Birdwatching 101 at the Duluth Folk School
October 19, 2021

Birdwatching 101

  • Week 1 of 7
    March 22, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 2 of 7
    March 29, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 3 of 7
    April 5, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 4 of 7
    April 12, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 5 of 7
    April 19, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 6 of 7
    April 26, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Week 7 of 7
    May 7, 2022
    7:00 am - 9:00 am
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In this comprehensive seven-session class, you will learn everything you need to get started as a successful bird watcher!

Bird watching is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the U.S. Join local educator, naturalist, and birder, Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, for this foray into identifying birds for beginning bird watchers. The workshop will include tips on finding birds, tips on habitat, behavior, and tricks for identification. Each week will focus on a different topic!

Weekly Session Descriptions

Week 1, Introduction to Birding: History, Equipment, Technology, and Habitat

The first week of Birdwatching 101 is all about the pastime of bird watching (or simply, ‘birding’). This course will cover the beginnings of birding, discuss some of the important equipment and gear you may need to help you ID birds, as well as information on field guides and technology to help your start your bird watching journey off right! With the remaining time, we will begin to cover some of the locations to get out and find birds in our area. All of this information will be helpful moving forward to the following weeks!

Week 2, Bird Anatomy and Migration

Our second course will present an often talked about, but little discussed pair of topics: Bird anatomy and migration! We will take a shallow dive into feathers, important feather groups, and what makes a bird a bird. Field guides often include information on feather groups, and I would bet most of us just skip those pages… but they can be really critical to improve your birding skills. The second portion of this class will cover the basics of bird migration. Duluth just so happens to be on a critically important migration corridor for thousands of birds. Migration also happens to be one of most heavily birded times of year for many folks, and definitely worth discovering!

Week 3, Sparrows

Most people I know think there really is only one species of “LBB” (Little Brown Birds), but sparrows are a very diverse and sometimes colorful group of birds. They are also a group of birds that is easier than it seems to identify once you know where (and how) to look! We will learn a little more about this group of birds in our area, focusing on diversity, identification, and more about this group of interesting birds.

Week 4, Waterfowl

Mallards and Canada Geese are very familiar to most in the Duluth area, but did you know nearly 40 different species of waterfowl have been seen in our area? This week we will discuss and discover some of this diversity, while giving tips on identification, and notes on biology. Very often waterfowl do not offer us close looks, and more often than not, we are forced to rely on scope views for proper ID. We will get an introduction to identifying birds at a distance with this group!

Week 5, Shorebirds

Shorebirds, like sparrows, often give beginning birders a lot of trouble. Most are a similar shape and shade of brown, offering some confusion (even to seasoned birders!). Our class this week will introduce how to get started at sorting out this group of birds. Here, we will discover the ins and outs of shorebird ID, including diversity of feeding styles, habitat use, and migration of shorebirds!

Week 6, Warblers

By late April, some warbler species have already made their way back to our area! This group of birds tends to be the most colorful and vocal of our birds here in northern Minnesota. In breeding plumage, these birds don’t offer the same challenges as the fall, but still can be tricky for birders. The final week of this course will have us investigating and learning about warblers! Particularly, we will focus on ID tips, spring and fall plumages, and a little introduction on identification by song.

Week 7, End-of-Course Field Trip!

The final class of the course will not be in class, but will be a morning outing! Here, we will take all that we have learned in class and test our skills! We’ll be meeting at the end of Park Point (a springtime birding hotspot!), binoculars are available if you do not have your own pair, and there will be rain date (May 8) if needed. More information about the field trip will be discussed during the final class of this course.

Registration Includes

In-depth instruction over seven sessions, to include everything you will need to get started as a successful birder!

You should bring…

Field guides and any other birding resources should be brought to each class; optics are optional to bring on the field trip. Note taking materials would be helpful for each session.

Skill Level

No prior experience needed

Best for Ages…

13 and older



1917 W Superior St, Duluth Folk School Library, Duluth, 55806, United States


The Library is upstairs in the Duluth Folk School/Dovetail Cafe building.

Duluth Folk School Library Classroom

Note: The Library is up one flight of stairs, and we do not have an elevator.


Question or comment?


Duluth Folk School
1917 W Superior St
Duluth, MN 55806
(218) 481-7888


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