Birdwatching has become a hobby for many people of all ages. It allows us to connect with nature and begin to contribute to citizen science, but it is important to know how and what to record.

This beginner’s course will introduce you to the skills required to begin identifying and recording birds in the field. You will learn valuable observational field skills, how to use a field ID guide, an overview of British bird species, a history of ornithology what to record and how to record it. This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about the birds around them, identify bird groups, and contribute to citizen science projects.

Please note that this course is NOT a species identification course and will only go as far as categorising birds by their groups.

Our easy to use online portal will help lead you through each topic, giving you time to study at your own pace, and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Eco-Skills Framework and Course Level Descriptors

This is a 2-week course covering 2 topics, for which you will complete a variety of online resources and activities. Topics are concluded with either an interactive Zoom workshop or a tutor-marked assignment.
More details of dates and time commitments can be found below.

Develop your interest and understanding of Garden Birds through these topics:

    • Using Bird Field ID Guides*
    • Recording Birds

*For this topic, you may wish to purchase the FSC Guide to the top 50 garden birds to aid your learning.
You are not required to purchase this guide and the course can be completed without it. The guide is merely a tool to enhance your learning and a good place to start when identifying garden birds.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Identify the main differences between bird families
    • Begin to use bird field guides
    • Identify key equipment when beginning bird watching
    • Understand why and how we create effective field notes relating to birds and identify their importance
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers.

This is a training course from the FSC Eco-Skills, including online course materials, expert tuition, and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning within Birds with further relevant FSC courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The FSC offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Monday 8th November to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – booking will not be taken after this time.

Each individual needs to place their own order to ensure we can sign you up to the learning platform and give you access to resources.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject, acquire novel skills.

  • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and  ‘What’s Included’  sections below for more information about this course.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £25 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

Tutor: Anne Brenchley

Anne was born and brought up in Kent and has been a keen birdwatcher from a very early age. She was awarded a Zoology degree and a PhD from Aberdeen University (studying Rooks) and went on to spend most of her working career, until 2011, with Natural England and its predecessors. She has been a Regional Rep for the British Trust for Ornithology since 2000 in Flintshire and Wrexham, organising and taking part in surveys and also helping other volunteers. She is also a fully qualified bird ringer and the main author of the Breeding Birds of North Wales published in 2013. Anne is now an independent ecological/horticultural consultant and lead birdwatching/wildlife walks on a weekly basis.

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 6:00 pm (BST):

    • Tuesday 16th November 2021 at 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

For Week 2 there will be a marked assignment in which the course tutor will provide feedback on your submission. There will be no Zoom session for this week.

Please note - webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

Example Timetable

Week 1: Using Bird Field ID Guides 
Self-study material available: 09/11/2021
Week 1 live webinar: 16/11/2021 at 4:00 pm

Week 2: Recording Birds 
Self-study material available: 16/11/2021
Week 2 marked assignment due: 23/11/2021 at 4:00 pm*

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 07/12/2021.

Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created to help you constantly build on your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the FSC.

The course includes:

    • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants
    • Personalised feedback from an expert tutor
    • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned
    • Activities to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user-friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes and skill-checks will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to interact with each other as well as a place to share work. Unique to the FSC, there are also Mindful Moments: a chance to stop, step away from your screen and interact with nature and enjoy a personal moment.

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Bursaries and Subsidies

If you are 18-25, you can get £25 off this course thanks to the Generation Green project. Click here to find out more and to get your voucher code

Before You Attend

Recommended equipment:

  • Binoculars
  • Bird ID Guides
  • Field notebook

Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 48 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.

Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend

Please note that bookings will close on Monday 8th of November at 9 am to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform.