top of page


Dr. Bird is a past-president of the Raptor Research Foundation Inc., past-president of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, an elected Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union, a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Birding Association, an elected member representing Canada on the prestigious International Ornithological Committee, and recently, a member of the Board of Directors of Bird Studies Canada. He is the Founding Editor of a newly launched peer-reviewed publication, the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems and sits on the board of Unmanned Systems Canada, an organization dedicated to the use of unmanned vehicles.

Besides his innumerable public lectures and radio and television appearances, Dr. Bird was also a regular columnist on birds for The Gazette of Montreal and continues to write regular columns on birds for Bird Watchers Digest magazine and Canadian Wildlife magazine. In 2013 the Canadian Wildlife Federation honoured him with the Roland Michener Award for Wildlife Conservation.  His current pet project is to establish the Gray Jay as Canada’s National Bird in time for the country’s 150th birthday in 2017. 

In August 2017 the Society of Canadian Ornithologists honoured Dr. David Bird with its most prestigious award,
The Doris H. Speirs Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Canadian Ornithology. >>VIEW DETAILS>>


Recently retired as an Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and now living on Vancouver Island, Dr. David Bird has published 200 peer-reviewed papers and supervised 50 graduate students on a wide range of wildlife themes, including endangered species, toxicology, captive propagation of birds of prey, human-wildlife conflicts, and today, the application of UAVs to wildlife research and conservation.


He has taught several university-level courses, including ornithology, wildlife conservation, ethology, and scientific communication. He has written and/or edited no less than ten books, the most recent ones being ‘Birds of Eastern Canada’ and ‘Birds of Western Canada’ in 2013.

Lifetime Contributions to ORNITHOLOGY & BIRDS IN CANADA



(AS OF MARCH 2017)




B.Sc. (Honours Zoology), University of Guelph, 1973

M.Sc. (Wildlife Biology), McGill University, 1976

Ph.D. (Wildlife Biology), McGill University, 1978



From 1978 to 2013, a Full Professor of Wildlife Biology at McGill University and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre; now retired as an Emeritus Professor. Have authored and co-authored 193 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and refereed conference proceedings to date. Served as a co-editor on five refereed conference proceedings published as books. Main research interests over 40 years focused on raptorial birds, e.g. falcons, hawks, eagles, owls, etc.; managed a captive American kestrel colony during all four decades and published 122 peer-reviewed papers focusing specifically on that species in both field and laboratory. More recently, research interest has shifted to the application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (or drones) to avian species, e.g. censusing bird populations such as raptors, water birds and seabirds and monitoring their behavioural responses, mapping habitat of threatened birds, tracking birds, and dispersing nuisance birds. To date, published nine peer-reviewed papers on drones and wildlife, co-organized a day-long symposium with 17 speakers on drones and wildlife at the 2015 meeting of The Wildlife Society in Pittsburgh, and am co-editor of the referred on-line proceedings. Considered to be one of the top three experts in the world today on this subject and as such, have been invited to give 2 or 3 keynote or plenary talks and participate in panel discussions each year at international drone conferences over the last five years.




First in the world to produce a falcon from artificial insemination (AI) and first in the world to produce a falcon from AI with frozen-thawed semen. The first to undertake releases of peregrines in city environments, releasing about 50 of them on island of Montreal in 70s and 80s. Created the Peregrine Falcon Information Centre in Place Victoria in Montreal that ran over a span of several years. First to experimentally breed endangered loggerhead shrikes into captivity and release them into the wild. Participated as a member of the national recovery teams for both endangered peregrine falcons and loggerhead shrikes. Co-edited both editions of the Raptor Management and Research Techniques manual, now widely considered by many to be the “bible” for raptor biologists and managers all over the world.





Served as President of the Raptor Research Foundation Inc.; Past-President of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists, Past member of the board of directors of the American Birding Association for three terms; former board member now serving as ex-officio for Unmanned Systems Canada. Elected as a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union in 1996 and as a Fellow of the International Ornithological Union (formerly Committee) in 1998 Organized the Raptor Research Foundation annual meeting and co-organized the American Ornithologists’ Union annual meeting in Montreal as well as organized numerous symposia and workshops on captive breeding of endangered birds, American kestrels, and the application of drones for wildlife research. Founded a new peer-reviewed scientific publication, the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, as part of the NRC Research Press series (now Canadian Science Publishing), for Unmanned Systems Canada, and currently serve as its chief editor.




