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The Biology of Birds: Ecology and Conservation (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Immerse yourself in the wonderful diversity of bird life. Study how birds have evolved to survive in the multitude of habitats across our Earth. Learn about the threats that birds face and our efforts to conserve some of the most cherished animals on our planet.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker and an internet connection.

Content of Course

1. Avian foraging and competition.

Learn what birds eat and explore the diversity of foraging behaviours, to help understand their ecological interactions.

2. Populations and individuals (seabirds case study).

Explore what we can learn by counting and measuring nest success of individuals and how we can use this information to understand why bird populations change over time.

3. Bird conservation.

Discuss the value of birds in the world, and the scientific efforts underway to understand and protect them.

Teaching method(s)

Course delivered online.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe how birds interact with each other and the environment, and explain what we learn by studying individuals in populations;

  • Describe examples of differing foraging behaviours;

  • Recognise the importance of protecting birds and their habitats and identify what one can do to help conservation.


Core Readings


  • Lovette, I. and Fitzpatrick, J., eds. 2016. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.