Nothing says you re in the Pacific Northwest quite like a Varied

Southern California Bird Identification

Identification / May 26, 2023

photo by James Gallagher

presented by Sylvia Gallagher

Sea and Sage's popular Birding Skills Workshops are conducted by Sylvia Gallagher who has been teaching birding for over thirty years. Each workshop meets once a week for three hours. The number of weeks varies with the material to be covered. Usually there are accompanying field trips, too. In order to accommodate all who want to sign up, multiple sections are offered.

Sylvia has prepared comprehensive sets of worksheets which accompany slides or sound clips. These worksheets call your attention to important identification features of the birds and also convey other useful information about each species — behavior, habitat, etc. Each week, we fill in the worksheets for a group of new birds and view a set of practice slides, or listen to a set of practice sounds covering the previous week's birds.

Sylvia Gallagher's Bird Sound Sets & Workshops

Sylvia Gallagher's bird sound sets with worksheets for Learning CA Bird Sounds and Learning MORE CA Bird Sounds are now in stock at our Audubon House Bookstore. They can also be ordered by mail. For information on the birds covered on the Flash Drives and how to order them by mail, click here. Her set for Learning Western Mountain Bird Sounds has been updated and transferred from a 7-CD set to a single flash drive with worksheets; it is also now in stock at Audubon House.

Bird Embroidery Class - 2017

Sylvia Gallagher will teach a BIRD EMBROIDERY CLASS for at least 8 Saturday mornings during the summer of 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Participants will learn how to select a bird picture, transfer it to cloth, select thread colors, and do the stitches to bring the bird to life. See the class announcement (above) for the stitches involved and the other details. (Note: This is the announcement for the cancelled 2016 Embroidery Class. It does not show the 2017 dates. It does, however, provide information on the stitches to be used in the class.)

Birds of Southern California - 2017
the Introductory Visual Workshop

Introductory Visual birding skills workshop is offered every fall.

This ten-week workshop presumes no previous knowledge of birds, but people who have been birding casually for a while should also consider taking it. Four half-day field trips accompany it. All succeeding workshops build on this one.

The class covers the following groups: Birds of the neighborhoods, Birds of playing fields and parking lots, Birds of mudflats and shallow water, Birds of the ocean shore, Birds of the open country, Birds of prey, Birds of the streamside woodland, and Birds of lakes, ponds, and marshes.

The 2017 class will begin the 1st week in October and end the middle week of December. The usual sections are Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, and Thursday evening.

photo by James Gallagher

More Birds of Coastal Southern CA - 2017
Visual Workshop - a continuation of the 2016 fall workshop

This workshop will be offered in the spring of 2017, as a continuation of the fall series, Birds of Southern California. It is entited MORE BIRDS OF COASTAL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. In this workshop, additional birds in nearly all of the families covered in the fall workshop will be studied, plus a few new ones. Additional plumages of a few species from the fall worksop, such as female orioles, juvenile and alternate sandpipers will also be presented.

The prerequisite to this worksop is the fall visual BIRDS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA workshop, but if you have visual familiarity with the birds in it, you may enroll in this one.

photo by James Gallagher

Raven Lite 2.0 now available from Cornell

The Raven team has just released Raven Lite 2.0! This new free version of Raven represennts a major update, and it includes a number of improvements. (See the list of improvements) Many thanks to Lisa Yang, Sylvia Gallagher, and the other generous donors who made this possible! You can order your free license for Raven Lite 2.0 at:

Great Sounds Search

Learning CA Bird Sounds - 2018
the Introductory Aural Workshop

The workshop is offered in alternate years.The next scheduled workshop will begin in January 2018.

Prerequisite: Birds of Southern California - the Introductory Visual Workshop or visual familiarity with the common birds on the coastal side of the southern California mountains.

Introduction to the sounds of birds: You will learn to identify the sounds of 60 species of common birds that are frequently heard before they are seen. In the process, you will learn how to describe bird sounds and how to use sonograms (graphs of time vs. frequency) to visualize the sounds. There will also be lectures on the nature of sound and how birds produce it, how birds adapt their sounds to their environment, uses of songs and calls, learned vs. innate sounds, and many other subjects. Many field trips will be offered and you can make your own selection of which ones to attend.

photo by James Gallagher

Learning MORE CA Bird Sounds - 2018
an Advanced Aural Workshop

LEARNING MORE CA BIRD SOUNDS workshop will be held in 2018. The workshop will cover around 80 species and there will be 3 sections of it: Wed. PM, Thurs. AM, Thurs. PM.

Prerequisite: This workshop will focus on lowland, non-desert birds that were not covered in the introductory series, Learning CA Bird Sounds. Although there will be considereable review, it will presume that you have fairly well learned the sounds of that workshop.

The species to be covered are all land birds that are found on the coastal side of the southern Califonria mountains. Some are rare, even Endangered. Others are either uncommon or secretive—or perhaps only heard briefly during migration. Desert and mountain birds ar e covered in other workshops in this series.

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