Eastern Bluebird
Image: Melissa Groo

Build Your Bird Watching Skills

Organized according to the waves of migration that wow us each spring, you’ll be more than ready to greet the birds in your neighborhood by name.

  • Get to know your local birds and know when to look for them each spring.
  • Gain confidence in bird ID by learning key field marks and habitat choices.
  • Understand bird behavior, including song, migration, nesting, and more.

Spring Field Ornithology—Northeast

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About This Course
  • Lessons inside: 16
  • Completion time (estimated): 20 hours
  • Instructional videos: 16
  • Total instructional video time: 12.75 hours
  • Level: Beginner
  • Categories: Bird Identification, Bird Biology, Nature Appreciation
  • Regionality: United States/Canada – Northeast
  • CEU credits: 2.0 (optional additional purchase)
  • Self-paced, no expiration date, 100% online
  • 60-day refund guarantee
Cedar Waxwing
Image: Kelly Azar

Why I Made This Course

"Learn bird identification and sharpen your field skills with help from an exciting group of world-renowned birders. You’ll build your confidence in identifying the birds around you and deepen your understanding of bird biology with video instruction and custom bird ID quizzes. Whether it’s spring or you’re looking ahead, this course is designed to get you ready to enjoy new bird-watching experiences."

Stephen Kress—Stephen W. Kress, Ph.D., Course Instructor
Blackburnian Warbler
Image: Laura Erickson

What's Inside

Spring Field Ornithology builds on a more than 40-year tradition at the Cornell Lab of offering spring training to help you tune in to birds. This offers 16 prerecorded lectures covering bird ID, biology, and conservation, 7 bird identification quizzes, and links to help you learn more on each topic. The birds featured frequent the eastern U.S. and Canada (east of Oklahoma up to Saskatchewan) and extend as far south as Florida.

Try a Sample Quiz

Explore questions from Spring Field Ornithology's Bird ID Quizzes.

Try Out the Quiz

Course Overview

Lesson 1:
Birding Strategies and Winter Residents ID

Build your strategies for bird watching and identification and meet the Northeast’s most notable winter residents.

Lesson 2:
Seabird Restoration

Conservation success stories presented by one of the world’s foremost seabird restoration experts—your instructor, Dr. Steve Kress.

Lesson 3:
Waterfowl ID

Learn the common duck species as well as a variety of other waterfowl you can expect to encounter in the East.

Lesson 4:
eBird 101

Explore how the practice of eBirding can help you with your birding and transform our collective understanding of bird movements—from guest eBirder Ian Davies.

Lesson 5:
Hawk and Owl ID

Learn about the fascinating hawks and owls you can expect to see in the Northeast.

Lesson 6:
Bird Migration

Get familiar with the migratory patterns of birds and the science behind how they are able to navigate continents and oceans.

Lesson 7:
Shorebird ID

Get to know the shorebirds you can expect to find in the Northeast region—from guest ornithologist Dr. Kevin McGowan.

Lesson 8:
Bird Song and Courtship

Learn how birds use song and other courtship displays to woo mates, defend territory, and impress human listeners.

Lesson 9:
Early Bird Land Migrant ID

Get familiar which early migrants come through the Northeast each spring and what draws them on their migratory journeys.

Lesson 10:
Eggs and Nests

Explore the fascinating biology of eggs and nests—from guest lecturer Robyn Bailey the project leader for NestWatch.

Lesson 11:
Late Landbird Migrant ID

Meet the late landbird migrants that you can expect to see in the Northeast— from guest ornithologist Dr. Ken Rosenberg.

Lesson 12:
Virtual Visit to the Museum of Vertebrates

Tour the bird collections in the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates with guest ornithologist Dr. Kevin McGowan.

Lesson 13:
Warbler and Vireo ID

Jump-start your warbler and vireo identification skills so you can better enjoy these small gems.

Lesson 14:
Neotropical Songbird Conservation

Learn how we can protect neotropical songbirds—from guest ornithologist Dr. Ken Rosenberg.


Lesson 15:
How Birds Can Save the World

Join Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab as he explores his vision for how birds can save the world.

Lesson 16:
Gardening for Birds

Get familiar with techniques and strategies for attracting birds to your yard.

Meet the Course Instructor

Hear What Students Have to Say

I enjoyed and learned from everything! I especially liked the practical knowledge—photos, descriptions. I liked the ID clues that birders actually use—those are helpful and fun! I enjoyed every lecture." Bird Academy Student
The whole course was interesting and useful, but the bird ID tips were especially so (shorebirds are difficult!). I also especially appreciated the tips about how the individual birder can make a difference and contribute in a meaningful way to the understanding and conservation of birds, on both a local and international level." Bird Academy Student
The overview of eBird and the global impact of birds for the health of the planet was most powerful." Bird Academy Student
Buy Spring Field Ornithology—Northeast Now!
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 60 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Alternative Course Access

Birds can inspire people accross boundaries to build a more sustainable world. At Bird Academy we want to share the love and knowledge of birds! If you would like alternative access to this course, please take a look at our Take Flight Program

Yellow Warbler
Image: Warren Bouton

This Course is Entirely Online

There’s nothing to be shipped, and no additional material is necessary. Bird Academy courses are online, self-paced, and there is no deadline to complete them. You can return to them for reference or practice as often as you want. All course material, practice tools, instructional videos, and quizzes are available through your web browser. Learn anytime, anywhere*. Gain the skills and understanding you’re looking for.

*Requires an internet connection and a modern web browser.

Course Instructor: Stephen Kress
Guest Instructors: Kevin McGowan, Ian Davies, Robin Bailey, Ken Rosenberg, John Fitzpatrick
Course Developer: Marc Devokaitis
Instructional Designer: Mya Thompson
Web Designer: Jeff Szuc
Web Programmer: Noah Warnke
Audio Engineer: Matt Young

Give the Gift of Learning

Gift certificates are a great way to give the bird enthusiasts in your life something that supports and encourages their passion.

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