Eight Degrees For People With A Passion For Birds

Published on: March 14, 2024

Birds are fascinating creatures that captivate scientists and enthusiasts with their diversity and behavior. From the incredible migrations that some species undertake to the complex courtship rituals of others, plenty of interesting and intriguing behaviors are associated with birds. Some species are also incredibly intelligent, while others have evolved unique ways to adapt to survival in diverse habitats. Whether you want to study birds for scientific reasons or conservation, plenty of degrees are available to help you get started. 

How To Get Started?

Many people's passion for birds starts as a hobby before progressing to a career. If you are still determining whether or not this is an interesting career field for you, there are some ways to get started before enrolling for a degree. Check for local bird-watching clubs in your area where you can spend time learning from other people who have a passion for birds or sign up for workshops that can teach you the basics. Many nonprofit wildlife and conservation organizations also have a need for volunteers, which is a great way to gain experience in the field. 

Wildlife Biology

A popular choice amongst people with a passion for birds is a wildlife biology degree. This type of degree also has a few concentration options available, such as terrestrial, which focuses on birds and mammals and the habitats in which they live. It is typically a four-year degree program, with the first two years providing students with a basic background in biological sciences. Courses in ornithology are also often offered as part of a wildlife biology degree. Students who choose to focus on avian biology get to learn about the anatomy, physiology, and behavior of birds. 

Environmental Science

An environmental science degree is great for students with a passion for birds who want to pursue careers in conservation. Since this degree integrates concepts from other disciplines, such as biology, ecology, and geology, it can teach students about environmental issues and other factors influencing birds and their habitats. Some environmental science degree programs also offer students the option to complete a conservation biology and ecology course. 


Ecology degrees focus on the interactions between organisms and their environments, which is excellent for students who want to learn more about birds. Birds play an essential ecological role in nature, and an ecology degree offers the opportunity to learn more about their behavior and dynamics within this context. Since ecology is an interdisciplinary degree, students also learn more about other disciplines that can be useful for various careers involving birds.  

Wildlife Conservation and Management

A wildlife conservation and management degree can prepare students to work as wildlife biologists, managers, and ecologists for everything from government agencies to environmental nonprofits. It is a great choice for students who want to learn more about the types of threats to bird habitats and conservation strategies that can be used to protect them. This type of degree can enable students to make a positive impact and work in fields where their research can assist with protecting bird species and their habitats. 


Zoology degrees can introduce students to a wide variety of topics while allowing them to pursue individual interests. It is the scientific study of animals, including their classification, habits, and distribution, as well as the ways in which they interact with their ecosystems. Some zoology degrees allow students to choose ornithology as a specialization so the emphasis is on avian biology and diversity. This is great for students who want broad zoological training as well as specialist ornithological knowledge and skills. 

Conservation Biology

Another good option for students with a passion for birds and conservation is a conservation biology degree. This degree covers the biological, ecological, and related disciplines most relevant to the field of conservation. Conservation biology degrees also tend to be flexible, and students can tailor the program to their interests. Since conservation biology degrees often have fieldwork components, it is an excellent opportunity for students to observe birds in their natural habitats and participate in conservation efforts. 

Animal Behavior

Animal behavior is a degree that can teach students how animals think and learn and how they perceive their surroundings or process information. The degree covers the scientific methods used to study animal behavior, with many programs focussing on avian behavior. These include mating systems, communication, foraging, and social interactions. An animal behavior degree can lead to career paths involving research, teaching, wildlife management, conservation, veterinary medicine, and zoo management. 

Natural Resource Management

Students passionate about birds and want a career bridging human and environmental systems can benefit from a natural resource management degree. This degree can prepare them for the knowledge needed to participate in the decision-making process involving using or protecting natural systems. Maintaining healthy bird populations requires prioritizing biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, which falls under natural resource management. Natural Resource Management degrees typically include wildlife management coursework, which covers topics relevant to bird habitats and conservation strategies.  


The most straightforward career path for students with a passion for birds is to become an ornithologist. Ornithologists study the behavior, psychology, and conservation of birds and their habitats. You can choose to specialize in a particular species or keep your focus more generalized. In addition to working for land and wildlife agencies, many ornithologists work at zoos, wildlife parks, laboratories, or colleges, where they conduct research or teach others.

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