Music of the Birdsong


Program Start Date:


SINGLE DAY COURSE: Learn to recognize bird calls with the help of a professional classical musician.

(Summer Activity Level)

Music of the Birdsong

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Music of Birdsong
Alyssa Roggow
July 9 at 7 a.m.

Boost your bird identification skills by learning to recognize bird calls! With the help of a professional classical musician, you will identify musical features of bird songs through hands-on activities, live and recorded musical examples, and plenty of time in the field listening to birds. By the end of the class, sonograms in bird guides will no longer be mysterious, and you might even learn a thing or two about human music along the way. Think you’re tone deaf? Never fear! If you can tell the difference between a trumpet and a train whistle, you will do just fine. No pre-existing musical talent is required!

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

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

We will meet at Field Camp at 7 a.m. for coffee and introductions. The classroom portion will begin with ear training, where we will go over different types of ornamentation and have students identify them in musical examples. We will learn about pitch and notable pasues, and how we can physically trace these contour lines onto paper. This portion of the class will be very interactive and involve several demonstrations and musical excerpts to really hone in students’ listening abilities. For the second portion of the course, we will combine our musical listening skills with our knowledge of birdsongs. We will listen to a wide variety of bird songs and link them to the corresponding type of bird. Once students are confident in their birdsong knowledge, we will combine the musical and birding lessons we have learned and take them to the field! After enjoying a trail lunch, we will meander along while listening to the multitude of birdsongs in Glacier National Park, taking note of their pitch and pauses. By observing the musical notes and features of each song, students will be able to differentiate between species’ songs and identify the type of bird, which will equip students to recognize and recall birdsongs in the future. After wrapping up the lessons we have learned, and perhaps a musical show by our instructor, the course will conclude at 4 p.m.

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, snacks, and plenty of water for the day.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry 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. Bring along your favorite bird identification guides, and binoculars if you have them. A notebook may be helpful for jotting down field notes on birdsongs.

Physical Requirements: Very little difficulty. We will slowly stroll along well packed trails, covering a maximum of 2 miles with less than 200 feet of elevation changes. We will take our time and stop frequently to be still and listen for birdsongs.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credit and FVCC and UM 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.


Enrollment in your Glacier Institute course acts as your Going-to-the-Sun Road Ticket. The Glacier Park Pass is separate and will still be needed. This could be purchased online at:

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