What is an Ornithologist?

Frequently Asked Questions about birding #2

Today I continue with this series of short articles about birding.

  1. What is ornithology? This is the serious study of birds in the natural environment, often as a part of someone’s employment.
  2. What is an ornithologist? This is a person who studies birds in a serious way and includes those people whose employment requires them to watch and study birds. These people usually keep extensive notes of their findings, write articles for magazines and scientific journals and sometimes even write books or make films about birds.

    Grey Butcherbird

    Grey Butcherbird


4 Responses to “What is an Ornithologist?”

  1. abinash nepali says:

    hi all
    i am a keen birdwatcher and i would like become a orienthologist so where can study about this sector.. let me know please.. now am in Germany.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Abinash,

      Becoming a birder is easy – just go out and watch birds. It would help you if you had a field guide to help you identify what you are seeing. You can borrow one from a library or buy one from a bookshop.

      An ornithologist makes a living from studying about birds and doing scientific research on birds. To become an ornithologist takes a lot of more effort and many years of study at university. Check out your local university courses to see if any provide classes in studying birds (and other living creatures).

  2. Kateri says:

    Hi all people.
    I am 12 years old and someday i want to become a orthithologist. Though i am a young child i look forward at succeeding in my passion of birds. My questions are is there a topic of birds that you have to focus on or do you change? My other question is how many years does it take? Is there a diffrent time sequence to university’s or are there the same year’s of studying?
    thanks, Kateri

    • Trevor says:

      Hi there Kateri,

      Thank you for your questions. I am very sorry that it has taken me so long to reply. Somehow your comment ended up in my trash file – don’t know how that happened.

      The first thing you need to do is successfully complete your secondary schooling (high school). Over the next few years talk to your teachers, especially science teachers, and ask questions about the best courses you need to study to get the right subjects to prepare you for university.

      In your final year of high school you will need to apply to study at university. You can check out the courses available online, or visit the universities during their Open Days. When you have been accepted into a course always ask for advice on the right courses to study. Most degrees at university take 4 or 5 years, some a lot longer.

      All the best with your studies. And keep watching the birds, learning all you can.

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