woodland Bird Identification
Afternoon – Fieldwork: ID workshop

Day 1 –
Morning – Introduction, ‘ID quiz-up’, and discussion
Afternoon – Breeding bird survey methodology & nesting etiquette
Day 2 –
Morning – Fieldwork: Seabird colony counts & seabird identification
afternoon – Fieldwork: Nest finding
Day 3 –
Morning – Woodland bird identification, Fieldwork: BBS transects
Afternoon – Fieldwork: Fieldwork Q&A and practice for exam
Day 4 –
Morning – Song/Call ID exam, visual ID exam
Afternoon – Survey Exam, feedback and next steps

Day 1 –
Morning – Introduction, understanding what you already know & the secrets of learning
bird calls
Afternoon – Migrating birds, why we monitor them, and identifying migrating passerines
Day 2 –
Morning – Surveying migrant passerines, and how to survive LBJ’s and warblers
Afternoon – Static seabird surveys, oceanic bird identification
Day 3 –
Morning – wading birds & ducks of autumn
Afternoon – Fieldwork: WEBS surveys & how to identify waterbirds in flight

Are You Ready To Start?

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