Field Ornithology

Course Dates

Exact dates TBD - anticipated late May start date


One semester of college-level biology or equivalent; background in ornithology or vertebrate biology is recommended, but not required.

Equivalent Note

Cornell students: Biology & Society majors, this course fulfills the (II) Foundation Courses > (C) Biology Foundation > Biological Diversity requirement.
ALL STUDENTS: See the Financial Support & Scholarships page for details about a course-specific award which can be applied towards the cost of enrolling in Field Ornithology and other select SML courses for summer 2024.
CORNELL STUDENTS: There is an additional need-based scholarship available for Cornell students enrolling in Field Ornithology.

Course Description

Explore the diverse and abundant seabirds and migratory songbirds of the Isles of Shoals as you gain an understanding of avian ecology, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Students share the island with nesting Common Eiders, Herring Gulls, and Great Black-backed Gulls. Compile a species list during the course of some 100+ different species often observed during the 2 week course! Field techniques include field identification, bird banding, and various census methods. Students will spend time each day at the Appledore Island Migration Banding Station and visit the Tern Conservation Program on White & Seavey Islands.

Students taking this course will:

  • Be able to identify songbirds and seabirds living and migrating through the Isles of Shoals;
  • Learn common ornithological field methods (e.g., bird banding, point counts, nest monitoring, etc.);
  • Understand the conservation challenges facing bird populations

Internship opportunities: This course is recommended experience for SML's Seabirds Internship and Gull Population Biology Internship.

"I was fascinated by birds from an extremely young age, but unable to adequately pursue my passion until I took this class...I have never been so excited to step onto an island in my life, nor so unhappy to leave one. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." - Emily Waldman (SML' 15, Cornell '16)



Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 3740 (3 Credits)

UNH: MEFB 510 (4 Credits)

Sample Syllabus

Tuition & Fees

Financial Support

Additional Resources