This course is designed to help you identify ducks, geese, swans, loons, grebes, and more. Each self-paced lesson features a video tutorial, followed by exercises and quizzes designed to help you build ID skills.
Begin by learning expert tips for approaching waterfowl ID. Next, get to know all the common waterfowl in North America species-by-species, by learning which characteristics are important for each one.
Go through the material at your own pace. Pause, rewind, and review anything you wish.
Practice your skills with the built-in activities and quizzes. This course features 6 lessons containing more than 3 hours of video instruction, 21 quizzes, and 2 puzzles. You can choose to earn a digital badge and a printable certificate by passing the final exam.
You’ll come away knowing
- How to categorize waterfowl
- How much variety you can expect to see
- The most important things to look for, and what to ignore
- How to avoid common misidentifications
- ID strategies for all common North American species
Lesson 1: Waterfowl ID Essentials
Lesson 2: Other Ways to ID Waterfowl
Lesson 3: Dabbling Ducks
Lesson 4: Identifying Diving Ducks
Lesson 5: Identifying “Not-Ducks”
Lesson 6: Final Exam and Wrap-up
The course contains a series of interactive quizzes so you gain valuable practice in bird ID along the way.
The Waterfowl ID Guides
The Waterfowl ID Guides make a perfect companion to this course. These foldout guides help you identify waterfowl by noting the overall shape of the bird and the location of patches of white. Great in the field and as study aides in the course–get yours at the Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods store.
Meet the Course Authors
Kevin J. McGowan combines deep knowledge about birds with passion for helping others to learn. He is the Project Manager of Distance Learning in Bird Biology, the instructor for the Home Study Course in Bird Biology, and the instructor and author of the online course Courtship and Rivalry in Birds and the Be a Better Birder tutorials. He has worked at Cornell University since 1988 and is one of the world’s foremost experts on the behavior of crows. He helped create the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds web site and wrote the original bird guide section.
Lee Ann van Leer works in Education at the Cornell Lab where she helps support online courses and run the Be a Better Birder webinar series. She is a certified bird bander and recreational birder, as well as having a degree in Zoology. She is a long-time participant and field-trip leader in Spring Field Ornithology, and leads weekend bird walks at the Lab.