Birds and Birding
Professor Clifford Hence

This course will be held at the Philadelphia City Institute Branch of the Free Library, located at 1905 Locust Street, Philadelphia. 


1.  Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - What is a Bird?

Birds share a variety of unique features that separate them from other species on earth. Feathers, which give them their ability to fly, are just the start of their adaptations. They also have anatomical features that enhance their abilities to survive and reproduce.

2.  Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - Types and Distribution of Birds

Birds have adapted to thrive in nearly every habitat on earth from the northern Arctic to the southern Antarctic. They are at home on land and at sea.

3.  Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - Migration

Birds undertake the longest and most difficult migrations of any creatures on the planet. Their longer journeys are known to cross the oceans and hemispheres. They also have shorter local and seasonal migrations as well.

4.  Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - Bird Identification
Birds can be difficult to identify in the field. However, they all have unique "field marks" including color, size, shape and behaviors that can narrow the focus and lead to their identification.

5.  Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - Why Do Birds Sing?
Birds are known for their beautiful songs and sometimes ruckus calls. These calls can be simple or complex. The meanings of their songs and calls will be discussed as well as ways to learn them.

6.  Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - The Where and When of Birding

Numerous species of birds can be seen in different habitats and different times of the year. Bird watching is a year-long activity that provides the observer with the opportunity to see a good selection of species of birds and develop an excellent "Life Bird" list. Travel can also add to the enjoyment of birds.

This course will discuss the many unique aspects of birds and their environment. Beginning with the anatomy of birds, we will discuss the adaptability of birds throughout the world and locally that enable them to survive in nearly every habitat on the planet. The course is also designed to provide students with the ability to recognize bird species and identify bird songs and calls. This class will be an opportunity to learn more about the birds in your garden as well as worldwide.

Recommended reading:

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America Eastern Edition. By Roger Tory Peterson.

The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong. By Donald Kroodsman.

Lives of North American Birds. By Ken Kaufman.

The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. By David Allen Sibley.



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