Identifying and Monitoring Birds of Prey

This beginner bird course will explore the bird of prey species found on British shores and build on individual clues to help identify each species.

Birds of prey have captured people’s attention and imagination for generations, perhaps more so than any other group of birds.

The course will cover how to identify British birds of prey in detail and some of the common mistakes and misunderstandings that can come from observing birds of prey. We will look in detail at each British species and also the clues and signs that are also left by birds of prey, before putting these lessons into practice out in the field. We will also look at how nest boxes can be used to support the conservation of certain species and how finding and dissecting owl pellets can help us understand not only the species that ate the prey but also the condition of the surrounding habitat and environment. We will also look at the role of citizen science and how individuals can get involved in simple bird of prey conservation and gather scientific information.

Your course will take place in our Malham Tarn centre based in a Georgian fishing lodge situated on the northern shore, surrounded by the 147-hectare Malham Tarn National Nature reserve in North Yorkshire.
PLEASE NOTE the course fee is for tuition only. There is no accommodation provided with this course. If you would like to book accommodation, lunch and an evening meal at Malham Tarn please email

This course is designed for anyone who’s had that fleeting or distant glimpse of a bird of prey and wants to be able to identify it.

What will be covered during this course?

    • Introduction to British birds of prey – Species profiles
    • General identifiable features using video and images
    • Habits and behaviours – Species-specific habits and behaviours
    • Confusing species – How to separate them
    • Signs and clues – What to look for and how to interpret it
    • The use of nest boxes and Owl pellet dissecting practical
    • Equipment to use and monitoring programmes you can take part in
    • Fieldwork – Heading out into the field to put your new skills into practice

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

    • Describe the range of the species of birds of prey found in Britain
    • Separate and identify British birds of prey
    • Explain why monitoring this group of birds is important
    • Explain how the information gathered can be used scientifically to help support wider environmental and conservation initiatives in the UK
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers

How to Apply

To find out more, visit our website here

Please mention when enrolling in this Course!

Key Information

Start date:

3rd September 2022 at 10:00am




Field Studies Council




Biodiversity, Biology, Climate Change, Conservation, Countryside & Land Management, Ecology, Environment, Nature & Wildlife


FSC Malham Tarn, United Kingdom

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