A free online course in ornithology can be found on the home page of Northfield birder/blogger Dan Tallman. He and his wife moved to Northfield a couple of years ago, after his retirement as biology professor at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. Tallman is a bird bander, ecotour leader, photographer, and writer. He is co-author of the book “The Birds of South Dakota.” He and his wife, Erica, who shares his birding interests, discovered a new bird while doing graduate work in Peru. Nephelornis oneilli. 

“Nephelornis means ‘bird of the clouds,’” Tallman explained. It was named for John O'Neill, a bird artist and ornithologist who is co-author of “Birds of Peru.” The official common name for that bird is "Pardusco" -- a Spanish common name.

The Tallmans also had a bird named after them -- Pipreola riefferii tallmanorum. “It is a distinctive race of the Green-and-Black Fruiteater, and is probably a distinct species; it is smaller and is slightly differently colored,” he wrote in an email note.

Tallman earned his PhD at Louisiana State University, arguably the premier school for ornithology in the U.S. The online ornithology course evolved from lecture notes Tallman used for his classes at Northern State. The course exists as part of his current blog. There are no quizzes or tests, no final exam. This is an unusual opportunity to learn much – or as much as you wish – about birds. The course comes in 116 chapters. You can begin at the beginning, or choose a topic of particular interest. Tallman has provided a wonderful resource for those of us who find birds both fun and fascinating.

The link is http://ornithologycourse.blogspot.com/

Tallman’s home page, with links to his blog and his photographs of birds and wild flowers can be found at:



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