Instructor: Dr. L. S. Jernigan, Jr.
Office: Oxendine 2231
Phone: 910-521-6884

Course Description

This course is designed to familiarize students with the major groupings of birds, basics of flight, adaptations, behavior, and birding “hot spots” in North Carolina. Emphasis will be placed on field identification techniques and habitat associations

Course Objectives

As a part of the General Education curriculum, this course assists with development of critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as providing a general knowledge of principles and concepts that assist with understanding and appreciation of birds around us.

This course should enable you to understand key concepts, general principles, and terminology fundamental to ornithology. You should develop a foundation for field identification of birds and an understanding of characteristics unique to them. We will study habitat associations of various species of birds and relevant biotic and abiotic factors.


Class attendance is required and will be monitored. Regardless of the reason, when a student is absent from class, he/she is still responsible for any material covered, announcements, handouts, or tests.

Students are allowed absence from two weeks of class meetings without a penalty. Two weeks of class meetings are defined as 6 class periods for a MWF class or 4 class periods for MF or TR class. Excused absences do not exist. Tardiness and leaving early will result in penalty absences (3 late arrivals, 3 early departures or a combination of the two that totals 3 will equal 1 absence). For each class period missed in excess of the above mentioned allowance, 1.5 points will be deducted from the student’s final average.

Course Requirements and Evaluation

Always bring your textbook to class. Students should complete assigned readings prior to the topics being covered in class. Student participation during lectures is expected and encouraged. Students are responsible for being aware of any changes in course schedule or content announced during their absences.

Student performance will be evaluated via 3 lecture exams and a final exam (15% each), lab practicals (20%), and a “journal” (20%). See journal handout for more details.. Make-up of a missed exam or lab practical will be allowed for reasonable excuses and will only be given at the end of the semester. Attendance, attitude, and evidence of effort will be considered in determining final grades in borderline cases. You should read and be familiar with the UNC-P Honor Code in the Student Handbook.

Exams will cover lecture notes, assigned readings, and any additional handouts. The format of the exams will be multiple choice and discussion questions.

The course grading scale is as follows (same as the university):

A = 93 - 100 A- = 90 - 92
B+ = 87 - 89 B = 83 - 86 B- = 80 - 82
C+ = 77 - 79 C = 73 - 76 C- = 70 - 72
D+ = 67 - 69 D = 63 - 66 D- = 60 - 62
F = below 60

Disability Support Services

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first class week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. This syllabus is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, DF Lowry Bldg., 521-6695.

Dr. L. S. Jernigan, Oxendine 2231, Phone: 521-6884

Week Beginning
Lecture Topic
9 Jan
Syllabus; A Short History of Ornithology
Chap 1
16 Jan
Monday Holiday=Martin Luther King, Jr.; Systematics and Evolution of Birds
Chap 2; Handout
23 Jan
Systematics and Evolution of Birds cont’d.;
Chap 2
30 Jan
Review; EXAM 1; Topography; Feathers and Flight
Chap 3 & 4
6 Feb
Skeletal Adaptations for Flight; Diversity of Birds
Chap 5
13 Feb
Behavior: Feeding, Communication (visual and vocal)

pps.241-242 & 248-258

20 Feb
Behavior: Cycles and Migration; Review
pps.266-273 7 292
27 Feb
EXAM 2; Social Behavior
6 Mar
13 Mar
Reproduction; Nests & IncubationMates;
pps. 219-227 & 230-236
20 Mar
Demography: Species, Populations and Communities
27 Mar
Species, Populations and Communities cont’d.; Review
3 Apr
10 Apr
Endangered Species; Good Friday Holiday
17 Apr
24 Apr
Review; Apr 28 = Last Day of Classes
1 May
FINAL EXAM - Monday - May 1 @ 2:30pm

Lecture Text: Manual of Ornithology, Noble S. Proctor and Patrick J. Lynch

Lab Text: Birds of Eastern and Central North America, 5th Edition, Roger Tory Peterson

Lab and Lecture: Oxendine 2114