FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Identifying Birds by Sight and Sound

  • Location: London
  • Tutor: Edward Jackson
  • Date: Thursday 07 September 2017
  • Times: 10:00 - 15:30
  • Level: Open for Everyone
  • Age Range: Adult

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

Course Details

Do you live in or around London? Here's a great opportunity if you're new to birding or have a little experience. Spend a day in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park learning how to identify the resident and migrant birds found here - and more widely throughout London. With the River Lea running through the middle of the Park and new wetlands and woodlands created alongside, we'll be able to see how well birds are colonising the area just a few years after the 2012 Olympic Games. We'll be watching, listening and using the latest smartphone apps to help you become more confident in your identification, learn more about bird behaviour and increase your enjoyment of birdwatching generally.

After a welcome and short indoor introduction, we’ll spend a good amount of time walking in the Park, through the variety of habitats that were created or modified for the 2012 Games. As we find and identify birds by sight and sound, we’ll discuss exactly why you are seeing and hearing each species we encounter, as we consider:

  • What’s characteristic about its size and shape?
  • Where exactly on the bird are any distinctive colours and markings?
  • How does it behave and fly?
  • How can we remember sounds it makes so we’ll know them next time!?

Much of the time you’ll be asked what can you see or hear, so we hope there will be lots of lively interaction and discussions! We ask you to bring your own picnic lunch, although we’ll stop near one of the Park cafes so you can buy a hot drink if you wish. On our return we’ll review the birds we’ve seen - and other common species found in urban areas - using helpful identification DVDs. We’ll also take a few minutes to explain how to record bird sightings online via the BirdTrack website, so that there’s a permanent record of the species we find on the day.

Course fee includes a copy of the FSC fold out chart: Top 50 Garden Birds


Edward Jackson retired a couple of years ago as Head of Centre at FSC Flatford Mill. He now runs his own wildlife consultancy specialising in bird survey work and short training courses. He is very pleased still to be able to share his knowledge and passion for bird identification and their songs and calls. Aware that learning and memorising birds by sight and sound can be a challenging (and often frustrating!) process, he has lots of special ways of describing the special characteristics of each species and helping you to fix them in your mind.


  • 0930 Registration
  • 1000 Welcome, Health and Safety & Introduction
  • 1010 Identifying birds - what to look and listen for
  • 1030 A Walk in tha Park!
  • 1300 Lunch
  • 1330 Continuing the walk through the Park
  • 1500 reviewing identification of birds seen and heardm plus a look at other typical urban species
  • 1530 recording sightings on BirdTrack
  • 1550 Taking your interest further and Course Reviews
  • 1600 Course finishes

What to bring

  • Lunch and plenty to drink
  • Suitable clothing & footwear, waterproofs or sun cream as appropriate!
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Small bag to carry personal items
  • Essential: a good pair of binoculars between 8x and 10x magnification

If you have one:

  • a Bird identification guide

Health and Safety

  • the planned walk is approx. 3 miles as a round trip, on flat ground with inclines, and should take 2 to 3 hours. Participants should be comfortable with this amount of walking.
  • There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site.
  • If you have special medical requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Meeting point / Location


FSC in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

FSC have been working in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since 2009, using places and spaces around the Park to deliver courses including access to classrooms when required.

Now open to the public, the Park’s 111 acres of open space include gardens full of flowering plants, broad meadows and intricate wetlands. Each area of the Park has a different character – from the wide, restful green spaces that border the River Lea in the north of the Park, to the modern pleasure gardens of the south of the Park.


Further Information

QEOP Directions

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken.

View your basket