Online Course for Ag Professionals and Farmers on How to Support Birds

Course Description

This virtual course teaches agricultural professionals and farmers how to support beneficial birds and manage pest birds on farms. By learning how to assess the farm’s avian needs and opportunities, farms can be designed to provide for a diversity of beneficial birds. If pest birds are a problem, they can be discouraged with specific practices during the shorter periods when they cause damage. The sessions cover the latest research, tools and resources, and are given by experts in avian pest control, entomology, ornithology and conservation.

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Course Lessons

This FREE 5-track course, made up of 10 online classes, is designed for agricultural professionals who work with farmers and farmers themselves. One or all of the hour-long classes can be viewed live, or watched later, to build your knowledge base on how farms can be designed with bird pest management services in mind. Each class will feature short presentations with plenty of time for discussion and interaction with peers.

Continued Education units/credits requested for live courses from: California (DPR), Oregon (ODA), and Washington (WSDA). As lessons are approved, a check mark and the state(s) giving credit will be placed next to the title. If interested in receiving credit for participating, please contact Brian for more information.

Schedule and Topics

The course begins in March and continues monthly until July. Participants are encouraged to take part in a single class or all 10. Topics will build upon each other from one class to the next yet participation is not required in every class.

All hour-long classes start at 11:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, unless noted otherwise.


Please click on the lessons below for more information and to register for each class separately.

To view recordings of past lessons, click here.


Track 1. Introduction: Birds as Pest Control Allies

(Completed) 3/14/22 Lesson 1 - Beneficial Birds Have Saved Farmers Money for a Long Time

Presenters: Dr. Sara Kross - Columbia University &  Jo Ann Baumgartner - WFA


(Completed) 3/30/22 Lesson 2 - How Many and What Kind of Pests Do Birds Eat

Presenters: Dr. Elissa Olimpi - Virginia Tech & Jo Ann Baumgartner - WFA


Track 2. Nest Boxes/Other Structures and the Birds that Use Them

(Completed) 4/11/22 Lesson 3 - Insect-Eating Birds Supported by Nest Boxes and Buildings

Presenters: Robyn Bailey - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology & Dr. Melanie Truan - UC Davis


(Completed) 4/27/22 Lesson 4 - Rodent-Eating Birds Supported by Nest Boxes and Perches

Presenters: Dr. Matt Johnson - Cal Poly Humboldt & Breanna Martinico - UC Davis


Track 3. Managing and Co-Existing with Birds

(Completed) 5/9/22 Lesson 5 - Managing Pest Birds

Presenters: Dr. Page Klug - USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services & Dr. Catherine Lindell - Michigan State University


(Completed) 5/25/22 Lesson 6 - Co-Existing With Birds and Making Farms Safe

Presenters: Dr. Olivia Smith - Michigan State University & Rachael Long - UCANR


Track 4: Designing a Farm to Be Bird Friendly

(Completed) 6/13/22 Lesson 7 - Making the Most of Birds’ Diet and Foraging Strategies

Presenters: Wendell Gilgert - NRCS and Point Blue (Emeritus) & Jo Ann Baumgartner - WFA


(Completed) 6/29/22 Lesson 8 - Farmscape and Landscape Features

Presenters: Dr. Megan Garfinkel - University of Illinois at Chicago & Dr. Daniel Karp - UC Davis


Track 5: Seeing Land Through the Eyes of Birds

(Completed) 7/11/22 Lesson 9 - Seeing the Land Through the Eyes of Birds

Presenters: Dr. Ashley Kennedy - Delaware DNR & Wendell Gilgert - NRCS and Point Blue (Emeritus)


(Completed) 7/27/22 Lesson 10 - Prioritizing What Birds Prefer

Presenters: Sam Earnshaw - Hedgerows Unlimited, Brian Fagundes Cal Poly Humboldt/WFA & Jo Ann Baumgartner - WFA


This project is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2020-38640-31523 through the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under project number G206-22-W8617. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the organization and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.