Ornithology researchers win three top prizes at international conference

Placing three UWindsor graduate students among the top award recipients at the North American Ornithological Congress confirms the university as a centre of excellence for bird biology in North America, says professor Oliver Love.

Fourteen researchers represented the University of Windsor, including Dr. Love and students from his laboratory and the laboratories of Dan Mennill and Stephanie Doucet.

The Windsor delegation took three of the 12 awards for the best student talks and posters among the hundreds of student presenters:

  • recent MSc graduate Sarah Baldo won a best presentation award for her research on vocal communication in snow buntings;
  • MSc student Christine Madliger won a best poster award for her research on the repeatability of stress hormones in tree swallows; and
  • MSc student Katrina Lukianchuk won a best poster award for her research on dancing behaviour in long-tailed manikins.

All told, Windsor students delivered two invited symposium talks, five spoken papers and seven poster presentations. Their topics ranged from migratory connectivity in Arctic birds to links between stress hormones and habitat quality, from the evolution of song in multiple species to new technologies for studying animal vocal behaviour.

“Windsor was one of the highest-performing and most well-represented universities at this international meeting,” said Love, who is the research advisor for two of the award winners. “It was an impressive showing of the world-class work in integrative avian research being done at University of Windsor.”

The conference was attended by some 1500 delegates from more than 40 countries. It is organized by multiple ornithologist research groups from Canada, the USA and Mexico, including the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Madliger said she was excited to have won an award.

“I think the fact that three students were recognized is a reflection of the strong avian research being conducted at the University of Windsor,” she said.

And Lukianchuk said the experience was worth the trip: “I was quite surprised when I heard my name, but I got some great feedback on my poster throughout the conference and it really felt like my project was finally all coming together.”