Get to know more about the wonderful birds that call our countryside home and how to get started on your birdwatching journey.

Contact with nature not only promotes our well-being but also encourages an interest in biodiversity and conservation. Even those who live in towns and cities can begin to experience and connect with nature through observing birds.

This beginner course will cover basic fieldcraft and techniques including the use of binoculars and field guides and will give you a chance to get out into the beautiful woods and heaths surrounding FSC Amersham to put this theory into practice.

This level 2 course is next in the series of our Birds framework and is a perfect progression from our level 1 Field Ecology of Garden Birds

Your course takes place Set within 30 hectares of mixed woodland, meadows and ponds, located in South Buckinghamshire, within the Chiltern Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

PLEASE NOTE the course fee is for tuition only. There is no accommodation or refreshments provided with this course at FSC Amersham.

*Bookings will close if course capacity is reached

This course is for anyone who is starting out on their journey into identifying birds and those wishing to build on an existing basic foundation.

Who Should Attend?

Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists, Amateur birdwatchers.

Knowledge Level

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

Prior Knowledge

No specific experience is expected, but it would be helpful to have some understanding of British birds

What will be covered during this course?

    • Introduction to the basic craft and techniques of bird watching
    • How to use a field guide
    • How to use binoculars
    • Introduction to common bird families
    • Field practice

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

    • Use basic identification guides and binoculars with some confidence
    • Identify some of the commoner bird species in the field
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

This is a place-based training course from FSC, including a balance of classroom-led learning to impart important knowledge and irreplaceable hands-on outdoor learning opportunities to give individuals skills and confidence. 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 the animal kingdom. The FSC offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our fantastic tutor will combine the use of classroom-led learning and outside learning opportunities to give individuals the skills and confidence to learn more about birds.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course
    • Upon booking, you will need to provide individual details of all attendees
    • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions

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.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Email [email protected] to discuss your options!

Tutor: Chris Ford

Chris Ford has worked in environmental education for 15 years, working at in the London Region at Juniper Hall and Bushy Park and at the Blencathra Centre in the Lake District National Park. He is now working for the RSPB on the Suffolk Coast at RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve and continuing to share his love for the natural world from wildflowers to wading birds and invertebrates to interesting fungus. When he isn’t working Chris is often out on his bike or out in the garden but always with an eye out for anything interesting that might be spotted nearby.

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe, we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • Wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • Maintains social distancing.
  • Cleans their hands regularly.
  • Takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect

    • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00 am
    • The course will end at 5:00 pm.
10:00am Introductions and classroom session covering:

  • Basic observation skills
  • How to use binoculars and field guides
10:45am Break and prepare for field session – refreshments not provided 
10:45am Bird watching walk around FSC Amersham
12:30pm Lunch – not provided
1:30pm Continued field time
2:30pm Recognising bird groups – field activity to help work out which group of birds an unknown species might belong to.
4:00pm Break and return to classroom – refreshments not provided 
4:15pm Classroom plenary – summary and final questions
5:00pm End of course

Please note - accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal are not included

What's Included

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned

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

Before You Attend

What to Bring:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

If you have them:

  • Binoculars
  • Your own reference book(s)

The FSC offers a range of bird based publications that you may wish to purchase to enhance your learning

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 or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Sorry this course has ended