Sarah Dobney collects recordings at a savannah sparrow nest Sarah Dobney, pictured here collecting recordings at a savannah sparrow nest in the Bay of Fundy, won a prize at the national meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Graduate students of ornithology deliver prize-winning talks

Two University of Windsor graduate students won prizes for outstanding talks at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Sarah Dobney, a PhD student in the Department of Integrative Biology, won the “Early Program Award” for an outstanding presentation from an early-career researcher. Her prize-winning talk was titled: “Quiet in the nest: Nest environment diminishes song transmission to nestlings.”

“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to present my findings at the national meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists,” said Dobney. “I am blown away that my talk was so well received.

“Most importantly, I am thrilled that I was able to communicate my research to a group of Canadian ornithologists, and to take part in a national conference focused on sharing research ideas.”

Camille Rondeau Saint-Jean, a Master’s student who studies sparrows under the co-supervision of professors Dan Mennill and Timothée Poisot of the University of Montreal, also won a prize. For her talk titled “Individual recognition of bird song using a deep neural network,” Rondeau Saint-Jean won the “Five-minute Talk Award.” 

Said Rondeau Saint-Jean: “It felt great to present my research alongside many other researchers who are as passionate as I am about studying birds. We really had the sense of belonging to a community of ornithologists across the country.”

In addition to Dobney and Rondeau Saint-Jean’s prize winning talks, undergraduate student Sarika Sharma from the School of the Environment delivered her first-ever conference presentation; and postdoctoral fellow Natalie Sanchez from the Department of Integrative Biology delivered her first conference presentation as a University of Windsor researcher.

Dr. Mennill said he was impressed with all four University of Windsor researchers who presented their studies at this virtual conference.

“They showed off outstanding ornithological research from the University of Windsor on a national stage,” he said.