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Audubon Programs

Mendocino Coast Audubon welcomes Nathan Pieplow, professor and author of the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds, published in two volumes, Eastern (2017) and Western (2019) to the Mendocino Coast for two workshops and programs in Caspar and Gualala. Nathan, an avid bird sound recordist and videographer, is the author of the bird sound blog, a board member of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, an author of the Colorado Birding Trail, and former editor of the journal Colorado Birds. Nathan teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Nathan Pieplow

Workshop: A shared vocabulary for bird sounds

In this half-day workshop you will work on advanced listening skills: paying attention to the fine details of a sound. Just as beginning birders learn the different parts of the bird and how to distinguish colors like “buff” and “rufous,” you will learn the different parts of a sound and how to distinguish tone qualities like “burry” and “polyphonic.” In the process, you will learn a common vocabulary for describing bird sounds. You will also study how to visualize sounds and read spectrograms, and what smartphone apps can best facilitate the process. No matter what your level of experience, this workshop will help you listen to sounds more analytically, describe them more accurately, and use them more effectively in identifying birds. The first half of this half-day workshop will be an indoor presentation, and the second half will be at a nearby outdoor venue.

Workshop Fee: $36. Registration is limited to 15 and is closed once filled

Two Mendocino County Venues:

South Coast

Saturday May 13, 2023, at 7am at Mill Bend house for the Saturday workshop is 46902 Old Stage Rd, Gualala 95445. Please contact Cheryl Harris to register.

North Coast

SOLD OUT Sunday May 14, 2023, at 7am Russian Gulch State Park CA-1, Mendocino. Please contact Hayley Ross to register.

Program Presentation- The language of birds

All around us, the birds are constantly telling us who they are and what they are doing. In this talk for any audience, Nathan Pieplow unlocks the secrets of their language. You’ll listen in on the pillow talk of a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds and learn the secret signals that Cliff Swallows use when they have found food. You’ll learn how one bird sound can have many meanings, and how one meaning can have many sounds—and how, sometimes, the meaning isn’t in the sounds at all. This talk from the author of the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds is an accessible, entertaining introduction to a fascinating topic. Free and open to the public; donations welcomed.

South Coast

Friday May 12, 2023 at 7pm: Ohlson Ranch House, 37405 Shoreline Highway, The Sea Ranch 95497Parking passes are required for this event, please contact Cheryl Harris

North Coast

Monday May 15, 2023 at 7pm: Lions Club 430 East Redwood, Fort Bragg 95437

For more information about the presentation, please contact Terra Fuller at

Download a copy of the
Program flyer