Thursday, November 15, 2007

Branching out

red shouldered in the yard

I've been kicking around an idea, and I would appreciate some input.

Subject: What kind of information would you like from a raptor ID workshop?

  • What are the species that confuse you the most?
  • Would you like the focus to be more on flight silhouettes than plumage, or equal parts?
  • Are there any mnemonic devices you use to figure out what bird of prey you are seeing?
  • What would draw you in, to sign up for such a workshop?
  • How long would you like it to be, to feel that you are getting your money's worth?
  • If it was say, 90 minutes, what would you feel was a fair fee?
  • Would you like to be tested afterwards, to see what you learned?
  • I have never used PowerPoint, but I think that's the way to go. Anyone familiar with PowerPoint? Is it easy to learn?
I'm asking for a lot here, but if I can't get help from my peeps, who can I turn to?
I bet you can guess what I am planning.

By the way:
I have a new doo-hinky on my side bar. BirdJam is the newest way to puzzle out all the songs you hear while birding. Have an iPod? Grab the software and upload 650 unique species from both the East and West US. You don't have an iPod? Buy one from BirdJam and they will load it for you and send it to you!
If this is something you have been thinking about, or suddenly seems like a great idea, please click on the image of the BirdJam on the sidebar. Your purchases will help support my blog!

EDIT: My ever-so-critical husband thinks that it sounds like I am hitting folks up for money through online raptor ID workshops. NO. I am thinking about doing in-person workshops around here for our local birders. So rest assured that I am only looking for input.


Mary said...

Well you know me, Susan. I am eternally confused but you have helped me a great deal. What I'd love in a workshop?

I wanna wear one of those gloves and HOLD THE BIRD. Tee-Hee! No test! Offering checklists and a copy of your power point would be good. No clue on fees.

PowerPoint is easy - I taught myself. You will be addicted to the program.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Susan,
If you can make any of the other Microsoft software do what you want it to, you shouldn't have any problems with PowerPoint. It's pretty intuitive and most of the commands are the same. Once you get the basics down, you will be amazed at all of the other cool visual effects and sounds you'll be able to incorporate into your presentation.

dguzman said...

I dig the flight silhouettes, as well as plumage markings. Probably equal parts. I would be drawn in just by the fact that it's an in-person workshop by a RAPTOR person.

Wow, 90 minutes seems kinda long--I'd probably expect at least an hour, however. And like Mary, I wanna hold the bird!!! (hee hee) As for fee--hmm. I don't know! I mean, maybe 10-20 bucks? I know I'd pay that, but it seems like too little for the instructor. I don't know!

And yes, powerpoint is easy on both Mac and PC.

Good luck!

nina said...

Sounds like a nice idea--and very likely something people would benefit from.
Maybe I'm a cheapie--but I'd probably balk at much of a fee.
I generally prefer to sponsor events that benefit organizations I support (and there are many) rather than an individual. But that's just me.

Donate a portion to a non-profit?

Susan said...

Well, since it's unlikely that you'll be coming to Cape Cod to teach a session, I guess I won't say that I'd love some mnemonics for recognizing and differentiating between Cooper's, Sharp-Shinned, and Red Tailed in flight. And that I'd want to get up close and be able to get some good photos. No, I won't say that at all.

What I will say is this: if you're going to use PowerPoint, I will be glad to help you with it--it's easy to learn, but it's also easy to create a disastrously bad presentation--that's why there are professionals like me who design them for a living. I'll give advice, if that's what you want; or I'll create the whole thing for you based on your content and graphics; or I'll clean up a presentation that someone else helped you with; or whatever. All for free. You can email me at, or contact