Is becoming a bird trainer right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do bird trainers do?

Still unsure if becoming a bird trainer is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a bird trainer or another similar career!

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How to become a bird trainer

Becoming a bird trainer typically involves a combination of education, experience, and specialized training. Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a bird trainer:

  • Gain a solid foundation in biology or a related field: Obtaining a bachelor's degree in biology, zoology, animal behavior, or a similar field can provide you with a strong scientific background and understanding of animal behavior, physiology, and ecology. This knowledge is crucial for working effectively with birds.
  • Acquire hands-on experience with birds: Seek opportunities to gain practical experience with birds. Look for internships, volunteer positions, or part-time jobs at zoos, aviaries, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or bird-related organizations. This hands-on experience will help you develop essential skills in bird handling, husbandry, and behavior observation.
  • Pursue additional training and certifications: There are specialized training programs and certifications available for bird trainers. Look for workshops, courses, or certifications offered by reputable organizations such as the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE). These programs provide in-depth training in bird training techniques, behavior management, enrichment, and welfare.
  • Network and seek mentorship: Connect with professionals already working in the field of bird training. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars related to avian behavior and training. Engage with professional organizations such as IAATE and participate in their events. Building relationships with experienced bird trainers can provide valuable guidance, advice, and potential job opportunities.
  • Develop a diverse skill set: Besides bird training, develop other relevant skills such as public speaking, educational program development, and animal care. These additional skills can enhance your value as a bird trainer and open up opportunities in educational or outreach programs.
  • Apply for bird training positions: Keep an eye out for job openings at zoos, aviaries, wildlife centers, and other institutions that work with birds. Tailor your resume to highlight relevant experience, education, and training. Be prepared to demonstrate your practical skills during interviews or auditions, showcasing your ability to handle and train birds effectively.

Helpful Resources
There are several helpful resources available for bird trainers. Here are a few that you may find beneficial:

  • International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE): IAATE is a professional organization dedicated to promoting avian training, welfare, and education. They provide resources, networking opportunities, and access to workshops, conferences, and annual symposiums where bird trainers can enhance their skills and knowledge.
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA): AZA is an accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums in the US. They offer resources, training programs, and publications related to animal care, including bird training. The AZA website provides access to articles, guidelines, and best practices for animal training and welfare.
  • Avian Behavior International (ABI): ABI is an organization focused on avian behavior and training. They offer online courses, seminars, and workshops on various topics related to avian training and behavior management. Their resources cover a range of bird species and training techniques.
  • The Parrot Society of America (PSA): PSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare and conservation of parrots. They provide educational materials, articles, and publications related to parrot behavior, training, and care. Membership in PSA grants access to their resources and allows for networking with other avian enthusiasts.
  • Online Communities and Forums: Engaging with online communities and forums can be a valuable resource for bird trainers. Websites such as Avian Avenue, Parrot Forum, and BirdTricks provide platforms for connecting with other bird trainers, sharing experiences, and seeking advice or guidance on various bird training topics.
  • Books and Publications: There are several books available that focus on bird training, behavior, and care. Some recommended titles include "The Parrot Problem Solver: Finding Solutions to Aggressive Behavior" by Barbara Heidenreich, "Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training" by Karen Pryor, and "The Complete Guide to Successful Parrot and Cockatiel Keeping" by Nikki Moustaki. These books can provide valuable insights and practical tips for bird trainers.