Updated: November 26, 2023
By Torrey Silliman

WB-2022-0643  |  November 2023

A Beginner’s Guide to Birding & Citizen Science

The Beginner’s Guide to Birding & Citizen Science is a self-paced, online class with seven modules that provide participants with information and tools for those interested in birding. Each lesson provides an interactive presentation, a class discussion, and additional resources for those interested in more information. The lessons can be combined into a day-long introduction to birding or broken up to provide a multi-week program. Educators of all levels can easily adapt each lesson to fit their unique needs in addition to using it for their own knowledge.

The Beginner’s Guide to Birding & Citizen Science Modules

  • Why Birding is Important?
    Birds are an excellent indicator species. Discover what an indicator species is and how birding can be beneficial to both you and the world.

  • How to ID Birds
    Birds come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some look vastly different while others are harder to tell apart. Maryland alone is home to over 450 different species of birds. This module discusses parts of a bird and introduces 4 clues that can be used to narrow down what species you may have spotted.

  • Common Maryland Birds
    Birds are some of the most accessible wildlife to spot, no matter where you are! This module introduces 25 common Maryland backyard birds. Topics like taxonomy, family characteristics, and sexual dimorphism are also discussed. This module contains a practice quiz to help you learn these birds by sight.

  • Birding by Ear
    Learning to identify a bird by their call is a valuable skill as many species can be difficult to locate. Learners will discover the difference between a bird’s song and its call as well as what exactly to listen for. This module introduces 6 birds with distinct sounds for learners to listen to.

  • How to Attract Birds
    Now that we know some birds by name or sound, how do we get them to come to us? This module presents information on what types of bird feeders and seed you can use to attract birds to your yard.

  • Merlin App
    Bird identification is easier than ever with Merlin. Developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Merlin helps birders discover a bird’s identity by asking 5 simple questions. This module covers how to use the app and its various features.

  • eBird App
    eBird data has been used in over 100 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals. This app developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, documents the abundance and diversity of most of the world’s bird species. This module shows you how to join in with this global citizen science effort.

This curriculum is appropriate for youth 11-18 years old although adults may find the information useful as well.

To enroll for the course, please click on the following link:

Enroll (WB-2022-0643) Course