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Understanding birds will explore all aspects of birds – origins, ongoing evolution, structure, behaviour, ecology and conservation issues – with an emphasis on Australian and local species. No prior knowledge required. Includes two field trips to identify and discuss local species.

Course outline

Topics covered include

1 - The Definition of a Bird; bird ancestors and evolution

  • Definition
  • Ancestors
  • Evolution of the Australian Avifanua

2 - Bird–watching Techniques and Tools

  • Field Guides
  • Reference Books and Tapes
  • Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Techniques

3 - Basic Adaptations

  • Understanding flight
  • Maximum Size – mechanics
  • Minimum Size – temperature control
  • Feathers
  • Skeleton and Musculature
  • Wing Shape
  • Respiration and Circulation
  • Digestive Tract and Feeding; Excretion
  • Reproduction, Nests and Eggs (to 78/2)
  • Senses and Vocalisations
  • Swimming
  • The Flightless Option

4 - Australian Bioregions and Habitats

  • Bioregions
  • Habitats

5 - Bird Ecology and Behaviour

  • Community and Population Ecology
  • Migration and Nomadism
  • Territory
  • Flocks
  • Colony
  • Reproductive Strategies
  • Courtship
  • Feeding Strategies
  • Climate Change and Birds

6 - Brief Introduction to Taxonomy 

7 - The Australian Bird Fauna – an outline

  •  Considers all the Australian bird families in order, with mention of, and some detail about, all local species.

Course dates

7 Tuesday evenings: 19 October - 30 November

2 Field trips: 8am - 11am, Saturday 27 November & 4 December

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who would like to discover more about birds.

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