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Spring Training for Birders: Improve Your Identification Skills

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Road Scholar
Program #9056RJ
4 Days | 3 Nights
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Robert from Wakefield, MA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/27/14 - 04/30/14
This was my first of what I hope will be many Road Scholar programs. The organizers put in a tremendous effort to make sure that everything went smoothly and the expert birders were patient and eager to share their extensive knowledge of the bird world. I am amazed at how many bird songs, calls, etc., they could recognize; it must be in the thousands! An additional bonus was meeting so many fellow participants with diverse backgrounds but who had similar interests in addition to birding. I am looking forward to my next Road Scholar trip.

J. from Bowling Green, KY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/27/14 - 04/30/14
This program was great and I would recommend it to anyone.

Ron from Louisville, KY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 04/27/14 - 04/30/14
Birding program is a "wow", held in a wonderful part of the country, the West Virginia New River Gorge.

Toby from Charlemont, MA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/27/14 - 04/30/14
You can't ask for much more in a program about bird-watching. The instructors were experts in their fields, entertaining and helpful to all participants. One of the best RS programs!

James from Springfield, OH Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/01/13
. Hawks Nest State Park and the New River Gorge area were an ideal spot to see warblers, and at the time of year when they were boldly singing and staking claim to their nesting territory, so they were much more visible than I had ever seen before. . This program was very well-organized and smoothly run, thanks to the great work by our host/coordinator, Linda Nielsen. Also, because it took place at the same time as the New River Gorge Birding Festival we were blessed with exceptionally high-level leaders. . The accomodations at the State Park Lodge were very comfortable, good food, nice facilities for relaxing and the view from our balcony was spectacular. . Between 6 & 7 a.m. we gathered on a patio just outside the lodge and saw a scarlet tanager, brightly illuminated by the rising sun, singing his heart out in the tree tops, as well as several other birds which were on my "wish list". . We had a great experience with this program and would recommend it to everyone.

Ruth from Raleigh, NC Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/01/13
In terms of content, this was one of the best Road Scholar programs I've attended. It was just as described: an opportunity to learn more about birding techniques through a mixture of workshops and hands-on birding practice. The program dovetailed with the New River Birding and Nature Festival, so our instructors were world-class birders and well-published authors in the field. The hotel on the edge of the Gorge gave us spectacular views (even saw an eagle fly past the dining room window). The hotel staff went out of their way to provide for our comfort and accommodate our special requests (like ice cream for my cherry pie) and the food was good and plentiful. I can't say enough great things about our coordinator who worked hard to anticipate all our needs. I hope this program is scheduled again next year, because I'll be there!

Kathleen from Chardon, OH Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/01/13
Great trip. Loved every minute of it.

Grant from Pittsburgh, PA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/01/13
I didn't really know what to expect from this program, but I found it to be very interesting and an activity that I'm likely to pursue on my own. I believe others also enjoyed it; one woman was there for her third straight year! Participants were a mix of birding knowledge levels, from those who knew quite a bit about birding to quite a few (like me) who knew almost nothing. It seemed to work for all levels. The program is really what it says, training (first time or a refresher) for birders. Participants learned how to bird by lectures on related topics, by small group field walks with experienced guides (with great listening devices so all could hear the guide), and by field demonstrations. The field walks provided a glimpse of how experienced birders (primarily the guides but also a few of the participants) located and identified birds. I saw at least 38 different bird species in the field, plus the five large raptors (full-grown eagle!) brought in for one of the lectures. The lodge was located in the midst of birding territory and some of the best viewing was from the side patio of the lodge and from the lodge parking lot. A lot of the best viewing was early in the morning, so if this part is important to you be prepared to arise early! The half-day field demonstration of bird netting and banding was excellent. A chance to see birds up close (in your or someone else's hand). This provides a chance to see real details of the birds, something that is otherwise nearly impossible. The presentations were uniformly interesting and informative: choosing binoculars and other equipment, how to approach bird identification, etc. The accommodations and food were totally acceptable but not luxurious. The focus was, as it should have been, on the program. Highly recommended if you have any interest in birds.

James from Boone, NC Number of programs attended: 0
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/01/13
This was the first Road Scholar program in which I have participated, and I must say that I was somewhat disappointed. I have been trying to learn about birding for several years (ever since I retired about four years ago), and I had hoped that this program would add to my knowledge as well as help identify new birds that I had not previously seen. The presenters for the most part were good, but, until the last morning, there was little opportunity to get out and actually "do" birding. That was very disappointing to me. The other downside of this program was its location. It was primarily centered at Hawks Nest State Park in West Virginia. This is a very nice facility (motel like accommodations), but the dining facility leaves a lot to be desired. To my great delight, the last morning (Wednesday), the program shifted to O'Possum Creek Retreat, which is a wonderful place. Its location, in the middle of a forest, yet with open fields within an easy walk, is ideal for birding. The caterer, who provided the food, was superb - the food (both breakfast and lunch) was out of this world. I would have gladly given up the motel accommodations of the Lodge at Hawks Nest State Park for the dormitory style accommodations at the Retreat to have stayed there and been able to do more quality birding. It appeared that almost all of the presenters were staying at the Retreat, so the program would have been of equal value (but in a very much better location).

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"a close look at a hooded warbler" Uploaded By: James
"a close look at a hooded warbler" Uploaded By: James

"warbler-neck can be a pain" Uploaded By: James

"fun outing in the New River gorge on a jet-boat" Uploaded By: James

"the VIEW from our room at the lodge." Uploaded By: James

"only a very few experts are certified to band hummingbirds!" Uploaded By: James

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
3 nights of accommodations
9 meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
7 Expert-led lectures
3 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences


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