Students have access to the course through December 1, 2018.

Spring Field Ornithology

Learn bird identification and sharpen your field skills with help from world-renowned birders. You’ll build your confidence in identifying the birds around you with week-by-week entirely online video instruction and built-in bird ID quizzes.

Build Your Skills


  • Get to know your local birds
  • Gain confidence in bird ID
  • Understand bird behavior

Keep up with Spring Migration

This online course builds on a more than 40 year tradition at the Cornell Lab of offering spring training to help you tune in to birds. Spring Field Ornithology online offers two pre-recorded lectures per week for 8 weeks, beginning March 29, 2018. Following the pattern of spring migration, the first focuses on expert bird ID strategies for the group of birds most active in the Northeast that week. The second features key topics that will expand your knowledge of birds—including migration, nesting, and conservation.

You can enjoy this course even if you don’t live in the Northeast. The birds featured frequent the eastern U.S. and Canada (east of Oklahoma up to Saskatchewan) and extend as far south as Florida. Keep in mind that if you tune in from a more southern area, the birds featured each week might have just visited you on their way north.

What’s Inside

The course has 16 lessons containing more than 15 hours of online video instruction, 8 bird identification quizzes, and links to help you learn more on each topic. You can choose to earn a digital badge and a printable certificate by passing the final exam. The course is entirely online, nothing is shipped.

Bird Identification Topics

  • Winter Residents
  • Ducks and Waterfowl
  • Hawks and Owls
  • Shorebirds
  • Early Landbird Migrants
  • Late Landbird Migrants
  • Warblers and Vireos
  • Gardening for Birds

Additional Topics

  • Seabird Restoration
  • Birding with eBird
  • Migration
  • Courtship and Song
  • Eggs and Nests
  • Visit to the Bird Collection
  • Neotropical Songbird Conservation
  • How Birds Can Save the World

Also Inside: weekly quizzes so you can practice identifying birds.

Try a free sample quiz


Yellow Warbler

Hear What Students Have To Say

Great class! I have used some of the helpful tips in the field and have become a better birder because of the course.”
2016 Spring Field Ornithology student

I have gone from an occasional bird looker to someone who is out several times a week with my binoculars and pad and paper for now I am able to identify a bird by wing bars, eye bands, kind of beak, habitat. It is so exciting.”
Marlaine, 2015 Spring Field Ornithology student

Sign up for Spring Field Ornithology—Northeast today!

Only $129.99
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Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 30 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Stephen Kress

Meet the Instructor

Dr. Stephen W. Kress is Vice President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society and Director of the Society’s Maine Coast Seabird Sanctuaries. He is also the author of many popular birding books, including The Audubon Guide to Attracting Birds, The National Audubon Society’s Birder’s Handbook, Project Puffin: How We Brought Puffins Back to Egg Rock.


Marc Devokaitis

Marc Devokaitis

Meet the Course Coordinator

Marc Devokaitis is in charge of day-to-day course operations and developing web content for Spring Field Ornithology. As the Public Information Specialist for the Cornell Lab, Marc also responds to approximately 20,000 bird-related inquires annually.


Eastern Bluebird: Melissa Groo
Cedar Waxwing: Kelly Azar