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Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology

Credential Earned: 

Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology:

Study birds with the comprehensive ornithology course from the Cornell Lab using the Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd. Edition as your guide. Read each chapter in the Handbook, explore in more depth using the online materials embedded in this course, then take the exams to earn your badge and certificate.

The Course Experience:

Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology, from the Cornell Lab, will deepen your understanding of birds and help you master everything from anatomy and behavior to ecology and conservation. World-wide in scope, the experience will broaden your bird knowledge and give you a strong foundation in all things avian. You will be following in the footsteps of thousands of others who have transformed their perspective on birds with the predecessor to this course, The Home Study Course in Bird Biology, over its forty year history. Designed for those interested in learning college-level ornithology at your own pace, from anywhere, without the college credit price tag.

What’s Inside This Course:

This course steps you through each chapter from the textbook. Lessons contain a short video from your instructors introducing key insights and curated collections of online resources to expand your knowledge base. Exams are divided up into individual quizzes that take 15-20 minutes to complete and provide immediate feedback to correct misconceptions and reinforce important facts. An expanded online glossary helps you learn how to express yourself like an ornithologist. You will also have the opportunity to have your questions answered by course instructors.

Meet the Course Authors

Kevin McGowan

Dr. Kevin McGowan, Instructor

Kevin combines deep knowledge about birds with passion for helping others to learn. He is the Project Manager of Distance Learning in Bird Biology, and the instructor and author of many of Bird Academy’s online courses including the Be a Better Birder series. He has worked at Cornell University since 1988 and is one of the world’s foremost experts on the behavior of crows. He helped create the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds web site and wrote the original bird guide section.

Sarah Wagner

Dr. Sarah Wagner

After majoring in Environmental Education at Earlham College, Sarah spent a few years working on a variety of bird research projects before starting a PhD at the University of Colorado, Boulder. There, she studied the foraging behavior of Australian Honeyeaters to explore how a species’ natural history can be used to inform their conservation. During her graduate career, she taught a variety of college level courses and thoroughly enjoys combining outreach and research.

Cover of the Handbook of Bird Biology


Required Textbook, Sold Separately:

Written by the world’s leading ornithologists, the Handbook of Bird Biology is an essential reference to a thorough understanding of birds. For more than 40 years budding ornithologists and bird enthusiasts have been expanding their understanding of avian life with the Handbook. Newly revised and now in full color, the 700 page Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Ed. is the required text for this course, and is sold separately from the course. 

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