For senior birdwatchers, a lifelong love of learning about birds keeps our mind engaged. Continuing our education about birds expands our understanding and awareness, enhancing our time spent birdwatching.
Many retirees find that the benefits of maintaining cognitive skills and social connections around learning about birds include valuable stimulation and purpose. But what is the best way to extend and deepen our bird education as a senior?
In this article we cover more traditional ways to learn about birding as well as some of the many online resources available. By including both online and offline approaches we share the wide range of flexible learning pathways available to you.
So you will find an overview of continuing bird education options for seniors, catering to whichever way you prefer to do your learning – on the internet or on paper!
Continuing Bird Education as a Senior – Key takeaways
First we focus on more traditional offline methods. These include field guides, audio CDs, and in-person classes and lectures.
Next, we highlight online options like digital field guides, audio apps, virtual webinars, online forums, and streaming videos.
Numerous educational resources about birdwatching allow seniors to continue building birding knowledge from home. This is important in case of any decrease in mobility.
Keeping our older minds sharp through ongoing study sustains our capacities for identification. It also deepens the meaning and reward derived from observing birds.
But what is most convenient for continuing ornithology education will vary from person to person. We aim to give you lots of options to try, and see what works for you.
Whether through structured resources or informal independent study, staying curious keeps the spirit of discovery alive. We stay young whatever our outward appearance of maturity!
Reading Bird Identification Field Guides
Field guides are essential references for building confidence identifying birds over years of birding. Newly revised editions incorporate latest taxonomy changes and insights from ongoing research.
Review new guides to supplement your core collection and see fresh perspectives on species you thought you knew well. Revisit guides with a retrospective lens to absorb more wisdom from their pages now.
Share guides with others just starting out. Maintain well-worn guides that bear witness to the past years of your notations, scribbles and memories of new discoveries.
Whether in print or digital formats, field guides remain go-to tools for continuing progress. Let your own personal reference library grow in parallel with your knowledge.
Free online guides like those from Merlin, Audubon, and All About Birds offer searchable convenience.
Learning Bird Sounds and Songs
The practice of honing your listening skills and learning vocalizations expands awareness immeasurably.
Subscribe to audio-friendly apps like Audubon’s bird guide app. If you are familiar with the Peterson Birds field guide, their app may be good for you.
Supplement audio resources with CD sets if you have a CD player. Libraries, second-hand stores and online marketplaces can be a good source for audio materials.
If there is the opportunity, you could attend bird banding sessions. This lets you hear species’ release calls up close.
Note nuanced changes across seasons and contexts. Listen to archived recordings of extinct and endangered species.
Subscribe to podcasts like This Birding Life.
Whether through passive listening or actively testing knowledge, building auditory birding skills never ceases.
Reading Ornithology News and Magazines
Stay up to date with current developments by reading bird and ornithology periodicals.
- Magazines like Bird Watching cater to hobbyists.
- Scientific journals like The Condor or The Wilson Journal share latest avian research.
- Publications issued by organizations highlight conservation initiatives.
- Subscribe to email newsletter and blogs from wildlife groups for updates.
- Browse specialist journals like North American Bird Bander.
- Scan journal tables of contents at library e-resources.
- Follow science publications reporting notable new studies.
Retain curiosity about emerging discoveries, technologies expanding knowledge, evolving protections, and news on species worldwide. Lifelong reading habits link you to a broader birding community.
Attending Birding Lectures and Talks
Public lectures nourish and inspire the birding soul. Look for free public nature lecture series at parks, museums, gardens, libraries, and zoos broadening awareness of ornithology topics.
Local Audubon chapters and birding clubs host specialists presenting findings. Ask groups to arrange accessible events for seniors interested in continuing education.
Seek out local experts’ presentations on specialty subjects like bird evolution, adaptations, or migration. Compile engaging questions for Q&A sessions.
Attend virtual talks from home through live streams. Subscribe to speaker series podcasts like Cornell’s Naturalist Outreach.
