Avian Ecologist

Job Description:

An avian ecologist studies the behaviour, ecology, and conservation of bird species within their natural habitats.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

As an avian ecologist, you will be:

  • Conducting fieldwork to study bird behavior, breeding patterns, migration, and habitat use
  • Gathering data on bird populations, including population sizes, distribution, and health
  • Assessing and monitoring bird habitats to understand their ecological needs and threats
  • Observing and documenting bird behaviors such as nesting, feeding, mating, and communication
  • Tracking bird migration routes and studying the factors influencing migration
  • Analysing population trends, identifying factors affecting bird populations, and proposing conservation strategies
  • Developing and implementing conservation plans to protect endangered bird species and their habitats
  • Analysing collected data using statistical tools and software to draw ecological insights
  • Collaborating with other researchers, conservationists, and organizations to share knowledge and work towards conservation goals
  • Educating the public about avian ecology, conservation efforts, and the importance of bird habitats
  • Contributing to policy decisions by providing scientific insights on bird populations and habitats
  • Publishing research findings in scientific journals and presenting at conferences to contribute to the scientific community’s knowledge
  • Sharing expertise through teaching, workshops, and public lectures
  • Utilising technology like tracking devices and remote sensing to study bird movements and behaviors
  • Ensuring ethical treatment of birds and minimizing disturbances during research


You will need:

  • knowledge in ornithology, ecology, conservation biology and technology
  • knowledge in field techniques, habitat management and environmental impact assessment
  •  knowledge in migration behaviour, data analysis, GIS and climate change impact
  • knowledge in ethics, communication, collaboration and continuing education

As well as:

  • the ability to pay attention to detail
  • observation and interpretation skills
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • empathy and patience
  • effective communication skills
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work with others (teamwork skills)
  • time management (organisational skills)
  • ethics and cultural sensitivity
  • public outreach and networking skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

While specific GCSE subjects are not prerequisites for becoming an avian ecologist, focusing on the following subjects can provide a strong foundation for pursuing a career in ecology and ornithology:

  1. Biology: Understanding the principles of life and ecosystems is fundamental for studying bird species and their habitats.
  2. Chemistry: Basic knowledge of chemistry can aid in understanding environmental factors affecting birds.
  3. Geography: Learning about ecosystems, climate, and geographical features can be beneficial.
  4. Environmental Science: Gaining insights into environmental issues, conservation, and ecosystems.
  5. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for data analysis and ecological modeling.
  6. English: Strong communication skills, both written and oral, are essential for presenting research findings.
  7. Physical Education (PE): Developing a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology can be valuable.

Remember, while these subjects provide a foundation, pursuing higher education in ecology, ornithology, or related fields at the university level is typically necessary to become a professional avian ecologist.

To become an avian ecologist, you generally need the following qualifications and requirements:


  • A bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, ornithology, environmental science, or a related field is typically the minimum requirement.
  • For advanced research positions or academic roles, a master’s or Ph.D. degree is often necessary.

Research Experience

Gaining practical fieldwork experience through internships, research assistant positions, or volunteer work is valuable.


Developing expertise in avian ecology through coursework, research, and projects related to bird species.

Grant Writing and Funding

For research positions, the ability to secure funding through grant writing can be important.


Building connections within the scientific community for collaborative opportunities.

Working Hours and Environment:

Avian ecologists have varied working hours, conducting fieldwork outdoors during different seasons, collaborating with teams, analyzing data in offices, and engaging in conservation efforts and outreach to protect bird species and their habitats.

Career Path & Progression:

A typical career path for an avian ecologist often begins with entry-level positions such as research assistants or field technicians, then progresses to roles as project coordinators, research scientists, or academic faculty, and can advance further into leadership positions, specialized research areas, or policy-making roles in conservation organizations or government agencies.