Courses for the Public

Investigating Behavior: Courtship & Rivalry in Birds

Check back for dates when this course will be offered again.

Why does a Red-winged Blackbird flare its colorful wing patches? What does it mean when ducks bob their heads? Is the way a bird arranges its feathers significant?

Answering these questions gets to the heart of bird behavior. During this five-week course, you’ll learn how to observe and interpret some of the ways birds are communicating with their behavior.

Watch this preview video:

“Courtship and Rivalry in Birds” explores a basic principle of bird behavior each week, featuring common and exotic species. The goal is to help students develop new skills in observing birds and be able to apply what they’ve learned in their own backyards or anywhere.

Students participate in online discussions with the instructor and classmates. Interactive activities include trying to think like a bird—making behavioral decisions that have a direct impact on survival.

The course is packed with multimedia and interactive activities making it unlike anything else available. Course multimedia content comes from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library, the largest archive of animal sounds in the world, with a growing video collection.

The cost of the course is $295 ($255 for Cornell Lab members). To receive the Cornell Lab member discount, sign up by phone at (866) 326-7635.



This course was developed in partnership with eCornell, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornell University. eCornell provides many of the world’s leading organizations with online professional and executive development. Their proven course development model and asynchronous instructor-led course delivery provide for engaging, rigorous and interactive learning. The company has delivered over 120,000 courses to more than 35,000 students in almost 200 countries. For more information visit: