attendees at ornithology conferenceSeven ornithologists from the University of Windsor were among more than 800 researchers from 45 countries in London, Ont., for a joint meeting of the American Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists. Photo by G. Mitchell.

Bird researchers soar at international ornithological conference

University of Windsor researchers were high-flyers at the joint meeting of the American Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists last week in London, Ont.

More than 800 ornithologists from 45 countries gathered for the conference and heard seven representatives of the University of Windsor present findings on bird ecology and conservation.

“Our research team presented five research posters and five spoken papers at this conference,” said Dan Mennill, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. “It was a thrill to see UWindsor undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs present their findings to this large audience.”

The two ornithological societies meet annually to share findings on the latest bird research.

“It was an incredible experience,” according to Nelsy Niño, a PhD student in Dr. Mennill’s laboratory. “It was very rewarding to spend a week learning about outstanding science and to discuss research ideas with ornithologists worldwide.”

Niño presented a research talk and a poster and interacted with other ornithologists from around the globe.

“Getting to know people that are also interested in creating a supporting community was a highlight of the conference,” said Niño.

For Sarika Sharma, an undergraduate researcher, it was the first conference in her career.

“It was both overwhelming and invigorating to be surrounded by the many branches of ornithological research all at once,” said Sharma. “I was proud to have this as my first conference experience!”

In addition to the science shared by Mennill’s research team, there were accolades for University of Windsor ornithologists past and present.

Five ornithologists with ties to Windsor were named elective members of the American Ornithological Society: alumni Alana Demko (PhD 2019), Zach Gayk (PhD 2021), and Brendan Graham (PhD 2017), and postdocs Jenn Foote and Natalie Sanchez. Elective Members are chosen for making significant contributions to ornithology.

The society voted alumnus Luis Sandoval (PhD 2014) a Fellow for his exceptional and sustained contributions to ornithology.

Mennill has been a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society since 2013.

“To see so many Windsor-based researchers elected within this society reflects our university’s outstanding and long-running contributions to bird ecology and conservation research,” he said.