FOR THE BIRDS: THE AMAZING WORLD OF ORNITHOLOGY – AN INTRODUCTION
Instructor: BILL GETTE
6 sessions, starting February 1
Biosketch: Bill Gette retired from the Massachusetts Audubon Society (Mass Audubon) in February 2016, since then I have led natural history travel programs for the Society (e.g., Galápagos Islands, Big Bend National Park, New Mexico, Alaska); conducted numerous workshops (e.g., Introduction to Ornithology, Bird Banding, Sparrows), and been an instructor for the Birder’s Certificate Program at the Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport.
In addition to my volunteer work at Mass Audubon, I conduct “Celebrating Nature – Talks by Bill Gette” programs for libraries, retirement communities, and civic organizations. These PowerPoint presentations range from one-hour travel programs to my six-module Introduction to Ornithology Workshop. These programs are designed to educate the public about birds and instill a conservation ethic.
Course Description: Everyday former Sanctuary Director of Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport, Bill has been leading natural history travel programs and teaching workshops for over 30 years. He has developed the Introduction to Ornithology Workshop to focuses on six major themes: Avian Systematics (the scientific study of the evolutionary relationships among birds), Feathers, Flight, Feeding Ecology, Migration, and Breeding Behavior. The classes last 1 ½ hours, and the format encourages participants to ask questions and share their knowledge. Bill uses photographs he has taken while traveling to all seven continents and diagrams to explain key concepts.
- Module 1: Introduction and Avian Systematics:
- origin of birds, early concepts about life forms, innovations in thought, Darwin’s influence, taxonomy (relationships among birds), nomenclature (naming of birds)
- Module 2: Feathers:
- origin of feathers, anatomy of a feather, feather types and functions, feather care, feather molt, coloration
- Module 3: Flight:
- how birds fly, adaptations for flight, four aerodynamic forces, Bernoulli’s principle
- Module 4: Feeding Ecology:
- what birds eat, when birds feed, physical and behavioral adaptations, feeding techniques, food security
- Module 5: Migration:
- why birds migrate, adaptations for long-range migration, migration strategies, fuel for flight, timing, navigation in birds
- Module 6: Breeding Behavior:
- why birds established territories, ways birds develop and maintain pair bonds, mating systems, nests, egg production and incubation, care of young.