Summer Ornithology: Birds in the Hand

Summer 2017 quarter (Second Session)

Taught by

Summer Ornithology is a three-week bird course taught entirely in the field.  We leave campus shortly after our first meeting, travel through some of the finest birding country in Oregon, camp the first night in a remote site about halfway to our target location.  The next morning novices are introduced to the business of birding, including use of binoculars and the basics of bird identification.  The next afternoon we are in our campsite on Steens Mountain, a 28 mile long fault block that rises to nearly 10,000 feet some 150 miles east and south of Bend.  Based there, we study birds the majority of daylight hours for the remainder of the course.   Our studies are built around banding birds after we have captured them in mist nets and taken them to a central location for processing.  All birds are routinely released within a few minutes of capture.  Typically we band between 400 and 500 birds of about 25  species, focusing on aspects of banding protocol including net placement, removing birds from nets, identification, sexing, ageing, and record-keeping.  We balance the in-hand work with field observations, and take local field trips to provide instruction in the myriad aspects of natural history and local culture in the High Desert of southeastern Oregon.  We focus in particular on the wildlife of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  This course has been taught for over 30 years; more than 24,000 birds have been banded in that time.  The only prerequisites are enthusiasm for studies in natural history and a fascination with wildness in the American West.  Entry level students are welcome.  Upper Division credit is awarded for Upper Division work.  Two links to photo essays describing aspects of the program are here:  Inside Evergreen and a slide show through flickr .


Summer Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Day, Evening, and Weekend

Advertised Schedule

Three weeks of travel at the beginning of second session (Jul. 31 - Aug. 18)

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


$1000 for transportation, supplies, and food.  All field equipment (except personal gear) supplied by instructor; meals are prepared by a professional cook.