Faces of AOS: Bob Montgomerie Bio

Bob Montgomerie• Email:

• Twitter Handle:

• Website/Blog/Etc:

• My position with AOS:
Chair, History committee; member of BNA-AOS liaison committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor, Department of Biology, Queen’s University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
I did my PhD with Peter Grant at McGill University, starting in 1973 when he first went to the Galapagos to begin working on the finches. Since joining the faculty at Queen’s, I have trained many thesis students (undergraduate, MSc, and Phd) and postdocs, 25 of whom now hold faculty positions. Several of those people still study birds, including: Bruce Lyon, John Eadie, Jim Briskie, Sue MacRae, Ian Jones, Henrik Smith, Geoff Hill, Stephanie Doucet, Brad Congdon, Stephen Yezerinac. Gary Burness, Mark Mallory, Jim Dale, Troy Murphy, and Fran Bonier. I continue to collaborate on bird studies with many former students, as well as with colleagues at other institutions worldwide including Tim Birkhead, Alexis Chaine, Kirsten Greer, and Suzanne Alonzo.

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study sexual selection in birds winter plumage colours and gametes, as well as the history of ornithology…and more

• My favorite bird and why:
Rock Ptarmigan: studied for >2 decades; they are tame, engaging, goofy, circumpolar, unique, & have taken me to neat places incl Fr Pyrenees

• I am involved with AOS because:
Both to learn and teach others about birds, to be part of a voice for ornithology and bird conservation

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
AOS meetings and a sense of community

• Birds are important to me because:
Probably most important, they have provided my livelihood in a lifestyle that simply cannot be beat

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Learn to write well, and try writing something every single day.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How important is mate choice as an engine of sexual selection?

• Fun random fact about myself:
On 1973 Newfoundland seabird survey, a fierce storm stranded me for a week on island with 50K murres & no food, rescued by chopper at night