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Ornithologist: Job Description, Info, & Job Openings

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If you love birds and want to learn more about them, consider becoming an ornithologist.

An ornithologist is a scientist who studies birds.

This fascinating career field offers many opportunities to learn about birds and their habits.

To see if ornithology is right for you, check out our in-depth discussion below.

Ornithologist: The Basics

Let’s begin by talking about the basics of ornithology.

We’ll eventually get to salary expectations, work life, and other essential details.

What is an Ornithologist?

An ornithologist is a scientist who studies birds.

Ornithologists may study birds’ physical characteristics, behavior, or ecology.

What is an Ornithologist Called?

They are also called avian biologists.

What Does an Ornithologist Do?

Ornithologists study birds and their ecology.

This can involve research on everything from the bird’s anatomy and physiology to its behavior and habitat.

Ornithologists may also work in conservation, management or education.

Work Opportunities in the Ornithologist Industry

There are several work opportunities available for those with an ornithology degree.

Ornithologist Job Description

Ornithologists study the physical characteristics of birds, their behavior, or their ecology.

Some ornithologists work in zoos or museums, while others may work in the field conducting research.

Top Ornithologist Jobs and Careers

The top jobs for ornithologists include:

  • Ecologists
  • Wildlife biologists
  • Geneticists

Where Can an Ornithologist Work?

Ornithologists may work in zoos or museums, while others may work in the field conducting research.

Top earners tend to work in management or research positions or have advanced degrees in their field.

Those in the bottom percentile may work in entry-level positions or have only a bachelor’s degree.

What It’s Like to be an Ornithologist

Being an ornithologist is a very rewarding career.

It’s a great way to learn about different bird species and their habits.

It is also a great way to help preserve these species for future generations.

Is Being an Ornithologist Hard?

No, being an ornithologist is not hard.

In fact, many people find it enjoyable and rewarding.

Is an Ornithologist’s Job Stressful?

Like any job, it has its challenges.

But if you’re passionate about birds and bird watching, then being an ornithologist will be a breeze.

Common Ornithologist Work Day

Ornithologists typically work during the day.

They may work indoors in offices or laboratories or outdoors in the field.

Some ornithologists may work long hours, including evenings and weekends.

Ornithologist Tasks & Duties

Most ornithologists spend their time conducting research on birds.

They may study the behavior, ecology, and evolution of birds.

They may also study the impact of humans on bird populations.

Ornithologists use various methods to collect data, including observation, field experiments, and surveys.

They may also use technology, such as GPS tracking devices to study bird movements.

Ornithologist Work Hours & Schedule

Ornithologists typically work full-time hours.

However, they may work long hours, including evenings and weekends.

Some ornithologists may travel to remote locations for research projects.

Ornithologist Dress Code

Ornithologists typically dress casually for work.

However, they may need to wear protective clothing when working in the field.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Most ornithologists report that they are able to achieve a good work-life balance.

But they may need to travel for work and work long hours occasionally.

Ornithologist Salary & Income

In this section, you will learn about average salary expectations.

Do Ornithologists Make Good Money?

Ornithologists can make very good money.

As you move up the ladder, your pay can increase substantially.

How Much Do Ornithologists Make?

Ornithologists typically earn a salary of $60k to $75k per year.

Note that salaries can vary depending on experience, location, and employer.

Overview of the Ornithologist Industry

Here, we look at the ornithologist industry and what it entails.

Ornithologist Field: Career Progression

Most ornithologists begin their careers as field researchers.

They spend time in the field observing birds, conducting research, and writing reports.

With experience, they may move into more specialized roles.

These include consultancy work on conservation projects or teaching ornithology in college.

Some ornithologists also become involved in public outreach.

They work to educate the general public about the importance of bird conservation.

Is an Ornithologist a Good Career?


You can make a promising career as an ornithologist.

This is especially true if you are passionate about birds and strong desire to protect them.

There are many opportunities to work in bird conservation in the United States and abroad.

You can also find work as a researcher, teacher, or writer on bird-related topics.

Ornithologist Job Outlook

The job outlook for ornithologists is good, and the field looks to grow at a rate of five percent through 2030.

Demand for Ornithologists

Demand looks good for ornithologists thanks to the growth in increased environmental awareness.

Ornithologists with a background in education or outreach will also be in high demand.

Ornithologist Facts

Ornithologists are scientists who study birds.

They may study a bird’s physical characteristics, habits, and environment.

Some ornithologists work in conservation to protect bird populations.

Many ornithologists are employed in colleges and universities, teaching and conducting research.

