Class: Introduction to Waterfowl in Travis and Surrounding Counties (FULL)

Are you relatively new to birds and birding and looking for a class to help you build your confidence in identifying birds? Or maybe you’ve been birding for a while but still identify female ducks by their association with a nearby male? If you fall into either of those categories, the Introduction to Waterfowl class has something to offer you! Geese, swans and ducks are considered waterfowl. There are approximately 19 species of waterfowl expected in Travis and the surrounding counties, and 12 species that are considered rare but show up regularly. In this class, we’ll discuss the field marks for those 31 species, focusing mainly on the more easily identified males but also spending time looking closely at the females. It’s amazing what you can see when you actually look closely at the females! We’ll also talk about the distribution of these species and some of their cool behavior. Then, we’ll visit numerous ponds in the Austin area to apply our new knowledge. We’ll visit a few ponds in Central Austin, a few in South Austin, and a few northwest of Austin. Most of the ponds that we visit will have flat and smooth trails or sidewalks and close views of the waterfowl. Expect to discover some cool new birding locations that you can return to after the class is over to continue your study of waterfowl.

This class will include three classroom sessions and three field trips. The first two classroom sessions and field trips will be held on the same day, starting with the classroom session at the Center for Environmental Research at Hornsby Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant followed by field work as we visit several ponds. Those dates and times are February 25 and March 3 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM for the classroom session and then the field trip from 10:15 AM – 3:00 PM. (Bring your lunch to eat along the way.) The third classroom session will be virtual via Zoom on Tuesday night, March 5 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. The final field trip will be held on Sunday, March 10 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

Shelia Hargis is the instructor for this class. She has been birding for 25+ years and is totally obsessed with birds! She spends most of her free time birding or thinking about birds. Shelia teaches several other classes for Travis Audubon, gives presentations on a variety of bird topics, surveys birds for the City of Austin and the North American Breeding Bird Survey, participates in as many Christmas Bird Counts as possible, and regularly leads birding field trips. She is active in the Travis Audubon Commons Ford Prairie Committee and the Purple Martin Committee. She is Past President of both Travis Audubon and Texas Ornithological Society. See, she truly is obsessed with all things birds!

The tuition for the class is $100 for Travis Audubon members and $120 for non-members. The limit for the class is 15, so register now! If you have any questions, contact Shelia Hargis at or 512-294-0272.


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.