Bird School

What? A fun introduction to the world of birds
Where? Beaver Creek Reserve; Fall Creek, WI
When? April 28-30 2017
Who? Anyone interested in birds especially novice birders, students, backyard birdwatchers, hunters, farmers, landowners, early career natural resource professionals.


This fun and engaging courseNorthern Parula has been designed specifically for beginners who want to learn more about birds and take the next step in birding. This 2-½ day course will combine classroom lectures, field trips, group lessons and hands-on activities to give you a full learning experience. Knowledgeable birders will help you learn the basics of bird behavior, migration, identification, and reproduction. We’ll explain how to identify birds using size, shape, plumage, and other field marks. We’ll teach you how to find birds in different habitats. We’ll teach you to listen to birds and how to identify their songs. We’ll discuss how you can help birds and protect the places they depend on.

Sign up for the Bird School mailing list to be notified when registration is open.

Itinerary (subject to change)

Friday (5-8pm)
5:00pm: Classroom: “Bird Identification for Beginners” Bill Hogseth
6:00pm: Dinner + group discussions (Meal provided)
7:00pm: Classroom: “Birding by Ear” Steve Betchkal

Saturday (6:30am-3pm)
6:30am: Field trip: Birding in the Augusta Wildlife Area Robin Maercklein
9:30am: Classroom: “A year in the life of a migratory bird” Bill Hogseth
10:00am: Group discussions
11:00am: Classroom: “Journey of a thousand lifers: Around the world in pursuit of birds” Bill Volkert
12:00pm: Lunch (bring your own)
12:30pm: Bird Jeopardy
1:00pm: Breakout sessions on bird anatomy, habitat, behavior, conservation, etc.
2:00pm: Field trip at Beaver Creek Reserve

Sunday, April 30th (8am-12pm)
6:30am: Optional Field Trip: Beaver Creek Reserve
8:00: Presentation: “Introduction to Bird Banding” Jeanette Kelly and Emily Lind
9:00: Activity: “Bird Banding Demonstration”
11:00: Final discussion: “Why do birds matter?”

Locations: Classroom activities will be at the Wise Nature Center at Beaver Creek Reserve (S1 County Hwy K, Fall Creek, WI 54742). Outdoor field trips will be held at the Augusta Wildlife Area and on the Beaver Creek Reserve grounds.

What to Bring: Participants should provide their own binoculars and field guides (limited number are available to borrow if needed). Provide your own lunch on Saturday.

Pre-class Homework: To enhance the in-class learning experience, students will be asked to complete a simple homework project prior to the first day of class. Details will be provided upon registration.

Registration: Registration is not yet open. Sign up for the Bird School mailing list to be notified when registration is open.

Cost: $54 (Cost includes dinner on Friday night, room rental, printed materials, etc).

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships will be available. Contact Bill Hogseth for details.

Contact: Questions about “Bird School” can be sent to Bill Hogseth at billhogseth(at)gmail.com


Testimony from previous students:
“I’m feeling as if a whole new world has opened up for me! Thank you everyone who had anything to do with offering and teaching this class.”

“My wife and I enjoyed everything about the class. The instructors, materials, facilities and food were all outstanding!! Everything was so well organized… The instructors kept the class moving smoothly… This was hands down one of the best classes I have ever attended.”

“The instructors were outstanding: very knowledgeable, passionate about the subject, had a diverse wealth of knowledge, outgoing, enthusiastic and highly organized. I loved the variety of presenters and topics covered…. The field trip was outstanding.”

“I loved the field trip and seeing a ton of new birds. I also really enjoyed the ‘Birding by Ear’ presentation. I’m now working on learning to identify more birds by sound.”


Meet the Teachers:
Emily Lind
Emily is the citizen science technician at Beaver Creek Reserve where she works on multiple bird monitoring projects. She has a degree in wildlife ecology from UW-Madison. She has worked with the Wisconsin DNR monitoring Kirtland’s warbler and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife monitoring greater sage grouse in northern California. She lives in Eau Claire.

Paula Kleintjes Neff, Ph.D.
Paula is biology professor at UW-Eau Claire. She is a field biologist with a strong interest in wildlife ecology and habitat conservation. She has also been a longtime collaborator with government agencies and non-profit organizations to conserve wildlife habitat on public and private lands. She earned her doctorate degree from UC-Berkeley. She lives in Eau Claire.

Robin Maercklein
A lifelong birder and biologist, Robin has been studying birds in Wisconsin since 1968. He has conducted bird surveys for University of Minnesota, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisconsin DNR and others, including over 20 years with the National Park Service. He currently serves as Polk County Coordinator for Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and is an eBird reviewer for five northwest Wisconsin counties.

Bill Volkert (Keynote Presenter)
Bill worked as the naturalist and wildlife educator for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Horicon Marsh for 27 years. Bill has been watching and studying birds for over 40 years. He is a regular guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Larry Meiller Show”.  In 2014 and 2015, Bill and his wife Connie traveled to twelve countries during a seven and a half month trip.  They sighted more than 1,300 species of birds and took more than 35,000 pictures. Bill and Connie make their home in the northern Kettle Moraine area of east-central Wisconsin.

Steve Betchkal
Steve is the current President of Gaylord Nelson Audubon Society. An amateur ornithologist and master birder, Steve is the originator of the Martin Mart initiative, a program that monitors purple martin colonies in northwest Wisconsin. He is a veteran of four USGS Breeding Bird Surveys. He lives in Eau Claire.

Jeanette Kelly
Jeanette is the Director of Citizen Science at Beaver Creek Reserve. She has a degree in wildlife ecology from UW-Madison and a master’s  in environmental education from Lesley University.  Jeanette has 20 years of experience surveying for, monitoring and banding birds across the country on topics including lead poisoning in swans, raptor migration routes, grassland birds and their relationships to prairie dogs, Spotted Owl nest success, and monitoring the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. She oversees the bird banding program at Beaver Creek Reserve.

Bill Hogseth
Bill is a wildlife biologist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He has a degree in restoration ecology from Northland College in Ashland, WI where he studied forest ecology and management. He performs bird surveys for the DNR, USGS, and the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas. He is the outreach chair for the Gaylord Nelson Audubon Society and the chair of the Citizen Science Advisory Board at Beaver Creek Reserve.  He lives with his wife and two boys in Elk Mound, WI.

 Thanks to our sponsors!

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