Courses for the Public

Distance Learning

Common Terns fighting

Whether it’s an intensive 5-week online course, a self-paced, comprehensive college-level study of bird biology, or a live one-hour webinar about how to identify waterfowl, the Cornell Lab offers are many ways to take your learning to the next level.


Learn Your Ducks with the Lab’s New Online Course Learn to identify ducks, geese, swans, loons, grebes, and more with Cornell Lab ornithologist Dr. Kevin McGowan. Based on the popular webinar series, each lesson in this self-paced online course features a video tutorial followed by exercises and quizzes designed to help build your ID skills. Learn strategies for identifying birds at a glanc... Read More


Each of our one-hour webinars consists of a live interactive presentation using photographs, videos, sounds, and audience feedback, and is followed by a question and answer period. Each session highlights a specific group of birds. These webinars have been written, developed, and presented by Dr. Kevin McGowan, and are designed to help beginning birders with their identification skills or to enhan... Read More


Now available: our completely updated course called Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology. This replaces the Home Study Course in Bird Biology which has been offered for the past 40 years. The course uses the new 3rd edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology, with thoroughly revised text, the latest scientific information, and published in full color. To get a preview of the new course, samp... Read More