skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

"Birding," A New Passion 

Valery Van Harten, zoology major
June 30, 2023

You hear them every day. From the early morning to the late evening as the “coos” echo in the air around you. What am I talking about? Believe it or not it’s birds. They are everywhere, some species more than others. From perched in the tallest trees to hopping around small shrubs in hopes of finding tiny insects. Before taking the ornithology course at Weber State University I was completely oblivious to this. I would see something fly overheard and state “wow look at that seagull go”. Now I find myself staring at birds through a pair of binoculars wondering if I’m looking at a Savannah sparrow versus a Vesper’s sparrow.  

I find it crazy how taking one class has created a new passion that I didn’t imagine myself ever partaking in. Hi there! My name is Valery and I’m a senior at Weber State University. I am working on my Bachelor of Science in Zoology with a minor in chemistry. After I graduate from here, I am planning on getting my doctorate in veterinary medicine. Ornithology opened my eyes to a whole realm of animals. This summer I was fortunate enough to enroll in the Field Ornithology Techniques class and it has been an amazing adventure. 


I have been able to catch birds in large nets and band them with cute, little metal identification bracelets. I have measured their wings, bill, and more. Along with handling birds we have done a lot with census and populations. This involves monitoring nests and watching them brood, incubate, and feed their baby birds! We have also marked territories of certain species listening for their songs and calls. Birds may have their certain behaviors, but they can also be quite unpredictable. This allows for a new experience every time you go “birding”! 

If you are looking for a class that is very hands on and outdoorsy, then look no further. There is a lot of hiking and trekking through nature – so learn from my mistake and make sure to wear the right shoes… and watch out for cacti!


Learn more about Ornithology and other Zoology courses.

Ali Miller, College of Science
marketing and communications manager