Advanced Skills for Beginning Birders

Spring Workshop

MANCOS, CO ~ April 14-15, 2018

Whether you are brand new to the world of birding or already have a strong base knowledge, you can quickly improve your skills of identification, expand your awareness and repertoire of bird calls, as well as deepen your connection with those eloquent feathered ones of your bioregion during this weekend workshop in the lovely mountains of Mancos, CO.

You will learn the “Art of Questioning and Observation”, the key to identifying a bird by the flick of its tail, the signature swoop it makes in flight or its distinctive silhouette atop a far off tree. You will also delve into the topics of deep bird language, bird behavior, habitat, field-marks, posture, shape, tracks, size and voice.  

All skill levels are welcome.  

Topics covered during the weekend may include,

  • The 7 Questions to Mastering Bird Identification

  • Unpacking Sound – How to Learn & Remember Bird Song/Calls

  • Deep Bird Language – The 5 Voices of Birds

  • The Who, What, Where of Bird Tracking

  • Becoming A-Part of the Forest

  • Baseline Behavior – Basic? Not Quite!

  • Predators & The 5 Shapes of Alarm

Sample Daily Schedule

6:00 am – meet… go to bird sit spot

6:00 – 7:00 – Bird Sit

7:00 – 8:00 – Breakfast

8:00-9:00 – Recap of morning sit

9:00 – 11:30 – Lecture 1

11:30 – 12:30 – Lunch 

12:30 – 2:30 – Bird Walk/Bird Nerd Session

2:30 – 4:00 – Lecture 2

4:00 – 4:30 – Break & Snack

4:30-5:30 – Lecture 3

5:30 – meet… go to sit spot

5:45 –6:30 – Bird Sit



The ranch is situated on 200 acres of ponderosa pine, pinyon, juniper forest that comprises a mosaic of cultivated annual crop fields, perennial hedgerows and orchards, pasture, and forest stands, not to mention the sweeping views of Mesa Verde in the distance.

An optimal location for a birding workshop.


Cost ~ $125-175 (sliding scale)

 Includes breakfast Sunday.

Kristi Dranginis


Kristi has been a birder for 25 years. She is the founder of where she teaches advanced birding skills, bird language and deep nature connection to people all around the world.  She is known for igniting curiosity, child-like passion and building confidence in her students.

She leads birding courses at primitive skills events like Rabbit Stick, Winter Count, Saskatoon Circle, The 4 Corners Earth Skills gathering and for organizations like the Boulder Outdoor Survival School & The Powerhouse Science Center.  Kristi is also a Field Ornithologist, Naturalist, Herbalist, and Photographer.

Kristi is a conspirator on the Dipper Project, a research project established in 2015 to study the effects of the Gold King Mine spill on the avian world.  She also leads birding tours for the Mesa Verde Bird Festival, the Durango Bird Club and private groups around the 4 corners region.

She has volunteered at bird banding projects on Great Gull Island, focusing on the Roseate & Common Terns, as well as migratory birds at Oxbow Preserve and hummingbirds at Mesa Verde National Park.

Robin Wolthausen

Robin is a master outdoor educator, wilderness therapy and recreational guide, and cultural mentor.  He has worked many years as a wilderness guide for teens and adults in the wilds of the American west from the mossy wet dripping Pacific Northwest to the scorching chert strewn southwest.

Robin is a lover of connection, authenticity, respect, love, unity and honor in all things and practices.  The specifics of the activity are less important to him as long as it is done in a good way with all of creation.

Some of the forms he dabbles in with these principles are: tracking, bird language, sur-thrival skills, natural building, permacultural land tending, village building/remembrance, nature and cultural mentoring, addiction recovery, and initiatory rites of passages.