Taking Birdwatching Classes
Local adult education programs at nature centers, zoos, parks departments, and community colleges often offer reasonably priced birdwatching classes on diverse specialties.
If you’d like to master field identification, investigate courses dedicated to shorebirds, raptors, warblers, and bird behavior.
Try beginning ornithology, bird photography, or bird journaling classes blended with field outings. Structured learning with experts reinforces skills and renews perspective.
Attend virtual webinars from home, or if you are feeling more adventurous consider bird study tours incorporating travel tailored for seniors.
Look into domestic and international birding tours catering especially to senior travelers.
Joining Online Forums and Groups for birdwatchers
Participating in online birding forums allows exchanging knowledge and insights with enthusiasts worldwide. Fellow birders are excited to share triumphs, questions, news, and photos.
Start discussion threads by introducing yourself. Comment on posts to make connections.
Share insights you’ve gained over years of observations. These sorts of forums also provide the opportunity for you to offer encouragement to beginners starting out on their birding journeys.
Join groups focused on specific species or well-defined topics aligned with your interests. The online birding community offers views into experiences beyond your own horizons.
Documentaries, Videos and More
Bird-focused documentaries, webinars, and YouTube videos deliver captivating stories visually from the comforts of home. Multimedia provides birding thrills long after legs grow weary.
- Streaming services offer award-winning films on bird behavior, adaptations, migration and conservation.
- Cornell Lab’s YouTube channel shares scientific videos on current research.
- Audubon’s video series highlights common species.
- eBird Tutorials explain best practices for using their citizen science tools.
Immerse yourself in stunning footage and sound created using shooting styles that were previously impossible. Live bird cams are another amazing way to view scenes you could never see in person.
In this way we can draw inspiration from transformative conservation success stories or cutting-edge discoveries about birds we thought we knew.
Local Community Resources
Look to your local community for continuing bird education tailored to seniors.
Public libraries often host free nature talks and can arrange virtual lectures accessible from home. Request that your library orders extra birding resources, like field guides, audio CDs, and scientific journals, to make birding more accessible for patrons.
Nearby nature centers and parks may offer specialized birdwatching classes, walks, and programs for older adults.
Audubon chapters and birding clubs can provide details on accessibility for mobility-limited members. Ask about potential mentorships pairing you with younger members on outings.
Check with assisted living facilities on resources available on-site like binocular loans, bird feeder stations, and visiting lecturers.
Partner with activity coordinators to explore options for virtual learning. Keep your eyes open for bulletins on upcoming local events focused on birds.
Let your curiosity and questions guide communities to respond with enriching accessible programming.
Continuing Bird Education as a Senior – next steps
While aging might sometimes put limits on our mobility, it need not curtail a lifelong quest to better understand birds by continuing education.
Field guides, books, apps, online courses, lectures, webinars and more enable us to do flexible learning on our own schedule. Keep expanding expertise in niche topics through classes and birding clubs.
Seniors can stay up to date on conservation issues by reading organizational publications. Support local presentations by regional experts by attending in person when possible.
Consider joining online forums because they allow you to exchange knowledge within a broader community of fellow enthusiasts around the world.
Using the TV or computer to stream documentaries or live cams showcases birds through fresh lenses.
Formal or informal learning pathways keep sharpening observation abilities, igniting curiosities, and expanding perspectives. Taking joy in the lifelong journey of discovery through birds – not just destinations – maintains momentum.
Let yourself be amazed by new insights into birds you’ve known for decades. Continuing your birding education as you age offers a valuable opportunity to distill your own learning and support future generations of birders.
- 1 Reading Bird Identification Field Guides
- 2 Learning Bird Sounds and Songs
- 3 Reading Ornithology News and Magazines
- 4 Attending Birding Lectures and Talks
- 5 Taking Birdwatching Classes
- 6 Joining Online Forums and Groups for birdwatchers
- 7 Documentaries, Videos and More
- 8 Local Community Resources
- 9 Continuing Bird Education as a Senior – next steps