Ecology, Conservation & Management of Avian Wildlife

LSS May 2007 073

Ecology, Conservation and Management of Avian Wildlife

Much of my work in Ontario focuses on the ecology and management of colonial nesting waterbirds, such as double-crested cormorants, black-crowned night herons and ring-billed gulls.   The majority of my work is currently conducted at the Tommy Thompson Park, an urban wilderness area in the harbour of Lake Ontario, adjacent to the city of Toronto. Tommy Thompson Park is managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area. Check out these two videos made by Julian Victor in 2014: Canopy of Cormorants and Haunts of the Herons. More recently, Tommy Thompson Park is featured on the Nature of Things.

Ongoing projects:

Annual waterbird monitoring - Since 2008, I've been monitoring double-crested cormorants and black-crowned night heron nests at Tommy Thompson Park. Each year I record details (e.g., nest failure or success) on a sample of nests.

Cormorants & art - Collaboration with Cole Swanson to determine if the colour in anthropogenic waste materials influence nest site-selection of double-crested cormorants at Tommy Thompson Park.

Collaboration with Juliet Palmer. riverMouth is a geo-located AR audio work at the mouth of Toronto's Cobechenonk Humber River bringing together spoken word, song, music and soundscape. Contribution: A poem for cormorants, The Mouth, performed by Alex Samaras.

Rubble-to-refuge - Collaboration with Professors Jenny Foster and Justin Podur, and the Toronto and Region Conservation authority focusing on human uses of Tommy Thompson Park. Website coming soon.

Students projects at Tommy Thompson Park:


Amanda Matthews, Common Terns at Tommy Thompson Park


Ashraf Hutchcraft, EUC Undergraduate Research Award, Quantifying the location and type of nest material gathered by nesting double-crested cormorants at Tommy Thompson Park

Juhi Dahwoodia, Nest success of common terns at Tommy Thompson Park (BES Directed Studies)

Baillie Weiderick, Nest success of ground-nesting double-crested cormorants at Tommy Thompson Park (BES Directed Studies)

Maya Adachi-Amitay, Wildlife responses to Phragmites removal at Tommy Thompson Park (Senior Honours Thesis 2022)

Rooha Imran, Spatial and temporal interactions: Cormorants and black-crowned night-herons at Tommy Thompson Park (Senior Honours Thesis 2022)

Sarah Costa, Habitat restoration bird use at Tommy Thompson Park (Senior Honours Thesis 2022)

Louisa Gentile, Conservation of Black-Crowned Night Herons at the Leslie Street Spit, Toronto, Ontario (MES Major Paper 2022)

Melina D. Flores, Wildlife and macro-pollution: examples from marine and freshwater environments (MES Major Paper, 2019)

Aditi Gupta, The effect of cormorant nesting on invasive European fire ant abundance and distribution in Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Ontario (Senior Honours Project, 2016)

Lisa Rosenberger, Behaviour and population dynamics of black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) and double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) (Biology MSc, 2015)

Meagan McRae, Knowing the Double-crested Cormorant: Behavioural ecology and public education of Double-crested Cormorants at Tommy Thompson Park (MES Major Paper, 2015)

Brenna Thompson,  Coyotes and their movement in relation to resources in Tommy Thompson Park (MES Major Paper, 2015)

Sabrina Conliffe, Impacts of raccoons on nesting Black-Crowned Night-Herons in Toronto, Ontario (Senior Honours Work, 2014)

Nao Ito, co-supervision with L. Packer, Analyses of environmental factors for the persistence of Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in green spaces of the Greater Toronto Area and applications of ecological niche/species distribution models (MES Major Paper, 2014)

Heather Lennox, The translocation of raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Tommy Thompson Park (Senior Honours Work, 2014)

Miranda Chen, Estimating raccoon (Procyon lotor) occupancy and density using camera traps in Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto from 2010 to 2012 (Biology Senior Honours Thesis, 2013)

Kristi Rudmik, co-supervision with L. Packer, Invasive European fire ants (Myrmica rubra) in an urban green-space: abundance, distribution and impact on tree nesting black-crowned night herons (MES Thesis, 2011)

Thomas Langille, Raccoon camera trap study at Tommy Thompson Park (Senior Honours Work, 2012)

Ilona Feldman,  Double-crested cormorant management at Tommy Thompson Park: Conspecific attraction experiment and egg-oiling modeling (Biology MSc, 2011)

Andrew Chin, The carryover effect of deterrent activities on the nesting sequence of tree-nesting double-crested cormorants (Phalancrocorax auritus) (Biology Senior Honours Thesis, 2010)

Bernard Taylor, Cormorant management and the Leslie Street Spit (MES, Major Paper 2009)

Sepideh Lakfard, The breeding biology of Common Terns at Tommy Thompson Park, Ontario (Biology MSc, 2010)

Dave Andrews, Foraging ecology of double-crested cormorants in Toronto with perspectives on management (Biology MSc, 2008)


In 2020, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry announced a fall double-crested cormorant hunt. An Open Letter to the hunt can be found here.