Served several times as a consultant to the Quebec and federal governments on the issue of peregrine falcons nesting on major bridges crossing the St. Lawrence River. Conducted several surveys of peregrine falcons nesting in Ungava Bay and James Bay for the government of Quebec. Conducted several surveys on birds for mining projects in Quebec. Employed as a consultant on three wind turbine projects in Ontario and Quebec.




Produced a weekly nature report for CFCF-CTV, a major English television network in Quebec for 3 years and produced weekly television reports for The Discovery Channel (Canada) in 1995. Produced a weekly nature column on CJAD radio for 45 weeks in 1995. From 1984 to 2013, wrote a regular (weekly for 17 years and then monthly) column, Bird’s Eye-View, on birds in The Gazette, Quebec's only major English newspaper. During that period, logged countless hours on radio phone-in shows on wildlife for Montreal listeners mostly on CJAD and CBC. Still write a column on birds for two bimonthly magazines, Bird-Watchers' Digest and Canadian Wildlife. Founded and organized the Montreal Bird Festival in May 2000. For several years, co-taught a 3- to 5-day ornithology course for interested bird-lovers. Have authored three popular books with a focus on birds (City Critters: How to Live With Urban Wildlife (1986), Bird’s Eye View (1999), and two editions of The Bird Almanac (1999 and 2004). Co-authored a dozen raptor accounts for the Quebec Breeding Bird Atlas, First Edition, authored 62 species accounts for Birds of North America, and served as the consultant editor on five books (Birds of Canada 1st and 2nd Editions, Birds of Eastern Canada, Birds of Western Canada, and Pocket Birds of Canada). Hosted/led birding trips to several countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, India, Chile, Virgin Islands, Galapagos, Kenya and Uganda, and in both eastern and western Canada. Have given countless public lectures on birds at various festivals and annual meetings throughout North America as well as to audiences in Montreal and Victoria. Currently leading a team to establish the gray or Canada jay as Canada’s National Bird. Have done countless interviews in the print and electronic media. many recently for both the National Bird issue and drones for wildlife research, e.g. Popular Science, Le Monde, New York Times, CTV, CBC, and Global.



During employment as a professor at McGill University, supervised and co-supervised 50 graduate students (11 PhD and 39 MSc). Three former graduate students were highly instrumental in creating the McGill Bird Observatory. Several former graduate students now hold senior positions in both federal and provincial governments in Canada, e.g. Director of the National Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa, Bird Population Biologist for Environment Canada and Climate Change, Director of the Manitoba’s Wildlife Branch, a senior toxicologist in Environment Canada, and also in non-government organizations. Four former students from the U.S. have senior positions that deal with bird issues in that country. At McGill, lectured for 35 years to several hundred undergraduate students on ornithology, wildlife behaviour, science communication methods, and wildlife conservation and management, many of whom are now in graduate school or employed in North America and elsewhere in environmentally related jobs which help birds. Taught ornithology to McGill undergraduates in Kenya over a four-week period for 5 years.




Chosen as one of 500 Young Canadian Achievers to dine with Queen Elizabeth II at the Constitution Ceremonies, April 16, 1982. Inducted as a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary Club International in 1996; Received the Alumni Medal of Achievement from the University of Guelph Alumni Association, the lst Snowy Owl Award for Bird Conservation given by the Quebec Zoological Gardens and Quebec Ministry of Recreation, Fish and Game, the Award for Excellence in Alumni Education from McGill University, the Tom Cade Award from the Raptor Research Foundation for Significant Contributions to Captive Breeding and Conservation of Birds of Prey, the Quebec Education Award from Bird Protection Quebec, and the Roland Michener Conservation Award from the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

In August 2017 the Society of Canadian Ornithologists honoured Dr. David Bird with its most prestigious award,
The Doris H. Speirs Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Canadian Ornithology. >>VIEW DETAILS>>

More Information ABOUT DR. BIRD



Full CV:

bottom of page