Bird Camp is...
Summer Camp. But in the fall not the summer and for adults not kids. Sadly there will not be bunk beds, you'll have to book your own hotel but there will be s'mores, and lots of birding, and presentations on birds, bird identification, and bird behavior from a team of camp counselors whose goal is to help your have the most fun you can while looking at birds and learning more about their lives. It is our belief that bird are fun and exciting and learning about them should be as well.
When: Session 1- November 3rd-6th
Session 2- November 13th-16th
Where: Based in Harlingen, TX with birding in surrounding areas
Cost: $400, limit 12 per session
What's included: S'mores and other snacks, transportation to birding locations, guiding. Food and lodging are not included.
Contact: Info@birdingABC.com to sign up or for more information
Bird Camp Activities
Day 1: November 3 or 13th: Harlingen
6:00 PM-8:30 PM- Birding 101
This fun, introductory session to Birding Camp will be conducted over beverages and concluded over smores. Whether you are an absolute beginner or have a mild interest in birds, this course provides the opportunity to dive into the basics (and more!) of the art of birding: from tips and tricks to become a better birder, to birder slang (just what is stringing, anyway?), to the parts of a bird, so next time someone says “see the yellowish supercilium?” you’ll know what it means. We will also cover the tools of birding: optics, apps, and field guides.
While the tone for this is at a more basic level, we will use advanced tips and tricks to ensure that all levels are enjoying the content. If birding basics is too basic for you, we will divide into different groups in the field so you can set your own pace. We will practice what we’ve learned and set the stage for more in-depth coverage in the morning at our first birding outing at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen! Best of all, this introductory lesson includes s’mores and hotdogs- for what birding camp is complete without that?
Day 1: November 4 or 14th: Harlingen and South Padre Island
7:00-9:30 AM- Field Trip at Hugh Ramsey Nature Preserve, Harlingen
We will begin our field explorations with a lesser-known birding hotspot in Harlingen, where opportunities to study Rio Grande Valley specialties and migrants alike abound in a short hike
10:00 AM-11:00 AM- Classroom: Finding Birds
After setting the stage with our initial field outing at Hugh Ramsey, we will reconvene for a short course on how to find birds. Using appropriate habitat as our jumping off point, we will explore how to best use the available resources- apps, field guides, the literature, and connections learned through this weekend that you can apply to your birding in Texas and beyond.
11:00 AM-12:30 PM- Lunch on your own
12:30-2:00- Classroom: Bird Identification
Our post-lunch course will be on the basics (and beyond!) of bird identification, setting the stage for our next field trip to South Padre Island. We will learn how to sort through flocks, identify differences, and use the Birding ABC methods to apply to any bird identification situation.
2:00-6:00 PM- Birding on South Padre Island
After this short primer, we will go into more detail out in the field amongst one of the premier birding destinations in the Rio Grande Valley- South Padre Island- where opportunities to practice identification lessons abound. South Padre Island is an incredible place to put some of these skills into focus.
6:00 PM- Dinner together on SPI, or option to leave for Harlingen
Day 2: November 5 or 15th: Harlingen and Estero Llano Grande
6:30-11:00 AM- Field Trip at Estero Llano Grande, Weslaco
We will leave together from Harlingen and make our way slightly west to Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, another of the Rio Grande Valley's must-visit locations for good reasons: the habitat is peak South Texas, just right for studying many local avian legends!
11:00 AM-1:00 PM- Lunch
1:00 PM-2:00: Ornithology 101
After a morning spent birding at another one of the Rio Grande Valley’s famous birding spots, Estero Llano Grande, we delve into the science of birds with Ornithology 101, taught by Allison, your camp counselor and professional ornithologist. We will learn how looking at birds from a scientific lens has taught us all kinds of incredible things about the wide world of birds, and learn how you can-and why you should- contribute to scientific endeavors in your own backyards or abroad.
2:30 PM-4:30: Birding by Ear
As this is a course best taught in the field, we will venture to the outdoors to listen, record, and discuss the magic (and challenges!) of birding by ear.
6:00 PM-8:00: Evening Birding and Social
We will bird and hang out, not necessarily in that order, for an optional additional evening event discussing birds, travel, nature, and all of the joys of each!
Day 3: November 5 or 15th: Brownsville Area
We will cap off our Bird Camp by exploring some of the best birding habitat in the Brownsville area to continue practicing what we’ve learned. While this morning’s adventures are all in the field, we will offer optional tracks for lessons on bird photography and another track on how to document birds in the field using eBird, Merlin, and other tools before we say our farewells!
Meet the Team
Bird Camp Counselors
Allison is one of the most gifted science communicators and environmental educators you will ever meet. She connects effortlessly with newer birders and can explain how science is conducted and how that intersects with how birders learn about birds.
Cameron is the author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching and of the forthcoming Terns of North America. First and foremost though, he is an educator and an evangelist of the joy of being outside and figuring out stuff about birds.
Skye is an expert tour leader with international experience. His infectious personality makes him so fun to be around that you barely realize he is weaving his depth of knowledge into every interaction.