How to Become an Ornithologist

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Ornithologists are people who study the natural habitats and behavior of birds. This is a career that is very rewarding and offers great job satisfaction. Ornithologists may work in zoological gardens, wildlife parks or conservation organizations. They also consult with government agencies and non-profit organizations on bird research projects.

How to Become an Ornithologist

To become an ornithologist, you need to have the right education. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in zoology, ecology, biology or wildlife biology and then pursue a master’s or doctoral degree. You can also gain experience in an internship program with a zoo, wildlife organization or government agency to see what it’s like to work as an ornithologist.

Some ornithologists have a specialty, which means they focus on a specific bird species, such as birds of prey. They might also be interested in a particular aspect of a bird’s habitat or behavior, such as how it interacts with human beings.

Those who want to become ornithologists should be passionate about the natural world and be able to conduct research. They should also have a strong understanding of biology and chemistry.

The history of ornithology reflects a movement towards elucidating scientific facts about the natural world, and ornithologists often play an important role in these efforts. Some ornithologists are researchers who work in laboratories, while others spend their time collecting specimens in the wild.

Women in the field were a significant part of the early history of ornithology, especially in North America. Several of them overcame the sexism of the time to obtain jobs in academia and conduct innovative studies of living birds.

They are often credited with the development of species identification, which helped scientists identify birds more easily and accurately. Many ornithologists are now focusing on issues related to the conservation of birds, as well as other types of animals and plants.

What to Expect at Work

Ornithologists often work in labs that are located in tier 1 cities, and some travel to other locations from time to time. Their duties include collecting samples, conducting experiments and testing results to ensure they’re accurate. They can also lead surveys in the field to determine the number and distribution of different species of birds.

In the field, working conditions vary widely and can be very demanding. Some ornithologists spend their days outdoors, while others work in a clean, well-lit laboratory or greenhouse. They might be required to travel from place to place to collect specimens, but they usually have flexible work schedules and can work on rotating shifts.

Some ornithologists work full-time, while others are freelancers or have contract positions. They might be able to earn extra income through publications, teaching or consulting.

Getting an Ornithology Career

To get a job as an ornithologist, you should attend an accredited college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology or wildlife biology. During this time, you should take courses in animal behavior, anatomy, physiology and wildlife management. Upon graduation, you should apply to an internship program to gain hands-on experience and learn from more experienced ornithologists.