how to become a bird handler

In this episode, we discuss some helpful tactics we’ve observed working with entry-level animal trainers and other caregivers to gain a foothold in the cutthroat field of bird care science. We even share some of our unconventional resume and interview tips with you because we want to help you stand out and discover your passion!

Whichever route you select, be mindful of the source of your instruction and training at all times. One-on-one conversations with professionals and experts in the field and in academia will always be preferable to videos, blogs, and even online courses. Neither will they ever replace practical experience.

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The animal field can be pretty competitive. To be different and do what’s best for the animal under your care requires integrity. This holds true for academics, researchers, and even people who work closely with animals, like dog groomers and breeders. Since it is so simple to be overcome by the stress that comes with working in this industry, money can never take the place of integrity.

It turns out that there are many different kinds of jobs, and that you can also make your own way in this day and age if you have a passion for birds and want to dedicate your life to sharing it with others.

Is becoming a bird trainer right for me?

A combination of education, experience, and specialized training is usually required to become a bird trainer. The following actions can be taken to seek a career in bird training:

  • Get a strong foundation in biology or a related field: You can gain a solid understanding of animal behavior, physiology, and ecology by earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, animal behavior, or a related field. This knowledge is crucial for working effectively with birds.
  • Get practical experience working with birds: Look for opportunities to get hands-on experience working with birds. Seek for volunteer opportunities, internships, or part-time work at aviaries, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation facilities, or organizations that support birds. You will gain practical experience in handling birds, taking care of them, and observing their behavior.
  • Get more education and certifications: For bird trainers, there are specialized courses and certifications available. Seek out certifications, workshops, or courses from respectable establishments like the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE). These courses offer comprehensive instruction in behavior control, enrichment, welfare, and bird training methods.
  • Make connections and look for mentorship: Get in touch with experts who are currently engaged in the field of bird training. Participate in training sessions, workshops, and conferences about avian behavior. Join professional associations like IAATE and take part in their activities. Developing connections with knowledgeable bird trainers can lead to useful direction, counsel, and even employment opportunities.
  • Create a varied skill set: In addition to bird training, learn public speaking, creating educational programs, and taking care of animals. These extra abilities can increase your worth as a bird trainer and present chances for involvement in outreach or educational initiatives.
  • Look for job openings at zoos, aviaries, wildlife centers, and other establishments that work with birds and apply for positions that involve training birds. Tailor your resume to highlight relevant experience, education, and training. During interviews or auditions, be ready to showcase your practical skills and your ability to effectively handle and train birds.

Beneficial Resources Bird trainers can access a number of beneficial resources. Here are a few that you may find beneficial:

  • The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) is a professional association whose mission is to advance education, welfare, and training for birds. They offer tools, chances for networking, and entry to yearly symposiums, conferences, and workshops where bird trainers can advance their expertise.
  • The US zoos and aquariums are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). They provide publications, training courses, and tools for caring for animals, including bird training. Articles, policies, and best practices for animal training and welfare can be found on the AZA website.
  • Avian Behavior International (ABI): ABI is a training and behavior organization for birds. They provide webinars, workshops, and online courses on a range of subjects pertaining to behavior control and avian training. A variety of bird species and training methods are covered by their resources.
  • The Parrot Society of America (PSA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and promote parrot welfare. They offer publications, articles, and educational materials about parrot behavior, care, and training. Joining PSA gives you access to their resources and facilitates networking with other bird lovers.
  • Participating in online communities and forums can prove to be an invaluable asset for avian trainers. Websites like Parrot Forum, Avian Avenue, and BirdTricks offer forums for conversing with other bird trainers, exchanging experiences, and looking for direction or advice on a range of bird training subjects.
  • Books and Publications: A number of books are available that address the care, behavior, and training of birds. “Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training” by Karen Pryor, “The Parrot Problem Solver: Finding Solutions to Aggressive Behavior” by Barbara Heidenreich, and “The Complete Guide to Successful Parrot and Cockatiel Keeping” by Nikki Moustaki are a few recommended books. For those who train birds, these books can offer insightful analysis and useful advice.

how to become a bird handler


How do you start falconry?

New falconers are required to have a sponsor for at least the first two years. New falconers are called Apprentices and serve under either a General or Master class falconer. Federal regulations (United States) require that you be at least 12 years of age. Some states require you to be older.

How long does it take to learn falconry?

Falconry is not an “overnight” achievement. Becoming a Master falconer takes at least seven years; finishing your apprenticeship alone will take at least two. Your hawk requires a significant amount of time, every day, 365 days a year, and a bird in training requires substantially more time.

Is falconry legal in the US?

Falconry is legal in every state except Hawaii and is the most heavily regulated field sport in the United States. The combination of federal and state regulations that guide the practice of the sport today are in place to protect the birds and to ensure that the sport is practiced at its highest levels.

Is falconry legal in California?

A licensee may use raptors in his or her possession for training purposes, education, field meets, and media (filming, photography, advertisements, etc.), as noted in 50 CFR 21, if the licensee possesses the appropriate valid federal permits, as long as the raptor is primarily used for falconry and the activity is …