Birds of Stanly County and Beyond!

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Class Description:

This course begins on the third-to-last Friday in April and ends on the second Saturday in May. Lecture will be Fridays 6:00PM-7:30PM at the Stanly County Family YMCA. Practicum will be on Saturdays 9:00AM-11:00AM at the following field sites: SCC's Albemarle Campus (1st Saturday), a city park to be determined or Juneberry Ridge (2nd Saturday), City Lake Park (3rd Saturday), Morrow Mountain State Park (4th Saturday), and from 9:00AM-1:00PM on the final class meeting at Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge (5th Saturday). The order of field labs may change and one Saturday lab class may be replaced with a visit to a bird banding station in Southwest Randolph County run by John Gerwin from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, if scheduling permits. If a student must miss a weekend or two of classes, that is fine; however, if you know that you will miss three weekends, please wait until next year to take the course so others can do so this year.

This course teaches an introduction to basic bird identification, anatomy, behavior, and ecology as applied to species resident in and/or migratory through Stanly County and surrounding areas. The course will emphasize the importance of taking field notes in learning how to identify birds. Lab sessions will take place outside on Stanly Community College's campus, as well as at nearby city, state, and national parks, et al. As such, participants must be prepared to study in "The Great Outdoors" under a wide range of weather conditions. The final course activity will be class participation in the Global Big Day ( as part of celebrating World Migratory Bird Day ( on the second Saturday in May. Ten students are needed for the class to run.


Supplies or Other Requirements:

  • Driver's License and/or ability to carpool to field sites. 


  • Sibley's Birding Basics: How to Identify Birds, Using the Clues in Feathers, Habitats, Behaviors, and Sounds, by David Allen Sibley (ISBN-13: 978-0375709661)
  • Birds of the Carolinas Field Guide and Audio CD Set (2nd edition preferred), by Stan Tekiela, or or another field guide to birds of the area.
  • A pair of binoculars; preferably with 7-8x magnification and 35-42mm objective lenses.


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Contact Bryan Sharp if you have questions: or at 704-991-0309

Mr. Sharp has over 25 years of experience as an ornithologist, including academic field research, bird-banding, sequencing DNA, organizing museum collections, leading bird walks for the public, reviewing reports of bird observations to eBird for the state of Durango, Mexico and organizing the Christmas Bird Count for that same state. He is very excited to offer this class here in Stanly County, which is full of relatively undiscovered birding hotspots!