Class: Intro to Raptor Identification Fall 2021

Zoom Sessions: 9/17 6 PM – 8 PM, 9/18 9 AM – 11 AM
Cost: $60 for members, $75 for non-members

Hawks are fun to watch, but they can be difficult to identify. Central Texas annually hosts 19 species of diurnal raptors (hawks, vultures, eagles, kites and falcons), with another 5 species that occur occasionally. This class will help you become familiar with the 15 most commonly-occurring raptor species in the Austin area, and teach you how to tell them apart.

The class will consist of two 2-hour virtual classroom sessions with still photos and videos to illustrate key identification points. Plumage and structural features, size, shape and behavior will all be discussed.  The main focus of the class will be to help you become comfortable identifying our year-round raptors (2 vultures and an eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk and Crested Caracara) and to become better able to separate these birds from species that spend only part of the year here (like Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Mississippi Kite, and 3 species of falcon). This class should be suitable for almost anyone with a moderate amount of experience trying to identify birds with binoculars or spotting scope.

Good locations for fall hawk-watching in Texas will be suggested, but no official field trip will be offered in light of the worsening community spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19. The class will be recorded so that registrants can view or review the recording for a limited time after the original session. This class is recommended for those who have some prior birding experience/have taken a beginning birder’s class.

Byron “Doc” Stone is a long-time TAS instructor. This will be his 6th year to teach a raptor identification class for Travis Audubon.