AE21 Birding Basics: Nesting Birds


Birding Basics Series

ONLINE*  Six sessions: Thursdays, March 4, 11, 18, April 1, 8, and 15; 4 to 5 p.m. (no meeting March 25)

Instructors: Kevin Burke and Simon Thompson

Series: $80 Member | $100 Non-member

Per session: $15 Member | $20 Non-member

BRN Elective (1 hour per session)


Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the country. Your next bird sighting could be as close as your nearest window, yard, or tree! Learn more about our local avian friends and how to get into bird watching in this series of weekly online classes. You don’t have to be a beginner to enjoy these lively presentations by expert birders Simon Thompson and Kevin Burke of Ventures Birding Tours.  Register for individual sessions (click "Show individual events" below), or the whole series.

*Instructions for joining via Zoom will be emailed to registrants the day prior to the class. A recording of the class will be made available to registered participants for a limited period following the session for review and to provide access to those with scheduling conflicts.



March 4 Nest: Searching for Home

Have you ever wondered where a certain bird nests? How about how they build those intricate nests? Kevin Burke will be talking all about nest selection and construction during this class, highlighting some of the more common species nests in our area as well as some of the more unusual nest builders from around the world.

March 11 Spring Arrival Birds

Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year in the birding world. Every day more and more birds are flying north to either nest in our woods or to continue further north. Warblers, vireos, cuckoos and many more birds will soon be filling our forests and woodlands with color and song.

March 18 Bird Songs

With the dense canopy of spring forests it can be difficult to identify which birds are singing without at least learning the basics of birdsong identification. The class starts with a slide discussion of local birds and their spring breeding behavior patterns.

April 1 Nocturnal Birds

Whoo... whoo... whoo’s making all that racket after sunset? There seems to be a lot of activity taking place when most of us expect our birds to be resting. Many species of birds are active at night, including owls, nightjars, and even some songbirds. Some birds are predominantly nocturnal whereas others do specific tasks, like migrating, nocturnally. Students will learn about the ecology and behavior of Western North Carolina’s nocturnal avian residents as well as helpful patterns for identifying them by their vocalizations. 

April 8 Hummingbirds

Everyone loves Hummingbirds and the first males will be arriving in our area any day. They will stake out their territories before the females start to arrive later in the month. We will learn about their biology, feeding techniques and what flowers to plant to encourage them to stay in our gardens.

April 15 Eastern Birds of Prey

The Eastern United States is home to an interesting diversity of diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey.  In this birding basics class we will go over what makes a bird a raptor and the individual species that make up the Eastern population.  Please join us as we explore all things raptor in this interesting addition to the series.


Kevin Burke was introduced to birding while taking an ornithology class and has been birding every day since. He has a degree in resource recreation and tourism from the University of Idaho and honed his birding skills teaching environmental education. Kevin has led birding trips across the country to Washington's San Juan Islands and Idaho's back country and abroad with trips to Portugal and Colombia. His lifelong journey has developed into a desire to share his knowledge and help others grow their skills. 

Originally from Suffolk, England, Simon Thompson has lived in North Carolina for over 20 years. Prior to moving to the US he lived in Lebanon, Kenya, Yemen, and Ghana, where his interest in birds and natural history began.  In addition to traveling extensively in the United States, Simon spent six months in China studying the crane and bird of prey migration as a member of the British "China Crane Watch" expedition. He is on the board of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville, NC. As owner and operator of Ventures Birding Tours, Simon has led many birding trips all over the world.  


Arboretum Members: Please sign in above in the top right-hand corner before adding classes to your shopping cart. Your member discount will be applied on the checkout pageClick here for membership discount instructions. To become an Arboretum Member and receive discounts on all classes, go to our Membership page. 

This event is no longer on sale.