Sorry, the 2024 Master Birder Program is full and no longer accepting applications!

Designed for advanced birders, enrollment in the Master Birder Program is limited to 20 ambitious students and consists of 11 classes and 11 field trips scheduled from February through December 2024. Classroom meetings will take place once a month at the Academy starting Wednesday, February 7, with subsequent field trips scheduled monthly to help reinforce material covered in class and expose students to the breadth of birds that occur in the Bay Area.

Prior to taking the course, prospective students are expected to be able to identify California birds at an “intermediate level” (100+ species by sight and 25+ species by sound).

To successfully complete the course, students must commit to volunteer at least 100 hours with a Master Birder-designated organization (Golden Gate Bird Alliance, the Academy, and a long list of other Bay Area birding or environmental organizations) over a two-year period, and participate in at least 70% of the classes and field trips.

Upon completion of the course, graduates will have developed a field notebook documenting sightings of over 200 bird species, will know how to identify the more difficult bird species, will learn about avian physiology, behavior and taxonomy, and will develop an understanding of avian habitats and bird communities. Graduates will have participated in over 20 organized field trips, developed a backyard (local patch) list, and will have made a 10-minute presentation to the class on an avian topic of their choosing. Other details of the course will be presented to interested candidates.

Course tuition is $1,120; members of the Academy or GGBA pay a discounted rate of $895.

Classes meet 6:30-9 pm on a Wednesday of every month from February 7 through December 4. Field trips are generally scheduled on the Saturday following each class.

Once this course is full, you may sign up to be on a waiting list.

A minimum of 15 students will need to register in order for this course to take place.

Ornithology and Mammalogy at the Academy

O&M collections include 135,000 bird and mammal specimens from more than 120 countries. Meet the researchers, explore projects and expeditions, and more.