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The Lab's Spring Field Ornithology (SFO) course has been a mainstay in the greater Ithaca community for over 40 YEARS!. Since its inception in 1976, the course has been led by the National Audubon Society's popular and dynamic Vice-President for Bird Conservation  Dr. Steve Kress, who is also widely known for his award-winning bird conservation efforts pertaining to Atlantic Puffins off the coast of Maine. Steve is also the author of many popular birding books.

Over 3000 people have taken the course; many of them enjoy the course so much they come back more than once.  A recent survey found 40% of students were repeat participants!  About half of students are from Ithaca while others come from surrounding cities and towns.  About two-thirds of participants are women and one-third of participants are retired. 


The lecture section is held in the Lab's historic Fuertes Room. The Fuertes Room is a special attraction at the Lab, as it features the paintings of Ithaca artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes—one of the world's greatest bird artists.

Montezuma Trip 2008

SFO students at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge in 2008.