The study of birds, or as laymen call it, birdwatching, has been a hobby of many people. But did you know that that is not only a hobby but a separate branch of science? Zoology includes birdwatching, to be exact. And although there is no diploma like for the latter, you may take up a Bachelor of Science in zoology and focus more on the study of birds.
It may seem as if it’s only a pastime, but the research of birds, known as ornithology, is significant as a scientific branch. To know more about what avian biology is and what it teaches us, keep reading the sections below.
The scientific study of birds is known as ornithology. As part of the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and class Aves, birds are vertebrates that have hollow skeletal structures and feathers. That is what separates them from other animals.
In school, you’ve indeed learned that birds have hollow bones, which makes it easy for them to fly. Biology textbooks have specially dedicated sections that teach students about this part of the animal kingdom. But literature is not the only way to study this.
Ornithologists gain expertise in bird identification, ecological studies, and habitat management through coursework, fieldwork, and scientific investigations. Some teachers use videos of educational speeches to illustrate the importance of ornithology to students. Usually, a speech like that is written by professional speech writers, so when you have to write similar persuasive writing for school or some extracurricular activity, you turn to a pro writer for help. Through such type of speech and teaching, you will learn many things. For starters, the bird’s hollow bones make them lightweight, and the feathers allow them to fly.
However, some species are flightless, like penguins and ostriches. For them, the feathers serve as insulation and camouflage.
The study of ornithology is not just about learning the biological aspects and what differentiates them from other animals. In fact, this branch of zoology studies so much more. From their evolution, migration, and navigation to their metabolism, nutrition, reproduction, and more. It’s safe to say that ornithologists study everything about birds.
There are plenty of avid birdwatching communities that enjoy learning more about different kinds of birds. Later, they take their findings and gather them in research papers, documenting their analysis for further studies.
For example, Ornithology Research is the journal of the Brazilian Society of Ornithology. Here, you may find different papers and publications on various birds. Although that one focuses on the Neotropical region, birdwatchers are also open to studies worldwide.
Of course. As part of biology, a natural science discipline, ornithology is a science. The name itself also implies this. Namely, it comes from the Latin word “ornithologia,” which translates to “the scientific study of birds.”
Now that you have the answer to the question, “What is ornithology?” it’s time to dive deeper and see what it actually teaches us.
Studying birds may seem like a dull thing, but it is crucial for several reasons. It teaches us more about human history, as well as how they affect the overall ecosystem and contribute to biodiversity.
Throughout history, humans used animals for different purposes to ease their lives. Livestock was used for feeding and working, while other animals, like dogs, were used for guarding and hunting. Even birds played a role in human evolution.
There have been times when birds were the core diet. Moreover, bird bones also tell us to what extent the birds were used and whether they inhabited certain areas. It later helps in understanding the climate and ecological change that occurred with time.
For instance, some bird bones show that these animals inhabited wetlands, but today, those areas are completely drained. By studying their migration, we can see how the world changed and how humans adapted to it.