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Birding By Ear

Birding by Ear

Denny Olson, M.S. 

Glacier National Park comprises more than 1 million acres of diverse and stunning bird habitat. Encounter both common and uncommon bird species that thrive in and around the park on an adventure led by expert birder Denny Olson, who possesses an intimate knowledge of Glacier’s unending hideaways. Enjoy two days in nature as you hike through the wilderness and into the habitats of both eastern and western watershed bird species, and share in the knowledge of your expert leader about the intricate avian ecology of these pristine natural areas. Lodging on Friday night is included in the course fee.

Meeting place: Glacier Institute Field Camp (see campus map)

Itinerary: All locations are subject to change based on conditions and bird activity.

Friday:  Friday evening, Denny Olson will introduce the basics of birding, common birds of Glacier and the habitats in which we will be birding. Afterwards, join for a campfire and s’mores before retiring for our early wake-up the next day.

Saturday:  We will conduct an exploration of bird songs before dawn by visiting a burned forest.  After regrouping at Field Camp for a snack we will return to the field at 8:30 AM, heading for Johns Lake fen, Avalanche Cedars (old growth birds) and the McDonald Creek cascades to search for (with our ears) wet meadow and pond birds, thrushes, Water ouzels, Harlequin ducks, vireos, and Pacific wrens. We will return to Field Camp for lunch and wrap up with a final discussion and review of species heard. The course will finish around 3:00 PM.

Food:  Students are responsible for their own meals. The Field Camp kitchen will be available for breakfast and dinner. Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks for trail days.

Required Equipment (all seasons): Warm Layers

Course Equipment: Binoculars are very useful, as well as field guides that interest you.

Physical Requirements: Moderate. We will be hiking to various sites at an easy pace, stopping frequently to listen for and identify bird songs and the birds that create them.  The hiking may be on or off trail in brushy and marshy areas, up to 3 miles and 1,000 feet elevation gain.

Transportation: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Recommended Reading:

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds, or Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds, or Birds of North America Golden Guide

Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Bird Songs  (CD), Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

Wood Warbler’s World, Hal Harrison, Simon and Schuster, 1984.

 Bird Watching for Dummies, Bill Thompson III, I.D.G. Books, 1997.

P.O. Box 7306, Missoula, MT  59807