What do you call a bird doctor?
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Most of my interest in bi... um, no, wait a minute, virtually all of my interest in birds comes from the fact that they are the direct descendants of the dinosaurs. However, it's not enough to make me want to study them. Mostly because they are just about the stupids animals, as a class, in existence. With the exception of fish, which make birds look brilliant. And don't start on me about how smart birds are, because they're just not. This isn't my opinion. On the animal intelligence scale, birds are way down there. Waaay down there. Right above fish.
I suppose that doesn't say much for the intelligence of dinosaurs. Oh, well...
Even stupid animals are deserving of study.
Ornithology is actually very important in its relation to climate studies. The health of bird populations, which is fairly easy to detect within an ecosystem, is indicative of the health of the ecosystem itself. So, although birds are dumb, they're important. And I could take this moment to go off on an ecological rant, but I won't. Just know that I could.
Yeah, that sums it up.
How does one become an ornithologist?
Well, most of the sources I looked at started with "Have a love for birds." That sounds pretty reasonable, but I don't think that's necessarily accurate. One of my wife's college roommates was deathly afraid of birds. No, I don't know if it was related to
Schooling is also not exactly a prerequisite, but it certainly helps in getting hired on at places. Audubon, a pioneer in ornithology, was mostly self-taught through direct observation. Of course, that was nearly 200 years ago. A more certain course is to get a degree in zoology or something similar and go from there. You can get work with just an undergraduate degree, but, of course, the more schooling you have, the better your chances. It really depends upon how exclusively you want to work with our fine, feathered friends. Really, ornithology only requires that you study birds. You could have one of many related careers (geneticist, ecologist, wildlife biologist) and be classified as an ornithologist, also.