Do you enjoy travelling? Are you intrigued by birds and want to learn more about them when you see them? If you answered yes, you have the mindset of an ornithologist!
The scientific term for bird-watching and research is ornithology. Birds, their bio-learning, habitat, and evolution are all being studied. Ornithology has a long history and has contributed to the development of several key concepts in evolution, such as species definition, behaviour and the process of speciation, ecological niches, biodiversity conservation, instinct, phylogeography, and island biogeography.
Do you aspire to be an Ornithologist or are you just exploring the field? In either case, you’ve come to the right place! This blog discusses the skills required, colleges and courses, salary, and what else it takes to become an Ornithologist. Follow the step-by-step guide in the blog about how to become an Ornithologist.
Who is an Ornithologist?
An ornithologist is someone who studies birds professionally. Ornithologists study bird species’ physical structure, behaviour, origin, diseases, and evolution. An ornithologist’s job description is vague. Some may work as researchers in laboratories, while others may work as ecologists.
Many ornithologists work with agencies, NGOs, and leaders to raise awareness about the importance of bird conservation and the role that birds play in maintaining natural balance.
Learn more: Career As An Ornithologist
How to become an Ornithologist? [Step by step guide]
Step 1: Stream to select
To become an Ornithologist, students should select the Science stream and take Biology as one of their subjects. Ornithology, as a primarily scientific discipline, is heavily rooted in zoology, and knowledge of zoology and other topics covered in the subject of Biology can prepare students for advanced topics in their bachelor’s.
Step 2: Certification courses and project courses
The courses listed below can help you become an Ornithologist.
- Basic Course in Ornithology
- Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology
Step 3: Educational qualifications
To become an ornithologist, candidates must have a degree in Biology, Zoology, Animal Science, or a related field. Candidates who want to work in the field of research must obtain a doctorate degree.
How to become an Ornithologist after 10th?
Join a bird-watching club in your area. Joining a bird-watching club is one way to get your feet wet in ornithology while still in school or after 10th. Most towns have these clubs, and they would be delighted to welcome a new bird enthusiast!
How to become an Ornithologist after 12th?
To be an Ornithologist in India –
Before enrolling in a B.Sc Zoology Hons., students must have completed a 10+2 level of education in physics, chemistry, and biology with an aggregate of 50% or equivalent marks from a recognised board. Students can then pursue a Master’s degree in Ornithology, followed by a Ph.D.
- UG courses to become an Ornithologist in India:
|B.Sc Zoology Hons.||3 years||₹9,258 to ₹2,88,000|
- Top UG colleges to become an Ornithologist in India:
|Name of Institution||Location|
|MSU Baroda – Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda||Gujarat|
|LPU Jalandhar – Lovely Professional University||Punjab|
|BHU Varanasi – Banaras Hindu University||Uttar Pradesh|
|DU Delhi – University of Delhi||Delhi|
|Visva Bharati University – Visva-Bharati||West Bengal|
|AMU Aligarh – Aligarh Muslim University||Uttar Pradesh|
|Ravenshaw University, Cuttack||Odisha|
|NIMS University, Jaipur||Rajasthan|
|Panjab University, Chandigarh||Punjab|
|DEI Agra – Dayalbagh Educational Institute||Uttar Pradesh|
Also read: How to become a Geologist
To become an Ornithologist abroad
There are almost no well-known ornithology-specific undergraduate courses. Aspiring ornithologists can enrol in zoology and wildlife biology programmes that offer elective ornithology courses. Animal behaviour, conservation biology, ecology, genetics, wildlife science, and vertebrate anatomy are all topics covered in zoology and wildlife biology degree programmes. Following that, students can pursue a Master’s degree in Ornithology, followed by a Ph.D.
