Internship: Avian Care and Education

The Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia, Inc. (ACCA) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the region’s wild birds through research, education, and rehabilitation. Each year the ACCA treats more than 400 injured and displaced wild birds of more than 50 species, conduct dozens of environmental education programs with thirteen non-releasable ambassador birds, and sponsors research projects focusing on avian conservation. This internship is most appropriate for students interested in animal training, husbandry of wild birds living under human care, and environmental education and interpretation.


  • Assist the ACCA’s avian trainers and educators with routine care of ambassador birds
  • Prepare bird diets, monitor dietary consumption, and assist weighing birds
  • Assist with coping beaks and talons
  • Research and construct or modify (if necessary) appropriate perching
  • Monitor bird enclosures for cleanliness and safety; repair, clean, and disinfect as necessary
  • Assist with on-site and off-site educational presentations
  • Cooperate, collaborate, and communicate with other interns and ACCA volunteers and staff

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the internship, the intern should know:

  • Appropriate housing, dietary, and husbandry requirements of a variety of bird species
  • The basics of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement methods for training birds
  • Strategies for communicating effectively with colleagues and supervisors
  • The basics of interpretation, including strategies for conducting effective and inspiring educational presentations and displays for different audiences

Recommended Resources

Arent, Lori. Raptors in Captivity (book)

Friedman, Susan G. Behavior Works:

International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators Position Statements:

Natural Encounters, Inc.: TEC Talks:

Pryor, Karen. Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching & Training (book)

To Apply:

Send by email attachment a resume including a brief objective statement about what you hope to learn from this internship. Also, please send the dates that you would be able to start and finish the internship and include approximately how many hours per week you plan to devote to the internship. (Most undergraduate summer interns work 10-20 hours per week from May until August.) Email application materials to Katie Fallon. Please note that our internships are unpaid at this time.