Curator of Ornithology

Organization: The Wildlife Conservation Society (AZA Member)
Location: Bronx, New York, New York, United States
Job or Internship: Job

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is seeking an exceptional candidate for the Curator of Ornithology position at the Bronx Zoo. The successful candidate must have a proven background in aviculture; extensive experience caring for, breeding and exhibiting a wide variety of bird species in a zoo setting is essential. The Curator also must be capable of managing a large and diverse staff. This individual will be responsible for promoting the mission of WCS and directing all aspects of the daily operations of the Bird Department. The Curator will be responsible for upholding and maintaining the WCS tradition of excellence in animal care and husbandry, exhibitry, and guest experience; interfacing with all WCS departments and divisions as the chief representative and advocate for the Bird Department; and providing leadership to AZA conservation programs. The Ornithology Curator also will be an integral member of the WCS Zoos and Aquarium management team.

The Curator will work under the supervision of the General Curator to develop a comprehensive management program for the Bird Department. The Curator will be responsible for linking the department’s bird collection with the WCS integrated collection plan, and be responsible for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the bird collection throughout the department. This person will also work closely with staff in various WCS departments and divisions as necessary to facilitate the operation of the department, create exciting new exhibits, and coordinate and oversee the department’s research activities. The successful candidate will also help coordinate bird husbandry issues among all WCS City Zoos to ensure consistent application of animal care practice, policies and procedures.

The Ornithology Curator will be responsible for creating and maintaining the department’s annual operating and capital budgets. This person also will serve as a standing member of the WCS Animal Management Committee, the WCS Safety Committee, and other internal and external boards and committees as appropriate.

Principal responsibilities for the position include:

• Manage all aspects of the operation and maintenance of the Ornithology Department in accordance with WCS policies and standards.

• Maintain the Society’s standards for excellence in animal care and management. Work with the staff of the Wildlife Health Sciences Department and other WCS animal department staffs to assure the physical and psychological health and well-being of the animal collection.

• Recommend acquisition/disposition of animals and meld the department’s animal collection into the WCS integrated collection plan.

• Help to create the best possible guest experience at Ornithology Department installations and other exhibits under the department’s guidance.

• Be responsible for the hiring, evaluation, and discipline of all department staff. Aid in training of staff in animal husbandry techniques and handling of dangerous animals.

• Formally disseminate information to Ornithology Department staff via publishing department newsletters, setting up and chairing keeper meetings, developing orientation programs, and providing feedback on job performance in an effort to keep lines of communication between staff and keepers as open as possible.

• Supervise and evaluate intern and volunteer activities within the department as part of our effort to provide training for future zoologists.

• Participate in and provide leadership to AZA conservation programs (e.g., SSPs and TAGs) and be involved with other conservation organizations as necessary for the betterment of the department and Society.

• Communicate on a regular basis with scientific staff from other zoological parks (and WCS facilities) to learn about information that will enhance the management of the animal collection or assist other institutions with their collections.

• Develop new exhibit ideas and suggest upgrades and improvements for existing exhibits. Participate as a member of exhibit/holding facility design teams to insure that proposed designs of animal facilities are appropriate and acceptable for the bird collection, and oversee acclimatization of animals to those exhibits and holding areas.

• Communicate with and assist other departments that interact regularly with the Ornithology Department (e.g. Wildlife Health Center, Animal Records, the other animal departments, Operations and the various shops, EGAD, Marketing and Public Relations, etc).

• Develop enrichment and operant conditioning training strategies for the animals in the department and work with the Curator of Behavioral Sciences and the Ornithology Department’s collections manager and supervisor to implement these plans.

• Help to develop new avian conservation programs and maintain existing programs and projects including the Flamingo Initiative and maleo propagation. Help to develop ex-situ avian conservation programs in appropriate WCS landscapes, in cooperation with the Wildlife Health team and Global Field Programs. Help to contribute to locally-based avian research projects.

• Conduct appropriate ex-situ and in-situ animal studies, and disseminate results by writing papers for professional and popular publications and giving presentations to professional and lay audiences.

• Create and manage the Ornithology Department capital and operating budgets.

• Prepare, or supervise the preparation of reports, records, data collection, and other miscellaneous paperwork in routine operation of the department or as requested by the General Curator or EVP & Director, Bronx Zoo.

• Write grants aimed at securing funding for avian conservation projects.

• Represent the Ornithology Department and Society at professional conferences, meetings and the media and required or as directed by the General Curator and/or EVP & Director, Bronx Zoo.

• Work to actively promote the WCS mission.

• Contribute to, enlarge and uphold WCS’s Equal Employment Opportunities policies.


• The successful candidate will possess an advanced degree in Biology, Zoology, or related science. Individuals with a B.A. or B.S. with an exceptional record will be considered. Practical experience in aviculture and managing an animal collection and animal care staff are essential.

• A proven background in aviculture, with extensive experience caring for, breeding and exhibiting a wide variety of bird species in a zoo setting, is essential.

• The care and welfare of the animal collection is the highest priority. Must be the department’s chief animal welfare advocate and possess strong ethical standards.

• Demonstrated skill in scientific research is desirable. Should conduct and maintain a level of applicable science research and encourage the same pursuit with departmental staff. Should have published and possess the desire to continue doing so.

• Individual should be dynamic, engaging, energetic, and capable of communicating effectively with large audiences or small groups. Person must be a team builder and encourage all staff to accept and participate in creating and maintaining the best quality of life for the animals in the collection through an integrated husbandry program. EOE, M/F/D/V

Benefit package will be commensurate with experience. Please visit for a complete job description and instructions on how to apply online