Workshops

Items with a flame icon are our most popular workshops and sell out quickly!

Items with a binocular  icon are recommended for beginning birders.

Workshops at a Glance

Gull ID at the Brevard County Landfill
7:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum Group Size: 10, Price: $25.00

Florida Raptors Indoor Workshop
1:00 PM-2:30 PM, Price $15.00

What’s That Woodpecker?
2:45 PM-3:45 PM, Price $15.00

eBird Walk at Blue Heron
7:00 AM-9:45 AM, Maximum Group Size: 20, Price $45.00

 

Gull ID at the Brevard County Landfill
7:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum Group Size: 10, Price $25.00

 

eBird Classroom
10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Price $45.00

 

Eastern Warblers
1:00 PM-2:30 PM, Price $15.00

 

Sparrow ID Indoor Workshop
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Price $15.00

Birding by Ear & Habitat
6:30 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum Group Size: 12, Price $60.00

 

Shorebirds Simplified Indoor Workshop
2:15 PM-3:45 PM, Price $15.00

Birding by Ear & Habitat
6:30 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum Group Size: 12, Price $60.00

 

Shorebird ID Outdoor Workshop
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum Group Size: 20, Price $60.00

Workshops A-Z

Birding by Ear and Habitat Outdoor Workshop
Jan 25 & 26; 6:30am-12:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Paddy Cunningham (Birding Adventures)
Meet at the Oak Hammock Trail parking lot, 1/2 mile east of the MINWR Visitor Center. There are no restrooms here. A restroom stop will be made at the Refuge Visitor Center following the walk on the Oak Hammock Trail.
Birding by Habitat helps you determine what birds you are likely to see in an area. Birding by Ear helps to locate and identify the unique sounds of each bird. In this session, a variety of field techniques will be covered to help you increase your birding skills. We will travel to various habitats: scrub, pinelands, open field, shoreline, open water, wetlands, and roadsides to see the role of habitat in identification. Handouts will be distributed and discussed. Historically, this workshop averages 80 species with a high of 96 species for both days. Paddy Cunningham is a Naturalist, owner of Birding Adventures, and the Everglades Birding Festival Coordinator. Her motto is “You learn the ID,” and she excels in teaching birding skills in a non-intimidating field experience.


 

Eastern Warblers – A Comparative Interactive Indoor Workshop
Jan. 24, 1:00pm-2:30pm; AUD; $15
Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography)
This workshop mostly includes Eastern warblers, with a few extralimital species. Each species is shown in digital photo arrays that have most of the plumage possibilities in one frame (breeding male/female, nonbreeding, and immature). This comparison allows you to see the differences in each species in one view, which helps with your retention of important ID points. Similar species are also shown together in digital arrays to allow for direct comparison of differences. Most photos are from Kevin’s popular “Warblers of North America” laminated foldout guide. Thirty minutes of quiz photos test your power of retention at the end. Come and witness the challenges of warbler ID, and see the power of comparative viewing to separate similar species.


 

eBird Walk at Blue Heron Wetlands Outdoor Workshop
Jan. 24, 7:00am- 9:45am; 20 Registrants; $45
Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory) & Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours)
Note: Meet at the north parking lot of the Titusville IHOP Restaurant, 3755 Cheney Highway, near SR-50 and I-95 at 6:45am. Wear closed-toed comfortable walking shoes and bring water. You may want to attend the companion classroom workshop at EFSC, which follows the walk. There are no restrooms on the dikes at Blue Heron.
eBird has grown in popularity in recent years due to its ever-continuing ease of use for birders of all skill levels. The advantageous part of the eBird database is that it allows the user to engage at whatever extent they desire. No other database at the birder’s disposal allows us to use the hobby we enjoy so much to help make such a significant impact to science and conservation by simply watching and counting birds. But there are considerations to be made before heading into the field to count birds for entry into eBird. During this trip we will discuss the three major observation/protocol types: when to choose which and the effort levels that eBird asks the user to record; how to approach counting birds in the field and why it is important to actually count and “record all species;” and the value of sharing your checklist and why that is important. Also included: tips for more easily keeping your list using the eBird mobile app. Most importantly, as eBird states it, learn how to make your “checklist more meaningful.” On this leisurely three-mile walk, we will explore the Blue Heron Wetlands in an effort to build a list of observations that will be used in the classroom portion, where the data entry and submission process will be discussed.


 

eBird Classroom Indoor Workshop
Jan. 24, 10:30am-12:00pm; 4-119; $15
Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory) & Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours)
Note: Bring your phone, iPad or laptop to this workshop. You may want to also register for the companion field trip that precedes this workshop. WiFi is available.
eBird has become the go to resource for keeping your bird observations in one easy to use database. It’s a wealth of information and an increasingly powerful tool that is useful to birders on a local, state and national level. In this classroom portion of the eBird workshop, we will use our observation counts from the Blue Heron Wetlands field trip to discuss the data submission process. Discussion will include data entry tips and shortcuts. We will explore the various types of data output available (maps, bar charts, graphs and count data, etc.), how we as birders can use this data to further our personal knowledge of avian status and distribution locally and nationally, and how eBird is useful to the traveling birder and those searching to find specific species in their own region. We will also discuss sharing your eBird checklists and why it is important to share. As an eBird records reviewer, Jason will give insight in to the review process and what to expect if your record is flagged.