- UG courses to become an Ornithologist abroad:
|BS in Zoology||3-4 years|
|BS in Biology||3-4 years|
|Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science||3-4 years|
- Top UG colleges to become an Ornithologist abroad:
|Name of Institution||Location|
|University of California – Davis||United States|
|University of California – Berkeley||United States|
|Cornell University||United States|
|University of Sao Paulo||Brazil|
|University of Oxford||United Kingdom|
|University of Cambridge||United Kingdom|
|University of Queensland||Australia|
|University of Florida||United States|
|University of Washington – Seattle||United States|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||United States|
Step 4: How to prepare for the job?
- Gain practical exposure/Internship: Consider getting hands-on experience in the field through internships or volunteering at wildlife rehabilitation centres and zoos. Consider shadowing an ornithologist if possible. This way, you can gain practical experience and see how things work in this field.
- Volunteer: Several well-known conservation and non-profit organisations are looking for dedicated volunteers. Your primary responsibilities will be to research and care for wildlife. This will provide you with the necessary exposure, knowledge, and experience to become an ornithologist. Furthermore, including it in your resume’s volunteer section will demonstrate your enthusiasm for working with wildlife and birds.
- Attend conferences: Ornithological conferences can help you stay up to date on what’s going on in the field. Furthermore, you will be able to hear from a variety of people on a wide range of research, which will help you narrow down what you want to focus on. Some conferences are free, but most require a fee and travel to the conference.
- Develop your mathematical and analytical skills: These abilities will be required to assist you in analysing the data you collect. Raw data must be synthesized before it can be interpreted, and mathematical skills are required to do so.
9 most important skills for becoming an Ornithologist
- Interest in the natural world
- Observational skills
- Active learning
- Research skills
- Good verbal communication skills
- Problem-solving ability
- Evaluation skills
- Teamwork skills
How much does an Ornithologist Earn
Salary in India
An entry-level Ornithologist with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an annual compensation (tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of ₹5,23,574.
The following are some entry-level Ornithologist salaries from around the world.
|South African Republic||R309,780|
|New Zealand||$50,890 (NZD)|
Sectors in which Ornithologists can work
- Wildlife centres
- Tour Leading
- Birding Industry
- As Ecologists
- Forest departments
- Environmental Consulting
Know about: Career as a Zoologist
More about Ornithologists?
If you’ve arrived at this point in the blog, it can only mean one thing: you like Ornithologists and may one day become one yourself! As a bonus, a few bird-watching Instagram accounts are included here. Check them out and have fun exploring more!
To be an ornithologist, you must be passionate about birds and nature. Just like the legendary ‘Birdman of India,’ who helped people understand the importance of birds in our ecosystem and thus popularised ornithology in India.
Dr. Salim Ali’s passion for birds was so well-known that a cartoon strip once depicted a group of Siberian cranes flying over the Bharatpur sanctuary, with the leader of the group saying, ‘Come, let’s fly a little low; if we are lucky we may be able to spot Salim Ali!’ I hope, like Salim Ali, you can do your best for the birds and nature! Best wishes for your ornithological adventure!
FAQs about how to become an Ornithologist
What is the qualification for ornithologist?
Ans: To become an ornithologist, candidates must have a degree in Biology, Zoology, Animal Science, or a related field. Candidates who want to work in the field of research must obtain a doctorate degree.
What is the salary of ornithologist in India?
Ans: In India, the average ornithologist’s gross salary is Rs. 7,10,856. The average salary for an entry-level ornithologist (1-3 years of experience) is ₹5,23,574. A senior-level ornithologist (8+ years of experience) makes an average salary of ₹8,86,330.
How long does it take to become an ornithologist?
Ans: The Bachelor’s degree should take 3-4 years, the Master’s degree 2-3 years, and the PhD 3-5 years.
How can I become an ornithologist after 12th?
Ans: Students must have completed a 10+2 level of education in physics, chemistry, and biology with an aggregate of 50% or equivalent marks from a recognised board before enrolling in a B.Sc Zoology Hons. programme. Following that, students can pursue a Master’s degree in Ornithology, followed by a PhD.
What is a bird scientist called?
Ans: An ornithologist is a professional who studies birds. Ornithologists study the physical structure, behaviour, origin, diseases, and evolution of bird species.