Below you will find:

  1. anonymous feedback gathered from participants of the following 2015-2016 courses:
  • The Evolution of Birds
  • Learning the Songs of Birds
  • Birdsong Appreciation
  • The Story of Evolution

2. Direct feedback from a number of Dawn and Dusk Chorus events.

If you took part in any of the courses or activities, you can let me know what you thought by scrolling down to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page. Thank you.


For feedback on “Signs and Wonders: Reading and Writing the Poetry of Birds“, please see my sister site ““. 





There were 16 participants in this 5-week course (26 April – 24 May 2016), which I offered through Queen’s University’s Open Learning.

All the participants agreed that the course met their objectives for doing it.

People enjoyed:

  • “everything”; “all”: “All!”; “All of it”.
  • “Videos illustrating concepts”
  • “all of it, even the hard bits!”
  • “The effects of environment etc on bird behaviour and adaptation in breeding habits”
  • “Videos very good tools for explanation. Informal atmosphere allowed for questions/answers from any and all knowledge levels. Well structured powerpoints”
  • “I learned quite a bit about birds in general that I didn’t know before … so interesting that I didn’t lose concentration”
  • “adaptations of birds for flight. Origin from dinosaurs”
  • “Evolution of feathers. Breathing system of birds. Feathered dinosaurs”.
  • “…Videos… instances of birdsong to aid understanding.”


Other comments included:

  • “A very well thought-out course. Well done!”
  • “The five weeks passed very quickly”
  • “Good lecturer, knew her stuff, easily approachable, friendly”
  • “Information about recent discoveries was fascinating”
  • “Excellent. Extremely interesting”


Thanks to all the participants for their interest and feedback, which included many helpful suggestions for the future. It was great to have the opportunity to develop this course with such a range of people. I’m looking forward to developing this course further and to offering other related courses in the future.




There were 11 participants in the Saturday morning workshop (23 April 2016) Learning the Songs of Birds, which I offered through Stranmillis College’s Lifelong Learning.


All participants agreed that the course met their objectives for doing it.

People enjoyed:

  • “all” (from six participants)
  • “hearing birdsong and knowing what was singing … inspired to go and learn more”.
  • “spectrograms were fascinating. Mary’s enthusiasm and method of teaching.”
  • “the enthusiasm of Dr Montague and the high level of preparation for the workshop”.

Other comments included:

  • “the day wasn’t long enough”
  • “Excellent presentation, delivery, pitch. First-class visuals and sound recordings. The workshop more than met expectations.”
  • “Wonderful presentation”
  • “Liked the way the birds were grouped together for comparison”
  • “Would do similar course again”
  • “Excellent presentation. Well done! An enthusiastic lecturer. Most encouraging.”
  • “An excellent workshop.”

The group was very interested and responsive and were a pleasure to work with. Thanks to all for their contributions and very positive feedback.




Wren IMG_1137

There were 14 participants in the 10 week (18 Jan – 21 March 2016) Birdsong Appreciation course, which I offered through Queen’s University Open Learning. All participants agreed that the course met their objectives.

People enjoyed:

  • “the mix of art and science”
  • “the description of the scientific experiments to learn more about birdsong”
  • “Listening to birdsong”
  • “Sonograms helped with birdsong recognition”
  • “the variation of subject matter … I now listen to birdsong with a different ear”
  • “responses to questions always added new ideas, every day was interesting; enjoyed trying to identify birdsong”
  • “the interdisciplinary approach”
  • “I enjoyed all of it!”

Other comments included:

  • “Very enjoyable. Thank you.”
  • “You are very helpful and approachable”
  • “I found it all interesting”
  • “I liked your delivery style”
  • “Course was excellent with plenty of opportunity for participation – makes it more enjoyable”
  • “A very informative and enjoyable course containing much for the experienced birdwatcher as well as the beginner”

I appreciated the opportunity to develop and deliver this course with such an interested and responsive group. Thanks to all for their contributions and very helpful feedback.




There were 10 participants in the 10-week course “The story of evolution: from theory to fact” (QUB Open Learning Course, 28 Sept – 30 Nov 2015).

All of participants agreed that the course met their personal objectives for undertaking it. Other aspects of the course that participants enjoyed:


  • “The strong interaction between tutor and class”
  • “Great communication, good mix of slides, videos, questions”
  • “Well structured and delivered”.

Other comments:

  • “Enjoyed the course and appreciated the lecturer’s willingness to explain the information”
  • “The course covered a great deal of ground with great clarity. Some aspects were a stretch but I enjoyed that”
  • “Many thanks for all the hard work you have put into the preparation and delivery of the course”.
  • “Enjoyed the discussions and the answers to questions”.
  • “The range of the course was extensive … excellent”
  • “Enjoyed the diversity of all the participants. It was all very enjoyable. Thank you.”
  • “The course was extremely well prepared and I enjoyed your teaching style”.
  • “It was inspirational – thank you”

10 Responses to Feedback

  1. David Williamson says:

    Hello Mary, I am writing to thank you for your excellent contribution to the Culmore Farm dawn chorus event today. Your enthusiam and knowledge has spurred me on to check out birdsong in a more detailed way so that I become more proficient.
    I would be grateful if you could remind me of the book titles you recommended to further increase my knowledge.
    I will certainly be recommending your services to any groups I know , and look forward to following up information on your website which I find very interesting.
    Best regards
    David Williamson


  2. Donna O'Kane says:

    Very informative and enjoyable dusk chorus guided walk and presentation at Learmount Forest tonight. Many thanks.


  3. “Just a short note to thank you for sharing your knowledge with us this morning at Culmore Farm. I found it very interesting”.

    A Kilrea Dawn Chorus Participant, emailed to


  4. Loraine McElhinney says:

    Hi Mary,
    just writing to say how much I enjoyed your walk and talk last night in Learmount Forest.
    Your manner of delivery is lovely and your passion shines through which adds to the enjoyment of the experience.
    I have a little knowledge of birds, but you certainly enhanced that; the right mix of information without overload left me with not only more information but a new way of looking at how i can recall the different songs etc. In other words you have “re-enthused” me in my interst in birds!
    I will certainly be doing my best to “spread the word” about you and what you have to offer.
    Looking forward to seeing you another time soon,
    Best wishes,


    • Hi Loraine

      Thanks a million for your kind words and the details of your response. I am delighted that you got something out of the event and that you feel inspired to engage with birds and their song in another way that will hopefully sustain your interest! The more we all learn about and love birds, the better the chances are that they will be around in the future for everybody to enjoy. Looking forward to seeing you again also.

      Thanks again



  5. “Just a wee note to say how much I enjoyed your Dusk Chorus event last night out at Learmount. The walk and the talk were really interesting and the volunteers at the community centre did a brilliant job.”

    A Learmount Forest Dusk Chorus participant, sent to


  6. Pingback: Choruses: dawn and dusk | SongBirdSignBird

  7. “Thanks again for an excellent dusk chorus.”

    Rachel Bain, Biodiversity Officer, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, in an email sent to


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