Birdwatching for Beginners

$280 Limited inc GST / $252
Birdwatching for Beginners

This course differs from others with its emphasis on practical application immediately in the field. This means that the participants will be practising techniques of identification in small groups.

This course differs from others with its emphasis on practical application immediately in the field. This means that the participants will be practising techniques of identification in small groups. From binoculars, telescopes and field guides, to habitats, migration and conservation, these two days in the field will subtly embed the information and new skills. You will emerge delighted new birdwatchers!

Meeting Location: Outside Paddy Pallins, corner of Kent and Bathurst Streets (Just up from WEA House). Please arrive 15 minutes early to enable us to leave on time. If for any reason you are running late please phone us on the mobile: 0403 875 416.

  • Day 1 start time is 8:30am
  • Day 2 start time is 7:30am

Students need to bring their own lunch, tea and coffee is provided at morning tea and with lunch, binoculars, bird book if you have one, hat, sunscreen, drink bottle, raincoat, pen, and wear comfortable walking shoes.


  • Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Simpson and Day
  • The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Peter Slater, Pat Slater and Raoul Slater

Please Note: This an approximate schedule; bearing in mind the ultimate beauty of birdwatching in the field is the extraordinary things you can see unexpectedly. If these delights should be bestowed upon us, the day’s itinerary will change to meet these needs.

Day 1 – Bicentennial and Mason Park

  • Welcome & Overview: Attractions of birdwatching, Distribution of materials, Outline of course
  • Getting Started with Equipment: Guide to using binoculars, telescope, clothing
  • How to Identify a Bird (Part I) - Walk 1 (Mason Park Water Birds): What to look for – habitat, location in habitat, bill shape, colour of bird, size, any distinctive features, bird call, behaviour – give examples in the field, Discuss major groups of birds eg. Water birds, migratory waders, raptors, song/bush birds, introduced birds with 'Practise identification techniques'
  • How to Identify a Bird (Part II) - Field Guides: How to use a field guide – keys, classification, distribution maps, rarity, male & female differences, juvenile & adult forms, breeding plumages etc, Pros & cons of different field guides, Taking notes
  • Using a Bird Hide – Walk 2 (Prastise identification techniques): Putting into practise all that has been taught in the morning, Question time, Conservation issues, Migration and the seasons
  • Review of today’s activities and next week’s program: Bird Checklist, How to use a checklist, Birds that you’d expect to find in the Sydney region

Day 2 – Cumberland State Forest

  • Revision of Day 1
  • Bird Identification in the Field – Walk 1 (Bush Birds): Practise identification techniques, Migration, Birdscaping
  • Bird Identification in the Field – Walk 2 (Bush Birds): Conservation Issues, Illusions and other pitfalls, Practise identification techniques
  • Bird Identification in the Field – Walk 3 (Bush Birds): Ethics of Birdwatching, Practise identification techniques
  • Review and Sydney Birdwatching Information: Clubs & tours, Websites, apps and how to use them, Creating a journal, Good places around Sydney to birdwatch, How to buy binoculars


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Use binoculars, a telescope, a field guide
  2. Identify some common water and bush birds
  3. Recognise the major characteristics of some of the different species
  4. Understand the relationship between different birds and their habitats.

Edwin has been interested in birds since a teenager. His keen interest all started more than 16 years ago when he one day walked into the book shop, opened up Simpson and Day’s “Field Guide to the Birds of Australia” and was instantly ecstatic on the huge variety of birds that our wonderful Australia has to offer. His infectious, enthusiastic tutoring skills ensure others find the birds and have a better understanding of Australian birds and wildlife.