CCOG for BI 164 Summer 2024

Course Number:
BI 164
Course Title:
Bird Identification and Ecology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces the biology of birds of the Pacific Northwest. Emphasizes learning bird identification in the field by sight and sounds. Covers the study of avian ecology, natural history and behavior. Introduces field techniques for identifying and studying birds. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

1. Fieldwork Statement

Fieldwork is a professional competence in many areas of Biology. Standard field practices include measurements of abiotic and biotic components. Fieldwork includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field training may include developing skills in site characterization, measurement and data collection, application of key terms and concepts, species identification, and observation. Certain protocols may require use of equipment, chemicals, and expensive gear. Field training is experiential often leading to unique sets of observations/data in particular locations. Fieldwork may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, off-trail work with map & compass, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel, stress, etc.). Fieldwork can be physically challenging and may require overland travel on foot or unusual means to field points, carrying field equipment (as well as food, water, and safety equipment), taking measurements under duress (learning new protocols, requiring remaining in an unusual posture or position for a length of time, timing pressures for certain procedures, holding organisms, variable weather, etc.), survival skills, orienteering, and so on.

2. Evolution Statement

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Biology Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.

  1. Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  2. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Biology instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Identify common Pacific Northwest bird species using key characteristics.
  • Use standard field techniques to study bird populations, behavior, breeding biology, and ecology.
  • Apply knowledge of basic bird biology, ecology, evolution, and anatomy and physiology to further an understanding of these principles in other animals.
  • Examine bird species of the Pacific Northwest using direct observation and documented research.
  • Develop skills in science, including quantitative reasoning, using documented research on changes in abundance of bird species over time.
  • Identify birds beyond the Pacific Northwest by applying knowledge of bird families.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

General education philosophy statement

As a class of organisms, birds have long captured the human imagination. With their widespread distribution and differing adaptations to inhabit a wide variety of environments, birds provide a window into the diversity of life on Earth. As students learn to identify Pacific Northwest bird species, explore the biodiversity of bird species, and recognize birds’ role as environmental indicators, they recognize their connection to their natural environment. They develop their ability to reason quantitatively using data on changes in abundance of bird species over time. They also come to recognize the potential impact of our species on other species who share our planet.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Essay and multiple choice exams
  2. Maintain a detailed field notebook
  3. Weekly applications of laboratory and field experiences
  4. Independent research projects
  5. Bird identification tests in field and class
  6. Conduct independent research via scientific literature and/or in the field
  7. Write reports
  8. Oral presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts and Themes:

  1. Bird Identification
  2. Taxonomic relationships between birds with an evolutionary perspective
  3. Fundamental principles of ecology, anatomy and physiology, behavior
  4. Habitat associations of birds
  5. Important areas in the Pacific Northwest for birds
  6. Human interactions with birds and conservation of birds
  7. Field identification and study of birds
  8. Form and function of birds in relation to their environment

Process Skills (Competency skills):

  1. Read
  2. Knowledge of bird species of Pacific Northwest
  3. Write
  4. Apply scientific method
  5. Present conclusions logically in oral and written reports
  6. Develop field skills and techniques
  7. Locate and access information
  8. Think critically