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West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Description

Title:  BIRDS
Objectives:  Become familiar with strategies and techniques of field identification of WV birds.  Be introduced to some aspects of bird behavior and adaptations, and to methods of bird study.
Class type: Core curriculum
Time: 4 hours
Optimal season: Spring
Materials: Binoculars, field guides.
Expected outcomes:

The student will gain a basic understanding of

  1. how to identify birds in the field by sight and sound.
  2. how to select and use binoculars.
  3. bird behavior and adaptations.
  4. some methods of studying wild birds.

West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Outline  

Title: BIRDS
Time: 4 hours (about 1 hour classroom and 3 hours field trip)
  1. Overview
    1. Birds defined
    2. Analysis of the 234 regularly occurring WV species: summer, winter, and year-around spp., nesting spp., passage migrants
    3. Rare WV species and conservation concerns
  2. Field identification
    1. Binoculars and spotting scopes
    2. Field guides
    3. Strategy for IDing an unknown bird
    • Observe thoroughly before turning to field guide size, colors, markings, vocalizations, behavior
    • Consider habitat and range
    • Birding by sound
  3. Behavior and adaptations
    1. Mating and nesting, territoriality
    2. Habitats, feeding, and beaks and feet
    3. Migration
  4. Bird watching and study
    1. Birding organizations and publications
    2. "Citizen science" projects - reporting what you observe                 
    3. What to do with a dead bird
    4. "Orphaned" nestlings






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