This beginner bird course is aimed at bird enthusiasts who wish to learn more about their much-loved garden visitors and want to begin to be able to identify them and understand their biology and ecology.

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

For many of us living in towns and cities, the easiest way to connect with nature is through observing our regular garden visitors. The course begins with an overview of basic bird biology and ecology, looking at how birds have evolved and the shared characteristics between all species. Later topics focus on identifying garden birds and exploring the use of bird song.

This is a 4-week online course covering 4 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion. Understand how our online courses are delivered .

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists.

Knowledge Level

Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge

Existing knowledge and understanding of bird terminology would be beneficial for this course.

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

What is covered in this course?

    • Bird Biology
    • Bird Ecology
    • Identifying UK Garden Birds
    • Types of Bird Song

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

    • Describe the taxonomy, anatomy, and morphology of birds.
    • Explain general bird ecology e.g., life cycle, diet, habitats and niches.
    • Describe and identify common UK garden birds.
    • Explain why birds sing and describe differences between bird song.
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers.

Please note that bookings will close at 9am on Monday 6th March 2023 to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time. Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
    • 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.
    • If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions
    • If your question is still not answered, email [email protected]

This is a training course from the FSC EcoSkills, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning about birds with further relevant FSC courses, or branch out into other areas of the animal kingdom. FSC offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

Please Note: This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more

Tutor: Sandy Hill

Sandy Hill worked for the FSC over a decade, teaching at 9 centres in England and Wales. Having recently retired, he’s now exploring more of Pembrokeshire as a keen birder and enthusiastic natural historian. However, he is happiest when able to share his knowledge and love of the environment.

Live Webinar Information

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 5:30 pm (BST):

    • Wednesday 15th March 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
    • Wednesday 22nd March 2032 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
    • Wednesday 29th March 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
    • Wednesday 5th April 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm

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

Example Timetable


Week 1: Bird Biology
Self-study material available:08/03/23
Week 1 live webinar: 15/03/23 at 5:30pm

Week 2: Bird Ecology
Self-study material available: 15/03/23
Week 2 live webinar: 22/03/23 at 5:30pm

Week 3: UK Garden Birds
Self-study material available: 22/03/23
Week 3 live webinar: 29/03/23 at 5:30pm

Week 4: Types of Bird Song
Self-study material available: 29/03/23
Week 4 live webinar: 05/04/23 at 5:30pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 19/04/23

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 continue to 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 Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants.
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned.
  • Exercises to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop.
  • Tailored course certificate upon completion

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.

Before You Attend

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 at 9 am on Monday 6th March 2023 to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform. 


Sorry this course booking is closed