school of environmental studies

Field Ornithology

Quick Summary:
Field Ornithology is a spring class that focuses on the resident and migrant birds found in the area. Students spend a majority of the day exploring local natural habitats in order to identify common birds.

Intensive Theme Description:
Field Ornithology is a taxonomy focused course. After a brief overview of avian biology students spend day in the field finding, identifying and listing birds found in the area. Along with learning to identify common birds by sight and sound students will learn ecological factors that influence where certain species of birds are found. Conservation issues focusing on birds will also be addressed. The ultimate goal of this course is to introduce students to an activity that can become a lifelong interest.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to identify local common birds by sight and sound.
  2. Students will become proficient at using binoculars.
  3. Students will become proficient at using identification field guides.


  1. Students will visit and explore local natural areas.
  2. Students will participate in a birding “Big Day”.
  3. Students will contribute data to Cornell University’s eBird database.


Students who wish to participate in this intensive theme should:
This course involves a good deal of hiking along local trails and goes afield in all sorts of weather. Students who sign up for this class should be comfortable in the outdoors and be able to hike for significant distances.

There is no additional fee for this course.