Field Ornithology

Summer 2022 Full Session
Day, Evening and Weekend
Freshman - Graduate
Class Size: 15
8 Credits per quarter
Log in to add this offering to your saved list.

Birds undertake a suite of distinct activities over the course of their annual life cycle, including breeding, molt, and migration.  Understanding the varying strategies deployed by different bird species to complete these activities offers important conservation-related insights.  Differences in strategies reveal the constraints they face in an environment changing with advancing climate disruption.  The variety of habitats in the Washington Cascade Mountains offers an opportunity to explore such strategies in depth through intensive field ornithology.  This class provides an opportunity to develop ornithological field skills while collecting data on variation in evolutionary strategies for breeding, molting and migration through the application of observational and hands-on ornithological techniques, including an intensive bird-netting and banding operation at a variety of elevations from riparian scrub to montane meadows.

Advance readings and class meetings will provide the background needed to make the most of our three weeks of field time.  Independent projects offer advanced students opportunities to complete upper-division credits.  One week of follow-up in-class work will culminate in short presentations summarizing the data collected.  Field work will be supplemented with readings and discussions from the field biology literature with consideration for the future of field work in a subject increasingly dominated by technological approaches.

Note regarding field trip: The 3-week field portion of the class will involve camping in remote areas of the Cascades.  Cool nights, hot days, field cooking, camp chores and the usual array of field conditions, such as occasional thunderstorms, bugs and snakes, mosquitoes, etc., will be part of the experience. Facilities are generally pit or vault toilets and taps with drinking water, though some field excursions may require bringing water along. Living outside helps to expand our understanding of the conditions the birds are dealing with, but it  may not be for everyone!

Graduate Credit Option:

To be awarded graduate credit, the student must be enrolled in a graduate program and must complete an independent research project.  Near the beginning of the program, students will be introduced to a series of potential field project topics from which to choose.  Projects will involve formation of testable hypotheses, study design, field data collection, analysis, interpretation and completion of a final report and presentation.


Find additional details about the program here:



There are no prerequisites required to enroll. If a student wants to attempt upper division science credit, they must have completed the prerequisite worked described in the "Upper Division Science Credit" section of this description.

Summer 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr - Sr Full Session (8): 40049
GR Full Session (8): 40050

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

Ornithology, Ecology, Wildlife Conservation

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$1015 required fees are for travel and living expenses (van costs, camping fees, food expenses) associated with a 21-day camping trip to the Washington Cascades, a printed reader, and a required media fee.

Upper Division Science Credit

To be awarded upper-division science credit, the student must:

1. Have completed the following pre-requisite coursework: General Biology with Lab (12 credits), College-level Math such as Precalculus, Calculus I, Statistics 1 (4 credits).

2. Complete an independent project. Near the beginning of the program students will be introduced to a series of potential field project topics from which to choose.  There will also be an overview of commonly-used statistical analyses. Interested students will choose a project topic, formulate a testable hypothesis, design a study to test the hypothesis, implement the study design and collect data in the field, conduct statistical analysis, and interpret and communicate study results via a scientific report and presentation.


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Day, Evening, and Weekend
Advertised Schedule

There will be one mandatory program meeting via zoom during week 1 of summer quarter. Program activities will occur during weeks 5-9 with a week of instruction on-campus during week 5, a camping field trip to the Washington Cascades weeks 6-8, and a final week of on-campus work week 9.

Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting



Date Revision
2022-05-04 Student fee increased to $1015 (was $950)