Role of Birds on Farms Course - Overview

American kestrel with rodent. Photo by Jon Cox. Tree swallow in nest box. Western bluebird with young at nest box and foraging barn owl. Photos by Michael Bolte.

This page provides resources for participants in the Role of Birds on Farms Course. If you need to register to participate live in this course, please visit: Register_Button.png

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.

This FREE 5-track course, made up of 10 online classes, builds your knowledge base on how farms can be designed with bird pest management services in mind. Each class features short presentations with 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.

General Resources



WFA Publications



Click on the lesson title to visit page for lesson-specific details and resources.

Track 1. Introduction: Birds as Pest Control Allies

Lesson_1_Button.png - Beneficial Birds Have Saved Farmers Money for a Long Time

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

Lesson_2_Button.png - 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

Lesson_3_Button.png - Insect-Eating Birds Supported by Nest Boxes and Buildings

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

Continued Education Credits/Units Approved:


Lesson_4_Button.png - Rodent-Eating Birds Supported by Nest Boxes and Perches

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

Continued Education Credits/Units Approved:


Track 3. Managing and Co-Existing with Birds

Lesson_5_Button.png - Managing Pest Birds

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

Continued Education Credits/Units Approved:


Lesson_6_Button.png - Co-Existing and Making Farms Safe for Birds

Presenters: Dr. Olivia Smith - Michigan State University, Rachael Long - UCANR & Jo Ann Baumgartner - WFA

Track 4: Designing a Farm to Be Bird Friendly

Lesson_7_Button.png - Making the Most of Birds’ Diet and Foraging Strategies

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

Continued Education Credits/Units Approved:


Lesson_8_Button.png - 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

Lesson_9_Button.png - Seeing the Land Through the Eyes of Birds

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

Lesson_10_Button.png - 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.