Leading a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.

Adult Classes

A variety of classes on birding and natural history are taught throughout the year by qualified instructors who are experts in their respective fields. Classes support the Seattle Audubon mission of appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.

  • New classes open for registraion quarterly (March 1, June 1, Sept. 1, Dec.1); if the 1st of the quarter falls on a Sunday or a holiday registration will open the following day.
  • To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, including helpful tips for finding class venues, click here.  

Visit the Master Birder page to learn more about that two-semester program.

Seattle Audubon members use promo code SASMEMBER
during checkout to recieve the member discount

Drawn to Nature Sketching Workshops
with Cinny Burrell and Carleen Zimmerman, master birders and artists
Workshops: Session 1 Sunday, January 12, Session 2 Sunday, March 8, 1:30-4:30pm
Location: Session 1: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building room 5; Session 2: TBD.
Cost:    Session 1: $25 members, $40 non-members
             Session 2: $20 members, $35 non-members
             Both Sessions: $40 members, $55 non-members
Limit: 20 per session
Whether you are looking to improve your bird I.D. skills or expand your artistic abilities, these classes will be informative and fun! We will study shape and form of a variety of familiar Washington bird species using reference photos and study skins. You will learn step by step drawing techniques to accurately depict birds and use value and color to add dimension to your drawings. Participants will bring their own materials (paper, pencils). Adults and teens aged 14+ are welcome. Sessions may be taken independently.
Session 1 will focus on step by step drawings of bird posture, shape, angles and anatomy drawn from slide images.  We will explore how adding feather patterns, value and color add depth and dimension.
Session 2 will continue skill-building techniques for drawing bird shape and form and will introduce techniques for drawing moving birds and birds in flight.  Exercises will focus on composition and depicting birds in their habitat, as well as how to do quick sketches of moving birds. 

Dragonflies and Damselflies
with Dennis Paulson, Director Emeritus at The Slater Museum of Natural History, teacher and author
Lecture: January 15 and 22, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Brick Building room 35
Cost: $60 members, $75 non-members
Limit: 24
Dragonflies and damselflies are birdwatchers' insects. They are large and brightly colored, active during the daytime, and inhabit wetlands all around us. Their behavior, especially when it comes to sex, is much more interesting than you might expect from an insect. Their superlative vision and flight abilities make them the dominant insect predators of the air, but in the complex food web of nature they are also very important prey for some bird species. Join Dennis Paulson for two illustrated lectures with an overview of dragonfly natural history and an introduction to the diversity of local species.

Identifying Birds in Flight: Raptors and Waterfowl
with Connie Sidles, author and master birder
Lectures: Thursdays, January 16, 23, 30, and February 6, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: TBD
Field Trips: January 18 or January 25 for raptors AND February 1 or February 8 for waterfowl (students can choose one raptor date and one waterfowl date; signups during the first class).
Cost: $120 members, $135 non-members
Limit: 20
Often the only glimpse of a bird we see is a shape soaring overhead, a distant body flapping against the clouds, or a sudden flash of something zooming past. When this happens, we don't have to just sigh in frustration or wish we had binoculars with the power of Palomar. There are many clues birds in flight give to help us ID them: wing shape, flapping patterns, tail/body/head proportions, undercarriage plumage, and flight calls, among others. If you'd like to improve your birding skills by IDing birds in their element - the air - then this class is for you. Master Birder Connie Sidles will conduct two classroom sessions on raptors and two classroom sessions on waterfowl. There will be a choice of one of two field trip dates for raptors (Skagit/Samish flats); and one of two field trip dates for waterfowl (Montlake Fill). Students may choose their dates during the first class. *The class is best suited for intermediate birders who are able to ID pretty much all our waterfowl and raptors when they are sitting still.* This class is FULL. To join the wait list, click the Register for Winter Classes button above and add the wait list option (free) to your cart.

Peacocks, Penguins, and Charles Darwin: Evolution for Birders
with Hans de Grys, Chemistry Teacher at Lakeside School, master birder, Recipient – MIT’s Inspirational Teacher Award
Lecture: Thursday February 13, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Lakeside School, Allen-Gates Bldg, Room 104
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Limit: 22
Why do peacocks have such fantastic tails?  Why are penguins white on their bellies but black on their backs?  Why are field guides organized with ducks in the front and sparrows in the back?  What did Charles Darwin really learn from the finches of the Galapagos Islands?  We will explore these mysteries and more as we learn the basics of evolutionary theory, with a focus on the evolution of birds.  We will examine natural selection, bird taxonomy, sexual selection, adaptive behaviors, and evolutionary developments in bird anatomy and physiology.  Bring your “why” and “how” questions about birds!

