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Birdlife South Africa logoFLIGHT FOR BIRDERS is a bird identification course for novice and intermediate bird-watchers. It will be held in KNYSNA/SEDGEFIELD on 23 and 24 May 2013.

The “Flight for Birders” bird identification and conservation course by Anton Odendal will be presented in the Knysna area on 23 and 24 May 2013. The costs include the course manual and a certificate endorsed by BirdLife South Africa – roughly 1,600 slides and drawings will be used.

The contents of the course get updated every second year and this has now been done – in many cases images of similar and potentially confusing species have been combined on the same slide in order to illustrate differences. The development of an infrastructure for birding tourists in local areas will also be highlighted. In the vast majority of the slides English and Afrikaans names of species are printed onto the slide.

The course focuses on basic steps in the identification of birds, places heavy emphasis on where to find the rare and often endemic birds in southern Africa and illustrates how ordinary bird-watchers could become involved in the conservation of birds and their habitats.



  • One of the bird guide books (Newman’s, SASOL or Robert’s), preferably one that you are prepared to make notes in to illustrate key identification features of species
  • Notebook and pen
  • Binoculars
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Lunch picnic basket

Coffee and tea will be provided.

DAY 1: Thursday 23 May 2013

(Kindly note that short breaks will be taken on the hour)

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08h30 to 09h00: Registration

09h00 to 10h00: The basic approach to Flight for Birders and what to look for when trying to identify a bird

10h00 to 10h15: Tea

10h15 to 11h15: The identification of garden birds

11h15 to 12h30: An introduction to the identification of some difficult groups: Little Brown Jobs

12h30 to 13h00: Lunch

13h00 to 13h30: The identification of garden birds: A special talk on how to attract birds to one’s garden will be included here.

13h30 to 14h00: A special section on some of the brood parasites of southern Africa and their host species: Cuckoos, whydahs, honeyguides and indigo birds.

14h00 to 14h30: How to prepare when visiting a new birding area: Birding in the Kruger National Park as a brief case-study.

14h30 to 15h30: Typical birds found along the highways and byways: Focus on Chats, Bustards and gamebirds.

15h30 to 16h00: An overview of some threatened birds in Southern Africa: what are conservation agencies trying to do about the problem through conservation programs and how can ordinary birders help?

1. The work of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust

2. BLSA’s Albatross Task Force

3. The impact of pelicans on breeding cormorants on Jutten Island.

DAY 2: Friday 24 May 2013

08h00 to 09h00: Practical outing in small groups applying the principles taught.

09h00 to 10h15: The identification of raptors and birds of prey.

10h15 to 10h30: Tea

10h30 to 11h00: The identification of raptors and birds of prey (continued).

11h00 to 11h45: A special focus on the Owls of southern Africa.

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11h45 to 12h30: The identification of the fairly common water birds of southern Africa.

12h30 to 13h00: Lunch.

13h00 to 13h30: The identification of the fairly common water birds of southern Africa (continued).

13h30 to 14h00: The identification of the seabirds and coastal birds of southern Africa.

14h00 to 15h00: Concluding integration: a focus on birds and birding tourism – the critical role that the Garden Route in general and the Knysna region in particular could play in this regard.

15h00 to 15h30: The 101 species in southern Africa that every avid birder needs to be able to identify – how to distinguish between the various families of birds. (An open-ended participatory discussion on photographs of the most common birds representing different families of birds).

15h30+: Presentation of certificates.


  • DATES: 23 and 24 May 2013
  • VENUE: To be confirmed
  • COSTS: R 450-00, that include the course manual and certificate.
  • TO REGISTER AND SECURE YOUR PLACE: contact Elaine at mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402. All further queries could also be forwarded to Elaine.

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