T101 | Birding Basics | Ben Nickley

Tuesdays -
8:00 -  9:30 a.m. | Six Sessions -
6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16

In-person at Simon's Rock, Great Barrington

There is spectacular biodiversity all around us--though often it is hidden in plain sight. Perhaps no taxonomic group has captivated the human imagination quite like birds. In ancient Greece, oracles looked to birds in the skies to foretell the future. Throughout recorded history, birds have played a symbolic role in art and literature. They fascinate us with their flight, dazzle us with their beauty and serenade us with song. In this course, you will learn how to find and identify many of the amazing birds that inhabit the forests, fields and ponds of the Berkshires. There are few other outdoor pursuits that that offer physical, intellectual and spiritual benefits that come quite naturally with learning to notice, identify and watch birds. Our aim is for each student to gain a greater connection and appreciation for the natural world though the gateway of bird watching.

Recommended Equipment:

  • Participants will need to have good quality 8x42 or 10x42 binoculars. I recommend Nikon Prostaff P3 8 x 42 Binoculars for a low-end option.
  • The Sibley Field Guide to Birds is also recommended.

Ben Nickley is a scientist with a passion for birds and the ecosystems of which they are an integral part. Always fascinated by nature, he got his start in science at Ohio State University where his research was recognized with an award at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. Since then, Ben has traveled across North America pursuing avian field studies for nonprofits, universities, and state governments— picking up his master’s in biology along the way. He is the author of several peer-reviewed articles and has presented his work at international conferences. Helping others connect with the natural world through birds is his forte and central to his mission. His role as Executive Director is to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Berkshire Bird Observatory and steer its development. Ben feels privileged to have landed in the Berkshires and could not think of a better place to do the work he loves.

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