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Sat, Aug 03


INHA Catskill Biological Field Station

Expedition Experiences - Birds

Two-day field class with Dr. Peter Capainolo in Andes, NY

Expedition Experiences - Birds
Expedition Experiences - Birds

Time & Location

Aug 03, 2024, 9:00 AM – Aug 04, 2024, 5:00 PM

INHA Catskill Biological Field Station, Andes, NY


About the program

About this Course

This course introduces students to the history of, and techniques used, to procure and preserve bird specimens for research and education.

Course Overview: 

Under the direction of Dr. Peter Capainolo, a professional field ornithologist and museum specialist, students will learn about the history of bird collecting and preservation for museum and university collections and will be afforded a hands-on immersive experience by preparing bird skins, skeletons, eggs etc. in a rustic setting reminiscent of zoological collecting field camps of the past.

At the conclusion of this class students will have a broad understanding of the history and techniques of collecting and preserving scientific specimens of birds as well as practical skills learned from working with actual specimens during the class sessions.

This class is suitable for both beginners as well as those with a science background looking for an introductory level class experience of a relatively esoteric scientific endeavor.

Course Outline: 

Saturday, August 3rd 2024 :

  • 9:00-9:30 Meet and Greet at Pavilion. Light continental breakfast will be provided.
  • 9:30-10:00 History of bird collecting; a brief overview.
  • 10:00-11:00 Students  are brought afield to various bird traps set in situ* near a working field  ornithologist’s cabin. Various specimen types (skins and  skeletons) will be viewed and discussed.
  • 11:00-12:00 Students will learn about various firearms historically and currently used to procure birds in the field.
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided).
  • 1:00-6:00 Students will, under direction, prepare their own avian study skin.
  • 6:00 End of first day-recommendations for dinner venues are available.

Sunday, August 4th 2024:

  • 9:00-9:30 Meet and Greet at Pavilion. Light continental breakfast will be provided.
  • 9:30-10:00 Check on  study skins. Adjust skins.
  • 10:00-11:30 Travel to another outpost camp, discuss and prepare avian skeleton specimens.
  • 12:00- 1:00 Lunch (provided).
  • 1:00-4:00 Return to Pavilion. Prepare wet specimens and eggs for collection.
  • 4:00-5:00 Closing remarks and student survey of class.

*All wild birds are protected under various federal and state laws and cannot be collected or possessed without appropriate scientific permits. No birds will be collected during this course and specimens used are either non-protected domestic species or specimens held under federal and state salvage/education permits. Permit numbers are available upon request.

What INHA Will Provide:

Students will enjoy full access to our private 270-acre property where the course will take place. All specimens, tools, materials, and formal instruction are provided for this immersive, hands-on event. Each student will take home 1 finished study skin, 1 prepared wet specimen, 1 roughed out skeleton, 2 blown eggs, and an instructional pamphlet.  Participants will also have the option to have their skeletons professionally cleaned and shipped back to them for an additional cost.

All specimens are ethically and sustainably sourced. These will include, but are not limited to Bobwhite Quail, Coturnix Quail, Eurasian Starlings, Rock Pigeon, and domestic fowl.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided each day. We kindly ask students with food allergies or dietary restrictions to please bring their own breakfast and lunch.

A list of local hotels and restaurants can be provided upon request.

Supply list (to be supplied by student):

Click here to learn more about what to expect and what to bring. 

About the Instructor:

Dr. Peter Capainolo has had an interest in Natural History, particularly ornithology, since boyhood. At age eighteen, he was granted one of the first falconry licenses issued by New York State. He studied zoology and practiced falconry under renowned ornithologist Heinz Meng at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, and subsequently earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology. A strong proponent of field and specimen-based research and education, he is currently Senior Museum Specialist in the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and adjunct professor of biology at the City College of the City University of New York. He serves on the New York State Falconry Advisory Board, and on the advisory board and as Curator of Birds of the Institute for Natural History Arts.  He is the author and co-author of books and scientific papers on zoology, ornithology, ecology, and medicine.

For Payment Plans, please email us at

Group Size: 10 participants (Minimum of 5 required)

Age Restrictions: 18 and Over

Class Policies:

  • Please arrive 15m prior the class commencement. If you are running late, please call us at (973)-650-8875 or (973)-609-2153 and let us know.
  • By signing up for our classes, you recognize the risks associated with these classes—working with sharp tools and practicing safe specimen handling.
  • You agree to follow the instructor’s advice and will not hold the instructor or venue liable for harm.
  • For your safety and to accommodate studio policy, no food is allowed during classes. Drinks in a container with a lid are permitted.
  • Due to Covid 19 policies, social distance and the use of masks will be based on community guidelines.
  • You will receive an email with a release form and a waiver. Documents must be signed and returned to INHA prior the class.

Cancellation Policies:

  • Cancellations 15 days prior to your class date will incur a 25% service charge, and the remaining amount will be transferred as credit for the next event.
  • Cancellations 8 to 14 days of your class date will incur a 50% service charge, and the remaining amount will be transferred as credit for the next event.
  • Please note that cancellations within 7 days of the class are neither refundable nor transferable to another event.
  • Refunds are only available if an event is postponed, rescheduled, or relocated by the Institute for Natural History Arts. In this case, your ticket(s) remain valid, and no further action is necessary. However, if you're unable to attend the event on the new date, you can request a refund to your original payment method or retain the amount as credit for future events.

Payments Plans are available.

Please contact our office for more information.


  • Expedition Experiences - Birds

    Sale ends: Jul 28, 6:00 PM
    From $925.00 to $975.00
    • $975.00
      +$24.38 service fee
    • $925.00
      +$23.13 service fee
    • $925.00
      +$23.13 service fee



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