Presented by the
Ornithological Council

Member organizations of the Ornithological Council

American Ornithologists' Union

Association of Field Ornithologists


Cooper Ornithological Society

Neotropical Ornithological Society

Pacific Seabird Group

Raptor Research Foundation

Society of Canadian Ornithologists ~ Société des Ornithologistes du Canada

Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds

The Waterbird Society

Wilson Ornithological Society
Page Last Updated
Mon, Nov 19, 2007

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What is ornithology?

Ornithology is the scientific study of birds

Ornithologists study every aspect of bird life. Some ornithologists look at how birds live in their environment, while others look at how the parts of birds work together to make a bird. Some ornithologists focus on how birds find food, while others focus on how birds digest food. Some ornithologists research changes in populations of birds across whole continents; others study changes in blood cells in an individual bird. Ornithologsts sometimes study how birds evolved and what their ancestors looked like, and still others study how birds are changing in today's environment and how they might be affected by ecological change in the future.

Ornithology is a broad field, and there is room for everyone.

Ornithology is one of the few sciences remaining where non-professionals regularly make significant contributions. The areas where non-professionals make their most important contributions are in the areas of distribution (finding out where birds occur naturally) - by contributing sight records, and in the understanding of changes in bird populations - through annual bird counts around the world.

More information on the science of ornithology can be found throughout BIRDNET. We encourage you to look around.