By Guest Blogger Jeff Caplan
observing nature. I still remember father’s sea sick whisper of advice, after one of his particularly rough sea voyages, “Don’t study animals, Jeff, study PLANTS, because they don’t move around!” So in college I minored in botany. Birds especially intimidated me: too fast, always backlit, and with multiple songs and molting plumages.
In my middle-aged years, I began studying with Jon Young, author of the bird language bible, What the Robin Knows. I learned that songbirds are the inter-connected eyes and ears of our ecosystems. But can we learn what they are saying? I'm teaching a workshop for SFBBO on February 9, Decipher and Learn: Bird Language in the Field, that explores this question, as well as the following concepts:
Understanding common bird language does not require you to identify the species of every bird in the field in order to understand their vocalizations and behavior, so it is accessible to both beginners and seasoned birders of all ages. The workshop will include a short lecture at SFBBO's conference center in Milpitas followed by a morning of listening in the field at Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara to try to unravel the story of bird conversation and behavior.
In the workshop you will learn:
I find joining this kind of “community bird sit” creates a connection between me and individual birds, and allows me to share my enthusiasm with other birders through our shared observations, questions and theories. I hope you’ll join us! Registration is required, to register click here.
Jeff Caplan weaves 30 years as a naturalist and a teacher of communication skills to cultivate a common language for connecting more deeply with nature and birds. Working privately and through the University of California, he has given workshops to hundreds of people in the Bay Area, Malaysia, and Ecuador. He combines story telling, citizen science, and strengthening observation skills to inspire connection and stewardship among his audiences.
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.