FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS A bird identification course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers

                                    FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS


FLIGHT FOR BIRDERS downloadable document.

Mosaic Private Sanctuary - Hermanus Lagoon, Stanford

Mosaic Private Sanctuary – Hermanus Lagoon, Stanford

A bird identification course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers:    HERMANUS  (21 and 22 February 2014)

The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Anton Odendal will be presented at the Community Hall, Mollergren Park, Hermanus on 21 and 22 February 2014.

In 2014 we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the course and we will be celebrating our country’s birds with photographs of some of the top wildlife photographers in South Africa: the course is being adapted with this particular aim in mind. Parts of the proceeds will be donated to Black Harrier conservation.

The costs include the course manual and a certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa – roughly 1,600 slides and drawings will be used.  In many cases images of similar and potentially confusing species have been combined on the same slide in order to illustrate differences. The development of an infrastructure for birding tourists in local areas will also be highlighted.  In the vast majority of the slides English and Afrikaans names of species are printed onto the slide.   The course focuses on basic steps in the identification of birds, places heavy emphasis on where to find the rare and often endemic birds in southern Africa and illustrates how ordinary bird-watchers could become involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats.  New additions to the course are sections focusing on the differences between the various families of LBJ’s and Bird of Prey and how this applies to the region where the course is being presented.

A review of a previous course can be seen at the following link:  http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/conservation/458/%93flight_for_birders%22_review



  • One of the bird guide books (Newman’s, SASOL or Robert’s), preferably one that you are prepared to make notes in to illustrate key identification features of species
  • Notebook and pen
  • Binoculars
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Lunch picnic basket
  • Coffee and tea will be provided.  

DAY 1: Friday 21 February 2014

(Kindly note that short breaks will be taken on the hour).

08h30 to 09h00:  Registration

09h00 to 10h00:  The basic approach to Flight for Birders and what to look for when trying to identify a bird

10h00 to 10h15:  Tea

10h15 to 11h15:  The identification of garden birds

11h15 to 12h30:   A special section on some of the brood parasites  of southern Africa and their host species:  Cuckoos, whydahs, honeyguides and indigobirds.

12h30 to 13h00: Lunch

13h00 to 14h00:  The identification of the fairly common water birds of southern Africa

14h00 to 14h30:  The identification of the seabirds and coastal birds of southern Africa

14h30 to 15h30:   How to prepare when visiting a new birding area:  Birding in the Kruger National Park as a brief case-study.

15h30 to 16h00:  An overview of some threatened birds in Southern Africa:  what are conservation agencies  trying to do about the problem through conservation programs and how can ordinary birders help?  (We will focus on three of the topics below)

  1. The work of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust
  2. BLSA’s Albatross Task Force
  3. The impact of pelicans on breeding cormorants on Jutten Island.
  4. Our bustards & korhaans under pressure
  5. Good news for Amur Falcons in India
  6. Black Harriers under threat


DAY 2:  Saturday 22 February 2014

08h00 to 09h00:  Practical outing in small groups applying the principles taught.

09h00 to 10h15:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey

10h15 to 10h30:  Tea

10h30 to 11h00:  The identification of raptors and birds of prey (Continued)

11h00 to 11h45:  A special focus on the Owls of southern Africa

11h45 to 12h30:   An introduction to the identification of some difficult groups:  Little Brown Jobs

12h30 to 13h00:  Lunch

13h00 to 13h30:  An introduction to the identification of some difficult groups:  Little Brown Jobs (Continued)

13h30 to 14h00:  An introduction to the identification of some difficult groups:  Swallows, swifts and martins.

14h00 to 15h00:  Concluding integration:  a focus on birds and birding tourism – the critical role that the Western Cape Province in general and the Overstrand region in particular could play in this regard

15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify – how to distinguish between the various families of birds.  (An open-ended participatory discussion on photographs of the most common birds representing different families of birds).

15h30+:  Presentation of certificates.


DATES:  21 and 22 February 2014

VENUE:  The Community Hall, Mollergren Park, Main Road , Hermanus

COSTS:  R 500-00, that include the course manual and  certificate. 


Contact Elaine at mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402.  All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.

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