This blog is not intended as an all-inclusive course. For example, I also taught courses in Ecology and Evolution, so many fundamental aspects of those courses are not found here. It would be wise, then, to have a General Biology textbook, in case something is not fully explained here. I expected students taking this course to purchase an ornithology textbook. Later, students bought Thayer's CD-ROM disk, Birds of North America, that has a brief textbook embedded within it. Either way, you can go into various subjects in more depth or check out areas that may be neglected here. Students should also make extensive use of Google or other search engines. Clicking on many words in this blog will lead directly to Google, whence students can retype the term and see where Google takes you. Just don't forget to return to the course!
During a "normal" Ornithology course, students would have an extensive laboratory experience. I emphasize heavily field identification. Students should buy any field guide and spend up to four hours per week trying to identify birds. Field work is the skill that many students will use throughout their lives and makes an Ornithology course especially valuable. (What is a "normal" Ornithology course? I suspect that each ornithologist would come up with a different course, depending upon the interest of the scientist! This situation is certainly the case with this course.)
I received my Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. While there I took Ornithology courses from Dr. George H. Lowery, Jr., and Dr. James Van Remsen. In many ways, this course evolved from those graduate courses. This course is dedicated to my wife, Erika, without whose assistance and support, I would not have enjoyed a successful ornithological career.