Bird Language Principles Course

Course Overview

Bird language is an ancient skill that people have used to help them survive for thousands of years.  In this course, you will learn how birds are the news media of the ecosystem, describing where food, water, shelter and most importantly, where danger is located.  You will discover how to decipher their behaviors and calls, and to distinguish between baseline and alarm behaviors. After completing the course, your future experiences going out into nature will be forever altered because you will see and hear things all around you that you never knew where happening before!

Event Details


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Course Name:                  

Bird Language Principles


Course Dates:                   

January - December



1-5 Days


Experience & Activity Level:            

Previous birding experience

is helpful but not required.  


Determined by group size,

number of days, location



Course Instructors:

TBD (all have completed 

Bird Language Leaders Training)


In this class you will learn 'The 5 Voices' of birds and how to distinguish between bird songs, companion calls, territorial calls, juvenile begging behavior, and most importantly, types of alarms.  You will gain an insight into the current state of play of the environment immediately around you, as well as movements of predators and other events that are unfolding on the landscape.


Birds are keenly aware of their surroundings and often very vocal about what they observe (especially songbirds), and put an audible soundtrack and visible body language to the happenings in the surrounding landscape, noting subtle shifts in the movements and activities of other species nearby.   Because the course is taught in a group setting of up to 15 enrolles per instructor, participants' learning curve is greatly magnified since they benefit from the observations of others (something that is significantly hindered in a self study environment).

In addition to learning about bird ecology, communication, and general behavior, you will also glean the following benefits:


•    deepened listening capabilities

•    improved pattern recognition of sounds and behaviors

•    refined understanding of local ecology

•    more attentiveness and intuition to one’s surroundings

•    better able to be on the landscape with a quiet mind

•    ability to see more animals and minimize disturbance of them

•    deepened knowledge of and connection to a place

Why is bird language important when vision appears to be the dominant sense that our culture celebrates?  Well for starters, there are a number of creatures that do not even possess eyesight, or if they do they see very poorly.  Additionally, many species evolved eyelids that are closed during times of rest, meaning that we can do without sight, at least for periods of time.  But not once in the fossil record is there a species that evolved ear lids because it would be far too dangerous to survive.

In an era marked by increasing disconnection from nature, self, and others, the practice of bird language gives us the tools we need to be more connected to our surrounding and each other.  Tuning into the birds, who are present both in the deep woods and the city center, helps us to re-discover the web of relationship between all life that many have forgotten in these modern times (see how past students have described the course...scroll to bottom of page).