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September 5 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Botany for Birders: Leaves

Have you ever struggled to describe which tree a bird is in? Have you ever struggled to identify a tree making it difficult to know how to manage it? Join local arborist, ecologist and birder Ryan Gilpin for a series of online and field classes designed to help birders more confidently navigate the plant world. Ryan will focus on observing specific characteristics of trees to gather more information. This information can be used to assign a name to a plant, but the goals of the workshop are more about observing and describing than naming. 

Every month, Ryan will focus on a particular characteristic of trees (such as leaves or bark) and how that character can help you to understand more about the plant. Through coupled classroom and field sessions Ryan will help you increase your ability to describe plants and connect to the natural world around you. Field sessions will be dynamic birding sessions in places with interesting trees. When bird activity is high, participants will be encouraged to describe where they are seeing birds in as much detail as possible using plant characteristics. When bird activity is low, participants will be encouraged to observe and describe specific characters of the surrounding trees to work on plant identification skills. Please register seperately for each class in the series. 


I consider leaves the most important tree identification feature. Leaves are on the tree for (at least) much of the year and are unique enough to give real insights into identification. At first glance, many leaves look similar, but with a little practice and a little guidance, everyone should be able to see and describe many different styles of leaves. Perhaps the most important (and sometimes quite difficult) first step is to decide whether the tree feature that you are trying to identify is a leaf or a leaflet. We will go over some common tree species around Portland that are best identified by their distinctive leaves.

Join us for field trip to apply your skills outdoors:


September 5
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Bird Alliance of Oregon
5151 NW Cornell Road
Portland, OR 97210 United States


Bird Alliance of Oregon
5151 NW Cornell Road
Portland, OR 97210 United States


Tara Lemezis