Practical ornithology courses
Training beginner birdwatchers in the Czech Republic
A Rocha Czech and the Czech Society for Ornithology run three week-long courses to train aspiring ornithologists. The aim is to provide participants with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to equip them for bird research and monitoring, particularly around Orlické Zahoří. The third course was held from 25–29 June 2016, attended by 20 birdwatchers aged 12-56.
The course is based at Orlické Zahoří, a Special Protection Area with a variety of bird-rich habitats including scrub, river, wet meadow and woodland. Participants can expect to see about 80 species including River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis and Wryneck Jynx torquilla (left).
Providing skills for research and monitoring
The course is run by experienced ornithologists, including ringers. Participants see birds in the hand, such as this Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus. Lectures cover topics such as migration, monitoring methods, local research, choosing binoculars and identification tips.
Meeting the desire for knowledge
One of the lecturers, Luděk Petrilák, reported, ‘The curiosity and enthusiasm was amazing. During a talk I gave about migration, the extreme conditions that can occur and how birds can digest their own muscles, a 12-year-old girl asked me to elaborate. There were so many questions!’
Asked to report on what they appreciated most, participants highlighted the excitement of seeing songbirds, woodpeckers and raptors in the hand. ‘Catching Corncrakes at night was amazing,’ said Darina Kabrhelová, ‘and I made new friends with the same enthusiasm for birds.’