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Birding Basics: Fall Migration

  • Camp Discovery 208 Claude Bundrick Road Blythewood, SC (map)

This class is currently full.  Add yourself to the waiting list below to be notified if any space becomes available.  

Summer Tanager, Photo from

Summer Tanager, Photo from

Join us for this beginning birding workshop to learn to identify resident and migratory birds, with a special focus on the differences between spring and fall plumage of some of the migrating warbler species, as well as other species like summer and scarlet tanagers. Early October is the peak of fall migration, so many non-resident species will be moving through the Midlands.  

We'll have side by side photo comparisons to help you learn to differentiate species that are commonly confused.   We will discuss what to look for in the field to help make a positive ID, and ways to try and attract these birds to your yards, and in turn, help them on their way to their wintering grounds as they migrate. We will also discuss what habitats will likely attract certain species, where the birds are going, what they need to get there, and what they're feeding on.

Chestnut-sided warbler, nonbreeding male.  Photo from Merlin App.

Chestnut-sided warbler, nonbreeding male.  Photo from Merlin App.

Birds we may see which have a drastic spring/fall plumage change include: chestnut sided warbler, magnolia warbler, blackburnian warbler, summer and scarlet tanager. Thrushes we may see on the way to their wintering grounds are: wood thrush, swainsons thrush, and gray-cheeked thrush.

212 species of birds have been reported to E-bird during fall migration in previous years in Richland County - click here for a list.

Where:  Class will be held at Camp Discovery in Blythewood, SC.  This location includes a good diversity of habitat including mixed hardwood forest, open meadows with natural edges, and enhanced garden areas.  There are several lodging options in Blythewood for those traveling from out of town.

When:  Thursday, October 4th, 8:00am - 1:00pm

Who: This training is open to the public. No prior knowledge is required. Minimum age is 16.  This training will count for one day toward Palmetto Pro Birder certification (8 days needed total).  For SC Master Naturalists, this event can count as Advanced Training and towards your statewide certification if you need a Sandhills component. Lunch will last thirty minutes, so depending on when we finish, this class will count for approximately 4.5 hours of training. If you are not a Pro Birder or Master Naturalist, just come have fun with us. Participants will also receive contact info of other participants to allow for carpooling to the class.

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This class will be led by Jay Keck, SCWF Habitat Education Manager.  Jay has been a passionate nature and bird lover since his early teens. He lives in Chapin, SC with his wife and two boys, and has identified 95 bird species in his yard in three years, as well as 160 species in Lexington county since moving back in September of 2013. He has viewed birds in Spain, Chile, Honduras, and Costa Rica, as well as many areas in SC from the mountains to the coast.  Being inspired by SCWF's mission, he earned his Palmetto Pro Birder certification, and has led bird walks for SCWF as well as Saluda Shoals park, Columbia Audubon, and private organizations.  Even when he is golfing, hunting, or fishing, he is secretly birding.  At SCWF, Jay coordinates the Gardening for Wildlife programs and the Wildlife And Industry Together (WAIT) program as well as leading birding classes for the Palmetto Pro Birder & Midlands Master Naturalist programs. 

To ensure a quality experience for all, space is strictly limited to 20 participants.  Classes fill quickly, register today!  After registration, you will receive an email with lodging recommendations, directions, and any other details pertinent to the class.

Other Important Notes:

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•    If available, please bring binoculars & your favorite field guide to Eastern birds.

•    Restrooms are available at Camp Discovery.  Pink and blue bushes are along the trail…

•    Participants should bring a bag lunch, water and be prepared for a day in the field. 

•    There is no rain date for this event. We will make every effort to hold it, even in a few rain showers.  If it looks like a deluge, we'll notify you of cancellation and refund your money.

•    After registering, you will receive important correspondence via email.  If you change your email between now and then, make sure to notify us.

Cost: The cost is $40.00 per person and limited to the first 20 people that register.     

IMPORTANT: Participants should be in good physical shape. Birding involves alot of standing, and we may cover some distance in our field work.



This class is currently full.  Add yourself to the waiting list below to be notified if any space becomes available.  

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Questions?  Please contact Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education.

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Earlier Event: September 28
Women's Outdoor Retreat 2018
Later Event: October 16
Wildlife of the ACE Basin