Seabird ID (2 sessions, Tuesdays 10am)

Gannet resting on a rock
Nick Moran, Kate Fox, Jen Donelan
Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - 10:00 to Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 10:00
Fully booked

Learn how to recognise our internationally important breeding seabirds.

This course involves two weekly online sessions of 100 minutes, with a trainer:participant ratio of about 1:30. Participants' microphones are muted during the sessions but there is a large interactive component, using chat messaging, polls and non-verbal signals to your webcam. The live sessions are complemented by supported self-study exercises which participants are encouraged to complete between the sessions. We place a strong emphasis on providing tools and techniques that will help you to continue your learning after the course.

The training will be run by BTO staff Nick Moran, Kate Fox and Jenny Donelan, all experienced birdwatchers, surveyors and trainers.

In order to participate you will need broadband of sufficient speed to view live video, and a computer with sound and ideally a webcam, or a tablet.

The two sessions will cover the following:

SESSION 1: Auks and larger seabirds
Tuesday 13 June, 10:00-11:45am

This session will start with a close look at Guillemot and Razorbill, covering identification of adults in breeding and non-breeding plumages. Next, we’ll introduce some larger seabirds: Gannet, Cormorant, Shag and the larger gulls: Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull. 

SESSION 2: Terns and smaller gulls
Tuesday 20 June, 10:00-11:45am

After reviewing the homework activities, we will look at the smaller gulls: Kittiwake, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull and Mediterranean Gull. We will then spend the remainder of the session taking a closer look at Common, Arctic, Roseate, Sandwich, Little and Black Terns.

This course will not cover the identification of seabirds that most birdwatchers only see offshore during migration: skuas, shearwaters and petrels.

COST: The programme of two weekly sessions and supported self-study exercises costs £24. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both sessions to get the maximum benefit. We are unable to offer single sessions at a reduced price. If the cost is a barrier to you, please contact us by email: training [at]

This course is designed for amateur birdwatchers and bird survey volunteers – professionals seeking training should contact us by email.

After booking you should receive an automatic confirmation email. If this doesn’t arrive, please check your spam/junk email folder and if it is not there, or you have any other questions or booking issues, please email us at training [at]