BIOS 337 Course Syllabus

Field Bird Biology Lab, BIOS 337 (1 credit)

Pre-requisites: BIOS 211, 213, or permission of the instructor


Course Description:

The Houston area and the Texas coast offer some of the greatest avian diversity in the world. This course will take advantage of this diversity by introducing students to birds, teaching them how to observe and monitor birds, with an introduction to avian ecology, behavior and conservation. The course will be centered on field trips and student projects.

Course Material:

  • Bird book: Sibley’s on Eastern N. America is good, but others are all right too like the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America: Revised and Updated (Paperback), Jon L. Dunn
  • Binoculars (you must buy good waterproof binoculars)more info
  • Field Notebook and checklist (to be discussed at second class period)
  • Much of the visual aids for the lectures will come from, a grassroots website and photograph archive that Professor Lee helped to start and maintain

Some Good Websites:

Requirements and Grading:

Attendance at all 4 field trips is firmly required. Do not be late. We will leave without you and you will have to drop the course. Grades will be based on attitude and participation (15%), 3 blog style entries on 3 different birds (more information later) (45%) and four bird identification quizzes (40%)

We will meet 3 Fridays at 3:30 pm for an hour and a half in 130D:

We will have 4 field trips:

More information on the blog entries will be forthcoming.
Bird blog due dates are midnight 7 February, 23 March, and 6 April. No late work

Spring 2011 Course Schedule

January 14 - 3:30PM Lecture - Introduction to birds
What is a bird? - Queller
Form and function. Evolutionary history.
Survey of bird orders around the world
January 21 - 3:30PM Lecture -  Introduction to basic field identification skills. - Lee
How to take field notes including identification, counts, behavior
Identification of waterbirds (example of PowerPoint)

January 28 - 3:30PM Lecture - Bird behavior - Strassmann
Group interactions and vigilance on winter grounds
Mating systems
Parent offspring behavior

January 30 Field Trip 1.  Introduction to birds. Location: Brazos Bend State Park

March 18-20 Field Trip 2 - Overnight Trip - Lost Maples State Park (bring your own tent, sleeping bag, flashlight and eating utensils- more detail to follow)
April 3 Field Trip 3 - Water birds of the upper Texas coast. Location: Brazoria Wildlife Refuge
April 18 Field Trip 4 - Spring migration , High Island, Anahuac NWR