Knowing the historical process of how one of the natural sciences, ornithology, has developed is key to understanding and deciding what steps should be taken in order to incorporate it as a science more applied to the conservation of biological diversity. The High Andes (>3500 m) are recognized as an area of high biological endemism, but also of vulnerability, especially within a context of climate change. This article briefly discusses the development of ornithology in a section of the high Andes of northern Peru, consisting mainly of the cordilleras Blanca, Negra, Huallanca and Huayhash in the departments of Ancash, Lima and Huánuco. We will see that, from the earliest pre-Incan civilizations, birds were represented in iconography of the Chavín culture, and that during the first expeditions (1844-1983), discoveries were made of new species that are currently endemic to Peru, but are threatened and have conservation priority. Subsequent biogeographic studies (1987-2011) and recent ecological studies of the bird communities and ecosystems seek their application to the management and conservation of several threatened species. In total, 239 species are reported, with 23 endemic to Peru, 12 considered threatened on the IUCN Red List, two introduced and 21 migratory birds that spend their non-breeding season in these areas. It is hoped that this review will (1) provide an understanding of the development of ornithology in one of the principal centers of High Andean ornithological endemism and, ltimately, (2) contribute to defining future lines of applied research, especially those that contribute to improving actions of prevention and mitigation of climate change in the biological diversity of tropical mountain ecosystems.