Birding by Ear

Birding by Ear


Program Start Date:


2 DAY COURSE Glacier National Park has a diverse and stunning bird habitat. Join us for two days in nature learning about both common and uncommon birds of Glacier.

(Summer Activity Level)

Birding by Ear

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Birding by Ear
Instructor: Denny Olson
June 5 at 7 p.m. – June 6 at 3 p.m.

Glacier National Park comprises more than 1 million acres of diverse and stunning bird habitat. Encounter both common and uncommon bird species that thrive in and around the park on an adventure led by expert birder Denny Olson, who possesses an intimate knowledge of Glacier’s unending hideaways. Enjoy two days in nature as you hike through the wilderness and into the habitats of both eastern and western watershed bird species, while sharing the knowledge with your expert leader about the intricate avian ecology of these pristine natural areas.

Meeting place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.

Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather)

Day 1: In the evening, Denny will introduce the basics of birding, common birds of Glacier and the habitats in which we will be birding. Afterwards, join us for a campfire and s’mores before retiring for our early wake-up the next day.

Day 2: We will conduct an exploration of bird songs before dawn by visiting a burned forest. After regrouping at Field Camp for a snack, we will return to the field at 8:30 a.m., heading for Johns Lake fen, Avalanche Cedars (old growth birds) and the McDonald Creek cascades to search for (with our ears) wet meadow and pond birds, thrushes, Water Ouzels, Harlequin ducks, vireos, and Pacific wrens. We will return to Field Camp for lunch and wrap up with a final discussion and review of species that we heard. The course will finish around 3 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.

Food: The following meals are included: breakfast and lunch on Day 2.

Accommodations: 1 night of lodging are included into the course fee. Our student cabins are basic, hostel-style cabins with 5 single beds, bedside lights, and electrical outlets.  Students should be prepared to share a cabin with up to 4 other people, cabins are separated by gender. Couples may be paired up in the event there is ample space. We provide a bottom sheet for your bed as well as a pillow and pillow case, but please bring a warm sleeping bag.  Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for night trips to the bathroom. The community bathhouse has flush toilets, sinks, and hot showers.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entrance passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at:  

Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, snacks, water bottle at least 1-2 liters, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied, especially in the spring and fall, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, with extra layers. Binoculars are very useful, as well as bird field guides.

Physical Requirements: Moderate difficulty. We will be hiking to various sites at an easy pace, stopping frequently to listen for and identify bird songs and the birds that create them. The hiking may be on or off trail in brushy and marshy areas, up to 3 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation change.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credit for our courses.


Additional information

Refund Policy

The Glacier Institute has a 24 hour cancellation policy for a full refund with all of our courses.

Did you know Glacier Institute members receive a 10% discount?