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.
Note: Class registration now happens online. Should using a computer be problematic, call The Nature Shop (206-523-4483) to register. Here's a visual for how to receive the member discount.
Seattle Audubon members use promo code SASMEMBER
during checkout to recieve the member discount
Principles of Flight with Connie Sidles, author and Master Birder
Lectures: Thursdays, June 6, 13, 20, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 3 for June 6; Room 5 for June 13 & 20
Field Trip: date TBD based on availability of the Marymoor Radio Control Club and weather; likely in September
Cost: $75 members, $90 non-members
How do birds fly? What makes an airplane stay in the air? How and when did flight evolve? Join us as we explore the principles of flight in three classroom sessions and one field trip. The first class will be about the mechanics of flight, with hands-on experiments and a possible visit by the model airplane engineers who fly regularly at Marymoor. The second class will be an exploration of how birds fly, and the third class will be about the evolution of flight. The field trip will be a weather-dependent demonstration at the Marymoor model airplane field, where airplane enthusiasts will show off their flying techniques for us and tell us how mechanical flight imitates bird flight. Appropriate for all levels of birders.
Intermediate Birding: Summertime Breeders and Early Fall Migrants with Connie Sidles, author and Master Birder
Lectures: Thursdays, July 11, 18, August 8, 15, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 1
Field Trip: Two per student, sign-up in class: July 13: Bottle Beach and Tokeland; July 20: Cle Elum; July 27: Treasure Hunt at Montlake Fill; August 9, 10, 11: Overnight to either Ellensburg or the Methow Valley, depending on fire conditions. Half the class will go on 9/10; the other half will go on 10/11.
Cost: $120 members, $135 non-members
In the summer, birds are rushing to raise their babies and get ready for fall, when many will leave us for warmer climes. If you're an intermediate birder who wants to deepen your skills, then this class is for you. Together we will learn about our summer thrushes, blackbirds, swallows, swifts, goatsuckers, and woodpeckers. We'll also devote ourselves to studying the fall shorebirds, both returning adults and the later juveniles. We'll learn plumages and natural history so you will really *know* these birds.
In addition to 4 classroom sessions, Connie will lead 4 field trips, where you can observe the birds studied in class. Participants are limited to 10 people per trip. We will record your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices during the first class and will figure out who is assigned to each field trip. We'll do our best to try to give everyone their 1st or 2nd choice, and we'll also try to give everyone two trips. Field trip transportation is by carpool, with gas expenses shared by passengers.
In addition to the field trips, all students may participate in a treasure hunt, when we will divide into teams and search our area for targeted birds. It's a contest! Finally, all students are invited to join Connie on weekly weekend shorebird counts at Montlake Fill (not Seattle Audubon affiliated) and a once-a-month bird census of all birds at the Fill. This is part of a 3-years study project to document the effects of WSDOT's mitigation plan at this site. Dates/times TBA. Appropriate for intermediate birders.
Birding by Ear (BBE) – Listening is an Act of Loving Birds with Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser, Master Birder class of 2017
Lectures: Mondays, July 29 and August 5, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 5
Field Trip: (optional) Tuesday, July 30, 6:30-8:30pm at Magnuson Park
Cost: $60 members, $75 non-members
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 evening field trip to Magnuson Park to listen to the end-of-day bird conversations. 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 Classes button (above) and add the WAIT LIST option to your cart.
Vagrancy with Matt Bartels, Secretary of the Washington Bird Records Committee
Lecture: Thursday, August 1, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Blue Building Room 6
Cost: $30 members, $45 non-members
Where do Washington vagrants come from, why do they show up and are there strategies look for them? Join Matt in a discussion of the rare birds that have made their way to Washington. What are the main methods that bring these unusual birds to our state? Do different species show up at different times? And where might you go to increase your odds of finding rare birds? We’ll cover frameworks for understanding vagrancy and look for patterns in arrivals of the rarest birds in the state. Appropriate for all levels of birders.