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Spring Field Ornithology 2010

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This spring, join your friends and neighbors for the 33rd year of Spring Field Ornithology, a unique birding course offered by the  Cornell Lab of Ornithology for birders of all abilities. This year's course takes place March 24 through May 16.

Prairie warbler


Do you know this bird? See the end of this email for more information!

Dear friend,

Despite the blizzard this week, cardinals, titmice and chickadees are already in full spring song!  And soon the first flocks of  blackbirds will arrive - hopefully after the snow melts.  This is the annual prelude for Spring Field Ornithology! 

My vision for SFO began over 30 years ago when I saw the need to offer a fun, introductory birding experience that helps people learn about Ithaca-area  birds.  With our varied habitats of lake, forest, field, shrubland, and marshes, it’s easy to  see more than 200 species of birds within the Cayuga Lake watershed.  Yet our goal is not just to tally a long list of  species, but to experience the wonder of bird migration, bird song, courtship and nesting behavior. 

 Participants can take both the lecture and the field trip sections, or sign up for either one alone. Field trips take place on either Saturdays or Sundays for groups of about 12 participants.  Many of SFO’s most venerable leaders are already lined up for 2010.  

In addition to local birding “hotspots”, we will have two optional overnight trips.  These include the famed Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, located at the north end of Cayuga Lake, and our classic birding extravaganza to Cape  May, New Jersey. There will also be hawk watching and bird-banding trips to Lake Ontario. For those that can’t spend the entire day birding, we always offer shorter local trips. 

Wednesday evening lectures cover topics such as bird song, nesting, migration, and  conservation with an overview (using slides and sounds) of the birds likely to be seen near Ithaca that week.  These lectures are preceded by an optional hour of bird videos.  This year there will also be two visits to the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates to see its remarkable collection of  mounted birds.  If your spring is too full to attend all of the classes, don’t worry as there are no exams and each class is a separate learning experience. 

As a Cornell Lab member, you receive a special discount when you register. I hope you will join me for SFO and consider inviting someone to join you to share the fun. 

To see the full course program click here .  You can learn more and enroll in the class at the website  or by calling (607) 254-2466.  Contact the course coordinator at

I look forward to birding with you this spring.

Yours sincerely,

 Stephen W. Kress

Spring Field Ornithology Instructor


Watch the video below for a sneak peek into the course:



The yellow bird at the top is a Prairie warbler, and is found in various shrubby habitats, including regenerating forests, open fields, and Christmas-tree farms in the eastern U.S.  You can learn more about Prairie warblers and other birds at All About Birds.

Even if you did recognize this yellow bird, I hope you will join in the fun this spring for another session of SFO!

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s web site at

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
Call us toll-free at (800) 843-BIRD (2473)


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