Bird Life and Behavior

Soar into the captivating and varied world of birds! Bird Life and Behavior guides students through expert ornithologists’ research as they learn how birds use their physical and behavioral traits to survive. Through this course, students will develop a better understanding of the feeding behaviors of birds, how they use their unique sensory abilities, migration and navigation to survive extreme weather and urban environments, and how they have continued to survive for more than 200 million years!

Course Name: Bird Life and Behavior

Course Number: EDUC 712E

 Semester Credits: 3

Course Description

It’s tough to be a bird! They face arduous challenges every moment of every day. Using only senses and instincts, they must find food, migrate, withstand the weather, and avoid predators – all while competing with each other and countless other species for survival. Now, after evolving for more than 200 million years, birds are challenged by a new set of obstacles resulting from encounters with humans and climate change. How do birds survive in the face of these trials? Guided by expert ornithological research, students will learn how the struggle for survival has shaped birds and their behavior.

Students will learn that birds can navigate via the sun, stars, and even by smell. In noisy environments, birds can change their songs, and their remarkable vision allows them to see into the ultraviolet range. These are just three examples of the amazing abilities of birds! Concepts covered include bird’s foraging behaviors, sensory abilities, how birds fly, migration and navigation, surviving extreme weather, bird communities, adapting to human influences, and much more.

Through this course, you will discover how birds have conquered every environment, and you will gain an understanding of how and why bird populations continue to fall worldwide. Learning about these magnificent creatures and realizing the need for more significant conservation efforts will allow for the continued survival of our feathered neighbors.


  • The student will gain a better understanding of the sensory abilities of birds.
  • Students will learn how birds fly, migrate, and learn about the adaptive advantage of flight.
  • The student will learn about foraging behavior and how bill shape denotes feeding types.
  • The student will learn theories of bird migration and communication behavior.
  • The student will become familiar with weather survival strategies.
  • The student will learn about bird communities and how they live together.
  • The student will gain a greater understanding of the challenge birds face in the shadow of human populations and climate change. 

Course Contents

  • Birds, Beaks, and Bellies: The whys and wherefores of foraging.
  • Can You See UV: How birds employ their sensory abilities.
  • Ups and Downs: The animals that conquered the air.
  • Travel Hither and Yon: Migration and navigation in an endless sky.
  • Weather Survival Strategies: Enduring heat, cold, wind, and rain.
  • Bird Communities: How birds live together.
  • Human Influences: What we do to birds.

Evidence of Learning Outcomes

Upon completing Bird Life and Behavior, the student will have demonstrated knowledge of birds and their behavior, bird conservation, how birds adapt to their environment, navigate, and other fascinating topics. 

How to Register

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of Bird Life and Behavior? Students can complete this three-semester credit course online or via an emailed PDF format. All books and materials are mailed to the student regardless of the format selected. Like all courses offered through Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, this course features online chat support and quick grading turnaround times. This course is open for registration at any time during each semester. Upon completion, students receive graduate, non-degree semester credit on official transcripts from the University of La Verne, an accredited university in La Verne, California.

Registration is simple and can be done online or over the phone. Courses are available on a rolling basis during three standard semesters, and you can begin whenever you are ready! Students may enroll in up to a maximum of 15-semester credits at any time during each semester.

The registration dates are:

Fall: September 1 – January 31

Spring: February 1 – May 31

Summer: June 1 – August 31

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