The Life of Birds in Spring and Summer

Ref: C3528587

An investigation of types of behaviour, different life-styles and appearances, adaptations and diets of the varied birds which live and breed in different UK habitats during the spring and summer. The course will cover courtship, nesting, territories, moulting, feeding and competition, predator avoidance, the role of birdsong and other calls, preparation for migration in some species. We will consider residents and summer visitors, and why bird populations may appear to change through the breeding system. We will also focus in on some birds typical of different habitats: towns and gardens, farmland, heathland, woodland, rivers and wetlands, estuaries and seashore.

Course aim

To provide an insight into the lives of birds which spend spring and summer in Britain and the range of strategies and adaptations they adopt to breed and survive.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • No expertise in bird identification is required, merely a general interest in birds. Learners should familiarise themselves with the commoner birds found around their neighbourhood by observation and reference to a field guide of British birds.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. describe examples of the varied lifestyles and activities of birds, and adaptations to different habitats, diets and breeding strategies
  • 2. describe the function of different plumage in birds and its role
  • 3. explain the roles and importance of territoriality, bird song and other calls, courtship display
  • 4. discuss how and why the variety of species changes with the onset of spring and summer
  • 5. list and discuss the range of summer birds typical of the main types of habitat in UK

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • A basic field guide to British Birds would be useful

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • • Take up bird watching • WEA Course: Life of Birds in Autumn & Winter • BTO Bird Identification Courses • Join BTO, your County Wildlife Trust and/or RSPB • Start contributing to a Citizen Science bird reporting scheme

Download full Course information sheet

The Life of Birds in Spring and Summer


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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