Offered :

2022 Term 2.

Date & Time:

our consecutive weekly sessions beginning on Tuesday 10 May, 5:30-6:30pm, with the final session offered on 31 May. One hour sessions only.

Other Time Zone equivalents:

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i: 7:30-8:30pm, Monday 9 May 2022

  • US Pacific: 10:30-11:30pm, Monday 9 May 2022

  • US Eastern: 1:30am-2:30am, Tuesday 10 May 2022

  • London, UK: 6:30-7:30am, Tuesday 10 May 2022

  • New Delhi, India: 11:00am-12:00pm, Tuesday 10 May 2022

  • Sydney, Australia: 3:30-4:30pm, Tuesday 10 May 2022

Description :

This course will take a fresh perspective on one of the largest and most wide-reaching conflicts of human history: the First World War. We will look at how birds and birdwatchers were shaped by this conflict, how human-bird relationships changed, and how the legacy of certain species lives on today. We’ll read letters from birders at Gallipoli and the Somme, explore the relationship between femininity and ornithology during the war, look at how our feathered friends helped shape the course of the war, and so much more!

Meet our Instructor

History Instructor Michael Burton Smith

Michael Burton-Smith, BA (Hons), works with EarthDiverse as both an administrative assistant and as a lecturer for our history courses. After four years living in Aotearoa’s windy capital city, Michael returned to his hometown for some much needed rest and recuperation before hopefully heading to the United Kingdom for his MA in 2025. Between now and then, you’ll likely find Michael in the EarthDiverse offices helping to keep EarthDiverse running in any small way he can, and if you come into class in person you may even see him frantically running between rooms to sort out our technology before classes begin! Though his undergraduate work featured a smattering of political science, history, international relations and art history, it was history which was Michael’s main calling and which he followed through to his honours year at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, completing a dissertation on sensory experiences of British bird-watching between 1918 and 1939. Michael has taught courses for EarthDiverse on the relationship between birds and people through history, including one course on a social history of birds and another on birds during the First World War. In 2024, Michael is excited to be introducing a new course on Lenses of History, exploring different strains of historical methodology.

Distance-Learning Options:

This course is offered as an on-line live-streamed course via Zoom only, and there is no in-person component.

Distance-Learning Options:

This course is offered on-line only and has no in-person component. Live-streamed classes are available via free Zoom software, which allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom. Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time. Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning sessions will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.


Online via our live-streamed interactive Zoom sessions, or through video recordings posted the next day.

Pricing options

Course curriculum

    1. Week 1: The Legacy of Birds in WWI—An Introduction

    1. Week 2: Shaping Memories—Birds in the Trenches

    1. Week 3: Chronicling the War—Ornithological Journals in 1914-1918

    1. Week 4: Unsung Heroes—Carrier Pigeons in the First World War

About this course

  • $65.00
  • 4 lessons
  • 0 hours of video content


Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses. This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams. All classes encourage questions and group discussion. PDF copies of each class presentation, where appropriate, are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions! Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break somewhere in the middle of each session. There are no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes can be made up by watching the on-line recording of the class session, which is usually posted within 24 hours. Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge. Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.

Prerequisites :

There are no prerequisites for this course