Join us in May for Birding by Ear

A bird sits on a tree branch.
Photo of a Wood Thrush by Kelly Colgan Azar, compliments of Madison Audubon.

Learn to identify the chirp of a chickadee from the song of the sparrow this spring at our fourth annual Birding by Ear class series. Co-organized with Madison Audubon this course will give you the tools to identify birds by the sounds they make.

Just as unique as their colors and shapes, bird songs come in all tunes and pitches. Identifying birds by their song is an exciting activity and skill, and any experienced bird watcher will tell you that most birding is done without actually seeing the bird, but by hearing it.

This class teaches the techniques for identifying birds by close listening. We welcome participants who are new to the hobby of birding by ear, as well as birders of any level interested in continuing to learn and practice their birding by ear skills. Individuals who have taken this class in previous years will hear some of the same content, but are welcome to participate and continue developing their listening skills.

The class is offered in two parts and is fully accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired. Select one classroom session on Thursday, April 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or  Saturday, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and one field trip session on Thursday, May 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The first session will focus on techniques and context, as well as introduce some of the most common bird songs heard in early May in southern Wisconsin. The second session will focus on strengthening your listen-memory skills and strategies for picking a song out of a chorus. While the class content is geared for Wisconsinites, the skills and techniques learned in this class can be transferred anywhere!

Cost for the class is $20 per person with scholarships available. Each class is capped at 25 participants. Registration opens March 15 on our website at Questions can be directed to Jean at (608) 237-8106 or

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