Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 164
Course Title:
Bird ID and Ecology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the biology of birds of the Pacific Northwest. Emphasizes learning bird identification in the field by sight and sounds. Covers the study of avian ecology, natural history and behavior. Introduces field techniques for identifying and studying birds. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

1. Fieldwork Statement

Fieldwork is a professional competence in many areas of Biology. Standard field practices include measurements of abiotic and biotic components. Fieldwork includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field training may include developing skills in site characterization, measurement and data collection, application of key terms and concepts, species identification, and observation. Certain protocols may require use of equipment, chemicals, and expensive gear. Field training is experiential often leading to unique sets of observations/data in particular locations. Fieldwork may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, off-trail work with map & compass, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel, stress, etc.). Fieldwork can be physically challenging and may require overland travel on foot or unusual means to field points, carrying field equipment (as well as food, water, and safety equipment), taking measurements under duress (learning new protocols, requiring remaining in an unusual posture or position for a length of time, timing pressures for certain procedures, holding organisms, variable weather, etc.), survival skills, orienteering, and so on.

2. Evolution Statement

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Biology Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.

  1. Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  2. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Biology instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use knowledge of common Oregon bird species to develop further bird identification skills useful anywhere in the world. 
  • Continue studying bird populations, behavior, breeding biology, and ecology using field techniques. 
  • Apply knowledge of basic biology, ecology, evolution, anatomy and physiology of birds to furthering an understanding of these principles in other organisms. 
  • Continue to develop skills in science by understanding scientific principles and research. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Essay and multiple choice exams
  2. Maintain a detailed field notebook
  3. Weekly applications of laboratory and field experiences
  4. Independent research projects
  5. Bird identification tests in field and class
  6. Conduct independent research via scientific literature and/or in the field
  7. Write reports
  8. Oral presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts and Themes:

  1. Bird Identification
  2. Taxonomic relationships between birds with an evolutionary perspective
  3. Fundamental principles of ecology, anatomy and physiology, behavior
  4. Habitat associations of birds
  5. Important areas in the Pacific Northwest for birds
  6. Human interactions with birds and conservation of birds
  7. Field identification and study of birds
  8. Form and function of birds in relation to their environment

Process Skills (Competency skills):

  1. Read
  2. Knowledge of bird species of Pacific Northwest
  3. Write
  4. Apply scientific method
  5. Present conclusions logically in oral and written reports
  6. Develop field skills and techniques
  7. Locate and access information
  8. Think critically