Birding By Ear

Cost: $20 per person; scholarships to cover registration fee are available – request when registering.

Class, hybrid virtual or in person — Thursday, April 27 at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 29 at 10:00 a.m. – noon

In-person field trips — Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. and Thursday, May 11 at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Registration now open! Register on Madison Audubon’s event page.

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

Learning to Identify Birds without Relying on Sight

Just as unique as their coloration and shape, bird sounds 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 2023, the first week’s class sessions will be hybrid — both online and in person, with use of high-end hybrid meeting technology to ensure a positive technological experience for all. Materials will be available digitally. If unable to access them, we can mail large font or Braille options. 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 Warner Park on Madison’s North Side.

The field trips will take place at Warner Park in northern Madison. The paths at this location are wide, relatively flat, and asphalt or packed gravel. The park is located along the Metro Transit bus line 21.

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.