Birding By Ear

Cost: $20*

2022 Virtual class — Thursday, April 28, 6 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 30, 8 – 10 a.m.

2022 In-person field trips — Thursday, May 5, 6 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 7, 8 – 10 a.m.

Registration is now open on project partner Madison Audubon’s website!

Hosted by Madison Audubon and the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Learning to Identify Birds without Relying on Sight

Just as unique as their coloration and shape, 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 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!

Fully Accessible Class

In 2022, the class sessions will be held entirely online and specially designed to serve those who experience vision impairment or loss, as well as individuals with full sight. Materials will be available digitally. If you are unable to access them, we can send large font or Braille versions. Please let us know at least three weeks prior to the event to allow time to prepare and mail the materials. The field trip is in person at Lakeshore Nature Preserve, where participants will make their way to Picnic Point and other wonderful spots within the preserve.

Dates, times and locations:

We are offering a weeknight date and a weekend date for both class sessions to accommodate varying schedules. When you register, you will select 1 of the 2 date options for each session.

Virtual class session:   April 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m. or April 30, 8:00-10:00 a.m.

Field Trip session: May 5, 6:00-8:00 p.m. or May 7, 8:00-10:00 a.m.

Registration fee: $20.00 per person whether attending 1 or 2 sessions; scholarships to cover registration fee are available – request when registering
Enrollment cap: 25 individuals per class

Registration is full for 2022.

If you have any questions, please call Kathleen Callen at (608) 237-8120 or email her at

A song sparrow with white and reddish-brown feathers sings while sitting on a branch with thorns.
Photo by Mick Thompson.