Bird classes and workshops

Intro to Birding

Instructors: Mickey Long and Jon Fisher


Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).
 

Looking for a worthwhile New Year’s resolution? Birds are fascinating, varied, beautiful,
and can be found almost anywhere. They make great subjects for nature study. The
phenomenon of migration and vagrancy only adds to their appeal.

That said, stepping into the world of birding can be daunting and overwhelming. There
is a lot to learn. If you’re interested in birds and birding but don’t quite know how to get
started, this course is for you. And if you’re not quite a neophyte, but still in the early
stages of your birding journey, this course will offer a wealth of useful information.

Beginning birders face a steep learning curve and have many questions. Where should
I go to watch birds? What equipment do I need? How do I start to build my birding
library? How do I begin to learn to identify over 400 species? How can I get the most
out of my birding?

With decades of birding experience between them, Mickey and Jon will answer these
questions and many more. They will offer insights, tips and information about all things
birding.

Among the topics covered will be books, birding optics, cameras, clothing, eBird,
habitats and birding locations. The identification of local birds will also be a major focus,
both in the classroom sessions and on the field trips.

This course aims to provide all the information you’ll need to enjoy birding while keeping
it entertaining and fun.

When:
Three evening classes: Thursday January 12, 19, and 26, at the Jackie Robinson Community Center
Two Saturday field trips: January 21 and 28, sunrise until noon. Location TBA.
Class limited to 20 people. Participants are asked to make all sessions.

About the instructors:
Mickey Long retired in 2010 as Natural Areas Administrator over 19 Los Angeles County
Natural Areas and Wildflower Sanctuaries, and has a BS in Zoology from California State
University Los Angeles. He teaches natural history classes for the Nature Centers, has
led numerous birding and other field trips. He has been an active birder for 5 decades
and has research interests and publications in ornithology, herpetology and botany.
Mickey also is past President, Vice Pres. and Conservation Chair for the Pasadena
Audubon Society. He now chases birds, butterflies, and lizards around, and says
teaching natural history classes is one of his most rewarding endeavors.
Jon Fisher has been birding for well over thirty years. He has been the compiler for the
Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley Christmas Bird Count for nearly that long. He also writes
the "Birds of the Season" column appearing in the Western Tanager newsletter and has
compiled the Los Angeles Rare Bird Alert each week for over two decades. He has
presented a number of bird identification workshops for Pasadena Audubon over the
years (many of these with Mickey Long) and also led numerous field trips. His main
interests are the identification and distribution of southern California birds. That interest
has expanded to include photographing birds for the past fifteen years.

The class is filled. Check back for future classes.


 


Previous classes

Botany for Birders

Instructor: Mickey Long, Field Biologist and former Natural Areas Administrator, L.A. County Parks & Recreation


Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria).
 

This is a class first innovated and offered in 2011 and asks the question: “would you like to know more about plant identification and ecology to improve your knowledge, communication skills and enjoyment of birds in their ecosystems?” These classes and field trip will provide illustrated examples and hands-on samples of plants from Southern California habitats, including; valleys, foothills, mountains, and deserts. Both native and common non-native trees and shrubs will be included, but we will stick to most important, indicator species for bird habitat. This is not an exhaustive plant ID class.

Learn:

  • Dominant trees and shrubs that provide common perches for birds. Rather than say “it’s in that big tree toward the middle,” you can say “it’s in the sycamore, just left of the ash.”
  • Important food plants, berries, seeds. In what plants do I look for Pine Siskins in Fall or Swainson’s Thrushes during May migration?
  • What warblers tend to use conifers and which are most likely in deciduous trees.
  • Where to really look for a California Gnatcatcher, a Cactus Wren, or a Least Bittern based on vegetation indicators.
  • Recommended books and other sources for identifications and further study.

When:
Two evening classes: Thursday Nov. 3, and Thursday Nov.10, 2022 7-9:30 p.m., and a local Field Trip: Saturday Nov. 5, 8–11 a.m.
Class limited to 20 people. Participants are asked to make all sessions.

Where:
Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Cost:
$90 for Pasadena Audubon members, $100 for non-members, $20 for young birders under 18 years of age.

Register here!