Intro to eBird
with David Droppers, stalwart of the Washington Butterfly Association with a background in teaching and field research
Lecture: Thursday, February 20, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building room 6
Cost: $25 members, $40 non-members
Limit: 24
Surely, you’ve heard of eBird!  You have?  Then why aren’t you using it??  EBird can be intimidating for the beginning user, but once you learn it, eBird can be immensely useful; everything from creating checklists to chasing rarities!  David will show you how to make the most out of it to enhance your birding experience, as well as how you can contribute to our knowledge of birds.  

Birding 101
with Jen Kunitsugu, Jack Stephens, and Jane Lester
Lectures: Tuesday, February 25 and Thursday, February 27 from 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Ryther (2400 NE 95th St, Seattle)
Field Trip: Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1 (sign up for one during the first lecture)
Cost: $65 members, $80 non-members
Limit: 22 (11 per field trip)
If you’re just getting started with birding, it’s natural to be a little overwhelmed. What are the little brown birds on my feeder?  What are all those cool ducks we have in winter, and how can I tell them apart? I heard a woodpecker in the park - what kinds do we have in Seattle? Which birds live here year-round and which are just passing through? Once you learn how to find birds, observe them carefully and identify them, birding becomes a fabulous lifelong hobby that only gets better and better with time.

Join us for an informal, fun-filled, innovative introduction to birds and birding. This hands-on class will incorporate sight, sound and habitat to create a holistic approach to learning. A local field trip will provide time in the field to see lots of birds, ask questions and sharpen your skills.
Suitable for all levels of beginners, from armchair feeder-watchers to those who have spent some time in the field and would like to develop their identification skills.  

Introduction to Sparrows of Washington State
with Hans de Grys, Chemistry Teacher at Lakeside School, master birder, Recipient – MIT’s Inspirational Teacher Award
Lectures: Thursday February 27, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Lakeside School, Allen-Gates Bldg, Room 104
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Limit: 22
Nearly 20 species of sparrows (and their close allies) call Washington state home for all or part of the year.  While they may appear at first to be a swarm of similar, nondescript birds, the different species of sparrows are actually quite distinct, with differing field marks, vocalizations, habits, and natural histories.  This class will focus both on identification and appreciation of this often overlooked group of birds.  This session is suitable for beginning and intermediate birders.

with Dan McDougall-Treacy, Seattle Audubon Classes Committee member and master birder
Lecture: Thursday, March 19, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building room 6
Field Trip: Saturday, March 21, 7:00am, destination TBD
Cost: $35 members, $50 non-members
Limit: 25
Join this class to indulge our fascination with Woodpeckers.  Familiar cartoon character – sure. But wait – there’s more!  While most woodpeckers dress themselves in patterned black and white, some show themselves in shades of green or browns. Their unique mode of living – including drumming and drilling – arouses our attention and our curiosity. Some woodpecker species are widespread, and others are uncommon and specialize in unique environmental niches.

The class will examine the distinctive characteristics of this family and review the 12 species that can be seen in Washington. A closer emphasis on the five species commonly found here on the western side of the state will include field marks and other identification tips, range and habitat, nesting, foraging and feeding specializations, and ecological and conservation issues.

Birding by Ear (BBE) - Listening is an act of loving birds
with Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser, Seattle Audubon master birder
Lecture: Thursdays, March 26 and April 2, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building room 6
Field Trip: (optional) Saturday, March 28, 7:30–10:00am, Seward Park
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Limit: 21
Identifying birds by their songs and calls can transform both your birding experience and your everyday life. Using both non-North-American birds and Washington State birds, this class will include a discussion and practice in "parsing" bird song - analyzing the different characteristics of a song (e.g. rhythm, tone quality) - to help with recognition and identification. We’ll talk about what’s understood about why birds make sounds and what we can learn from listening to them. Sonograms will be introduced as a tool to "see" differences between similar songs and calls. The class includes an optional field trip to Seward Park in south Seattle, where most of the birds are so high in the canopy that you can’t see them anyway – a great chance to practice listening! Appropriate for anyone who is new to BBE or wants to learn more. This class is FULL. To join the wait list, click the Register for Winter Classes button above and add the wait list option (free) to your cart.




Master Birder Information

Seattle Audubon offers a Master Birder Program, a two-semester course and education-for-service program focusing on the identification and natural history of Washington's birds. Offered every other year, participants benefit from an intensive study of Northwest birds and serve as valuable resources for Seattle Audubon and the community.

Seattle Audubon is nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Copyright Seattle Audubon.