Bird Conservation

Ph.D. candidate Natalia Lifshitz is using tree swallows to study the effects on plumage coloration or urban pollutants.  She hopes to develop a method for assessing pollution load in birds at remote sites using remote cameras. We described this vision in a review article; Coloured ornamental traits could be effective and non-invasive indicators of pollution exposure for wildlife (Liftshitz and St. Clair 2016).

The court-ordered Research on Avian Protection Project resulted from a creative sentence following the 2010 conviction in R v Syncrude.  The work occurred between 2011 and 2014 and addressed bird protection via detection, deterrence, and toxicology in the mineable oil sands.  It’s website contains links to the protocols and reports associated with a new standardized monitoring program, summaries of data (including maps, tables, and figures), and lists of publications by ourselves and others.

Darren Proppe (Ph.D. 2010) conducted several studies on the effects of road noise on forest birds and showed how black-capped chickadees can shift the pitches of their songs to avoid masking by traffic and do so with temporal resolution corresponding to day of the week and even hour of the day.  You’ll find Darren’s five Ph.D. publications on my Google Scholar publications page.

Marie Tremblay (Ph.D.), Heather Hinam (Ph.D.), Manon Dube (M.Sc.), Cam Gillies (Ph.D.), Marc Belisle (PDF) and I conducted earlier studies on bird movement and habitat selection in human-dominated landscapes.