Marie McAden



S.C. Wildlife Federation offers Palmetto Pro Birders course

Posted 10/24/2012 6:57:00 PM

Don’t know a warbler from a bunting? The South Carolina Wildlife Federation can help turn you from avian neophyte to bird nerd.

Over the next several months, the federation will be offering its Palmetto Pro Birders certification program in locations throughout the state. The two-day birding course will teach participants how to identify some 30 to 50 species of birds by sight and/or sound.

Students also will learn how to create a bird-friendly landscape in their own backyards to attract a greater variety of species.

Classes will be held on the following dates and locations:

* Oct. 27-28 at Dewees Island, Charleston
* Nov. 10-11 at Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
* Dec. 29-30 at Santee National Wildlife Refuge
* March 23-24 at Saluda Shoals Park, Columbia
* May 11-12 at Kalmia Gardens, Hartsville
* May 18-19 at Congaree National Park

Whichever class you take, you’ll learn the basics of bird biology, identification and habitat conservation. To be certified as a Palmetto Pro Birder, you’ll need to sign up for a minimum of four of the two-day training sessions. Students attending several classes will have the opportunity to learn about different species of woodland, open field and water birds as the season and locations change.

Each session will be taught by an expert instructor. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 7 a.m. to noon Sundays. Cost is $150 per course. Participants should pack a lunch, along with binoculars and a field guide, such as the National Geographic Guide to Eastern Birds. (If you don’t have binoculars, don’t rush out and buy a pair. Information will be provided during the classes on the best type of optics to use for bird watching.)

To register for the Palmetto Pro Birders program, visit www.scwf.org or call (803) 256-0670.