 

Florida Raptors Indoor Workshop
Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:30pm; AUD; $15
Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory)
There are 21 species of diurnal raptors, including both species of vultures, that are regularly found in Florida. Hawks are frequently described as difficult to identify. It takes considerable hours with binoculars pointed skyward to hone skills necessary to identify a raptor that is a speck on the horizon or high in the sky. Join Jason, who has counted hawks at some of the nation’s best hawk watching locales. The focus of this presentation will be on distant flight identification using shape, silhouette and flight style using the Raptor ID mobile app. We will discuss migration strategies and routes, status in Florida, identification references, plumage and some general life history. There will be a quiz to assess your new found hawk identification skills. This session will help you develop knowledge for your hawk searches and counts and equip you with knowledge to spend a day as an official counter at your local hawk watch site.


 

Gull ID at the Brevard County Landfill Outdoor Workshop
Jan. 23 & 24, 7:30am-11:30am; Limit 10 Registrants; $25
Michael Brothers (Marine Science Center Pelagic Adventures) and Amar Ayyash (www.anythinglarus.com) with Joel Reynolds & Rita Perini
Meet at the north side of the parking lot at the Titusville IHOP Restaurant, 3755 Cheney Highway, in order to car pool to the Landfill. There are restrooms in the Administration Building at the Landfill where the initial attendee orientation occurs.
Welcome to the Brevard County Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa, Fla. — a birder’s paradise.
You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to interact with two of the country’s most knowledgeable gull experts where thousands of gulls gather. Conditions will allow for close comparison of similar species with many different age classes and plumages. Commonly seen are Bonaparte’s, Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Possible rare ones include Glaucus Gull, Iceland (Kumlien’s) Gull, Thayer’s Gull and California Gull. Who knows what may turn up? A Black-headed Gull was found in 2018 – an exceedingly rare occurrence in Florida. Your hosts for this adventure are Rita Perini, Environmental Scientist at the Solid Waste Operations Facility, and Wildlife Photographer, Joel Reynolds.

The following notice needs to be placed into some kind of sidebar box within both the field trips and workshops section – wherever you can best fit it. Thank you.

The Brevard County Landfill is NOT open for the members of the public to just drive into.
Members of the general public who are not part of official Birding Festival Landfill visits should follow these procedures:
Check in at the scale-house at the main entrance and sign in as a bird watcher;
o Receive a dashboard placard, safety vest, and birding map/rules;
o Place the dashboard placard on your dashboard, wear the vest when outside of your
vehicle, and adhere to the rules;
o Check out at the scale-house when leaving and return all items.


 

Shorebirds Simplified: A Different Approach to Field ID Indoor Workshop
Jan. 25, 2:15pm-3:45pm; AUD; $15
Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography)
This indoor workshop helps to remove confusion that exists with field identification of shorebirds. Formerly a difficult task reserved for experts, shorebird ID becomes easier for all levels of birders if a relatively simple approach is taken. Starting with non-changeable features of general size, structure and behavior, a simple yet accurate first impression is formed. This is the foundation for then applying feather details and plumage patterns to reach a more complete ID picture. This program is suitable for birders of all skill levels, but we will keep the ID premise simple for casual birders. Comparative photo arrays of similar species will help with recognition of subtle differences in structure and plumage. Kevin is one of the authors of the bestselling book The Shorebird Guide, and has published a laminated foldout guide “Shorebirds of North America.” A short quiz at the end of the program will test your powers of retention, with photos that range from easy to challenging.


 

Shorebird ID Outdoor Workshop
Jan. 26, 8:00am-12:00pm; Limit 20 Registrants; $60
Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography) & Chris Brown (Wildside Nature Tours)
Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot by the picnic pavilions. There are restrooms nearby at the east end of Parrish Park. There are restrooms halfway through the Black Point Wildlife Drive on MINWR.
This interactive field trip/workshop shares a different approach to field ID that merges physical features with plumage details to reach a more complete ID picture. Leaders will encourage participants to note their general impressions of relative size, body shape, and structural features of each shorebird to form a personal mental picture that is unique to each person. Basic plumage patterns and behavior are then added to complete your ID. This approach is similar to the one in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide. Natural history information is also shared to enhance your appreciation of all birds seen on this trip. Come and experience a different way of looking at birds, and enjoy Kevin’s simple way of explaining the ID of a bird family that often causes confusion for birders.


 

Sparrow ID Indoor Workshop
Jan. 24, 3:30pm-5:00pm; 4-119; $15
Adam Kent (Florida Ornithological Society)
This workshop introduces the basics for identification of inland sparrows of the eastern U.S. Even though North American sparrows lack the bright colors of many warblers, sparrows’ distinctive shapes, interesting behaviors and subtly beautiful patterns can allow you to identify them with only a quick glance. Sure, sparrows with their often-secretive behaviors can present identification challenges. The trick is being prepared. Once you understand the basics of the combination of shapes, behaviors and patterns, you too can do away with the term “Little Brown Job.” You may even find yourself saying you are going “sparrowing” instead of birding this winter. This is a great opportunity to get your sparrow fix for the day.


 

What’s That Woodpecker?! Indoor Workshop
Jan. 23, 2:45pm-3:45pm; AUD; $15
Steve Shunk (Paradise Birding)
Generally speaking, woodpeckers do not pose too many identification problems. The classic ‘Downy vs. Hairy’ challenge comes to mind, and western birders are often puzzled by sapsucker ID challenges. Nonetheless, we could all use a simple review of woodpecker identification. The best way to learn the woodpeckers is to learn their relationships to each other. Join North American woodpecker specialist, Steve Shunk, for an introduction to the woodpecker family and the best possible primer on woodpecker ID.