Birder's Certificate Program

Birders using scopes at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Take your birding skills to a new level! 

The Birder's Certificate Program (BCP), offered annually by Mass Audubon since 2004, is a key component in our ongoing efforts to provide the finest educational programs to the birdwatching community. The BCP is equivalent to an undergraduate-level ornithology course.

The program is completed within one year, August 2022 – July 2023. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of achievement.

In response to increasing interest, we are offering two options for participating in the 2022-2023 Birder’s Certificate Program.

  1. Take the BCP Complete Hybrid Program 
    • 11 Online monthly lectures
    • 11 In-person monthly field trips
    • Student comprehension will be evaluated through homework assignments
    • Supported Independent Study
    • Completion certificate
    • $1800 member / $2100 nonmember
  2. Attend just the BCP Online Lectures
    • 11 Online monthly lectures
    • Student comprehension will be evaluated through homework assignments
    • Completion certificate
    • $750 member / $900 nonmember

BCP Complete Hybrid Program

Eleven monthly lectures and field trips cover a wide range of subject matter, including avian systematics, biology, field identification, physiology, behavior, vocalization, ecology, and conservation. Student comprehension will be evaluated through homework assignments for each module. A twelfth module involves independent study. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of achievement and a BCP binocular harness.

Birder's Certificate Program Logo

Course Goals:

  • Develop the ornithological knowledge base of birders
  • Demonstrate ways birders can contribute to the scientific study of birds
  • Encourage closer collaboration between birders and professional ornithologists
  • Develop a cadre of skilled program and trip leaders
  • Provide professional development opportunities for Mass Audubon staff
  • Contribute to the conservation of birds and to the protection of the nature of Massachusetts

Lectures will be held online using Microsoft Teams. You will receive the Microsoft Teams Link to log into the program in your confirmation. An email reminder will also be sent to you 48 hours before program start.

Field trips associated with each module will be carried out in Essex County on the Sunday morning following each lecture. Field trips will follow the most current public health authority guidelines on social distancing and other safety measures. Please note that dates are subject to change, due to weather and other circumstances.

Schedule

  • August 20, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Systematics and Nomenclature with Bill Gette
    • August 21, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • September 24, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Evolution and Speciation with Martha Gach
    • September 25, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • October 22, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Field Identification with Wayne Petersen
    • October 23, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • November 19, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Bird Conservation with Jon Atwood
    • November 20, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Field Trip
  • December 10, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Anatomy and Physiology with David Moon
    • December 11, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Field Trip
  • January 14, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Feeding Ecology with Erica Holm
    • January 15: 9:00 am-1:00 pm/ Field Trip
  • February 11, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Feathers and Flight with Scott Santino
    • February 12, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Field Trip
  • March 25, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Migration with Bill Gette
    • March 26, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • April 15, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Avian Vocalization with Wayne Petersen
    • April 16, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • May 20, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Breeding Behavior with Wayne Petersen
    • May 21, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip
  • June 10, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Field Ornithology with Jon Atwood
    • June 11, 8:00 am-12:00 pm / Field Trip

Interested in becoming a Mass Audubon certified birder? We're happy to send you more information with full registration details. 

Learn More


Birder's Certificate Program - Online Lectures Only

Eleven monthly lectures cover a wide range of subject matter, including avian systematics, biology, field identification, physiology, behavior, vocalization, ecology, and conservation. Student comprehension will be evaluated through homework assignments for each module. Students who successfully complete the online program will receive a certificate of achievement.

Lectures will be held online using Microsoft Teams. You will receive the Microsoft Teams Link to log into the program in your confirmation. An email reminder will also be sent to you 48 hours before program start.

Schedule

  • August 20, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Systematics and Nomenclature with Bill Gette
  • September 24, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Evolution and Speciation with Martha Gach
  • October 22, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Field Identification with Wayne Petersen
  • November 19, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Bird Conservation with Jon Atwood
  • December 10, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Anatomy and Physiology with David Moon
  • January 14, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Feeding Ecology with Erica Holm
  • February 11, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Feathers and Flight with Scott Santino
  • March 25, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Migration with Bill Gette
  • April 15, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Avian Vocalization with Wayne Petersen
  • May 20, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Breeding Behavior with Wayne Petersen
  • June 10, 9:00 am-1:00 pm / Online Lecture: Field Ornithology with Jon Atwood

Register