Class: Introduction to Birds and Birding Winter 2024

This class is for those who want to take an active role in seeking out birds and learning to identify them. It promises to start you down the road toward a life-long love and enjoyment of birds by providing you with the tools to discover, identify and understand the birds that surround you every day. Instruction will be provided during four online classroom sessions and four field trips to popular birding locations around Austin. Field trips involve walking on mostly level ground for about a mile or so. Attendance at all the classroom sessions and all field trips is highly recommended in order to get the most out of the class.

Introduction to Birds and Birding will introduce students to a variety of bird and birding-related topics including: how to identify birds; field guides and binoculars; bird identification of many species of Central Texas birds; bird vocalizations; where to go birding in Central Texas; bird migration; and bird conservation. Tuition includes a copy of the sixth edition of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, our “text book” for the class. No prior birding experience is necessary.

This class will be taught by Rich Kostecke. Rich has a BS in Biology from the University of Kansas, MS in Zoology from North Dakota State University, and PhD in Wildlife Science from Texas Tech University. Over the last several decades, mostly in the non-profit sector, Rich’s work has focused on the conservation, ecology, and management of birds and their habitats in Texas, land conservation in general, and conservation planning. Currently, he works for Hill Country Conservancy. Rich has long been involved with recovery efforts for the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler and has also worked on grassland birds and on sky island bird communities in west Texas. Rich has been an avid birder since 1995 and is currently the eBird reviewer for Terrell and Williamson counties in Texas. Although birds are his foremost passion, Rich is interested in all biodiversity, is active on iNaturalist (moths and other insects are a new-found interest) and spends a fair bit of time and effort in propagating/landscaping with native plants in his NW Austin yard.

The classroom sessions will be held on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Zoom. The dates for the Zoom sessions will be 1/10, 1/17, 1/24, and 1/31. The field trips will take place the following weekends, alternating Saturdays and Sundays – 1/13, 1/21, 1/27, and 2/4. Field trips will take place in the Austin area; registrants will receive more details prior to each field trip.

Participants will need to visit the Travis Audubon office prior to class to pick up their field guide. The TAS office will notify you when they are available.

This class size is limited to 24 participants. Tuition is $95 for TAS members and $110 for non-members.


Payment for a class, workshop, or other fee-based event is due at the time of registration. If payment is not received within a week of registration, the registrant may be dropped from the roster. To withdraw from a class, workshop, or other fee-based event, please contact the Travis Audubon office: 512-300-BIRD (2473) or If a registrant withdraws from a class, workshop, or other fee-based event at least seven (7) days before the first session, Travis Audubon will offer a full refund less a $5.00 administrative fee that helps defray our costs. If the registrant withdraws less than seven (7) days before the first session, no refund will be made. If Travis Audubon cancels the class, workshop, or other fee-based event, we will fully refund the tuition.