Some work for state or federal wildlife agencies.

They develop wildlife management policies or conduct field research.

Jobs Related to Ornithologist

Top related jobs include:

  • Zoo Education Manager
  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Veterinary Nurse

Requirements, Skills and Education Required for Ornithologists

To become an ornithologist, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field.

You will also need to be proficient in math and statistics.

Who Should Consider an Ornithologist Career Path?

If you’re passionate about birds and bird watching, then a career as an ornithologist may be perfect for you.

Who Should NOT Consider an Ornithologist Career Path?

Suppose you’re not interested in spending a lot of time outdoors or working with data.

In that case, a career as an ornithologist may not be right for you.

Is It Hard to Become an Ornithologist?

No, becoming an ornithologist is not difficult.

But it does require a significant amount of education and training.

What Do I Need to Become an Ornithologist?

To become an ornithologist, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology or zoology.

Many ornithologists also have advanced degrees.

You will also need to have knowledge of bird behavior, ecology, and taxonomy.

Additionally, you should be proficient in using binoculars and other bird-watching equipment.

Finally, you will need to be able to identify different species of birds by their calls, plumage, and other features.

Requirements for Becoming an Ornithologist

To become an ornithologist, you first need to obtain a degree in biology, zoology, or a related field from an accredited college or university.

After completing your undergraduate studies, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree.

You should obtain a doctorate in ornithology if you wish to conduct research or teach at the collegiate level.

What Skills Does an Ornithologist Need?

Ornithologists must have strong interpersonal skills.

They must work effectively with a team and maintain good working relationships with colleagues.

They must also be able to communicate their findings to those not experts in the field.

What Education Does an Ornithologist Need?

Most ornithologists have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field.

Those who want to work in research or management positions need a master’s degree or higher.

Can You Become an Ornithologist Without a Degree?

Although it is possible to find jobs in the field without a graduate degree, most ornithologists hold advanced degrees.

What Experience Does an Ornithologist Need?

In addition to completing an academic program, you will also need field experience observing and studying birds.

Many ornithologists begin their careers as volunteers or interns with organizations.

These experiences can allow you to learn about bird behavior, habitat, and nesting habits.

You can also gain valuable experience working with the public.

This is important for ornithologists who conduct educational programs or lead bird-watching tours.

Ornithologist Education & Schooling

Most ornithologists hold a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, or a related field from an accredited college or university.

However, many jobs in the field require a master’s degree or doctorate.

Those who wish to conduct research or teach at the collegiate level need to obtain a doctorate in ornithology.

What Is Taught in an Ornithologist Course?

Courses in an ornithology program cover topics such as:

  • Bird anatomy
  • Physiology and behavior
  • Ecology
  • Field methods
  • Conservation and management

Students also learn about the taxonomy and classification of birds.

Other topics of study include vertebrate paleontology, herpetology and ichthyology.

How Long Does an Ornithologist Course Take?

Most ornithology programs take four years to complete.

Yet some programs may only take two years.

Ornithologist Education Options and Degree Programs

Ornithologists who want to work in education or outreach positions need at least a bachelor’s degree.

However, a master’s degree may be preferred.

Please note that the United States doesn’t have any schools that offer ornithology as a major.

That’s why a degree in wildlife biology or a similar field is necessary.

Bachelor’s Degree

To become an ornithologist, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in either biology or another related field.

Master’s Degree

Many ornithologists pursue a master’s degree to further their knowledge and research abilities.

Schools for Ornithologists

Many schools across the country offer programs specifically for aspiring ornithologists.

These include:

Become an Ornithologist

You must take several steps to become an ornithologist.

Steps to Become an Ornithologist

First, as aforementioned, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field.

After completing an undergraduate program, many students pursue a master’s degree.

However, this is not always required.

Once meeting the education requirements, the next step is to complete on-the-job training.

Current Career Job Openings

Current openings are limited, but some include:

  • WorkSource Oregon
  • Kleinfelder, Inc.
  • Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the most famous ornithologist?

John James Audubon is one of the most famous ornithologists of all time.

Who is the father of birds?

Salim Ali is the father of birds in India.

He was born in 1896 in Mumbai and is best known for his work with the Bombay Natural History Society.

He also wrote several books on birds, including The Book of Indian Birds.

Wrapping Up

Are you ready to get started on your new career as an ornithologist?

Remember to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re qualified for the job.

Get a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field, and consider getting a master’s degree.

Find a good school that offers ornithology courses and make sure to get plenty of experience in the field.

Finally, stay up to date on current job openings so you can prepare for your new career!

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