Biodiversity Research Institute
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Wildlife Research and Field Biologist
Allison Byrd, M.S.
Allison bands a Common Loon.

Allison Byrd, M.S.

Center for Loon Conservation Research Specialist


Allie has worked on numerous wildlife research projects studying species ranging from black bears to native fish, but a position in Australia ignited her passion for bird research. Subsequent avian research projects enabled her to work with diverse species across the globe. 

After gaining experience in the field, Allie began her masters work with Dr. Brian Olsen at the University of Maine in conjunction with Biodiversity Research Institute’s Center for Loon Conservation. In 2014, she joined BRI full-time to study Common Loons as part of the Restore the Call initiative. As the project leader for Montana, she will primarily work in the northwestern mountains and in Glacier National Park during the loon breeding season.


  • M.S., Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Maine, 2013
  • B.S., Wildlife Biology, University of Rhode Island, 2001


  • Wildlife First Aid (WFA) Certified, 2012
  • Experienced operating 4-wheel drive and standard transmission trucks
  • Chemical Immobilization trained and certified, Safe Capture International Inc., 2001
  • ATV trained and certified, ATV RiderCourse, 2001

Expertise and Experience

  • Project report drafting/grant writing
  • Statistical analysis in Program R
  • Field technician supervision
  • Field techniques in avian ecology (8 years of experience in various systems: North and Central American and Australian bird identification by sight and sound; point-count/transect surveys; mist-netting; banding; radio telemetry; blood and fecal sample collection; nest finding; behavioral observations; chick rearing; captive husbandry; veterinary pharmaceutical administration; anaesthetization; and surgical assistance)
  • Field techniques in general ecology: soil sampling; survey methods for eastern North American plants and insects; mammal capture and chemical immobilization from rodents to meso-carnivores to bears; ectoparasite sampling and identification; general fish hatchery husbandry; fish stocking; electroshocking
  • Spatial analysis (Trimble and Garmin GPS, beginning competency with GIS)
  • Back-country fieldwork (e.g. orientation & navigation, backpacking/camping)

Research Interests

  • Wildlife/avian ecology
  • Common Loon behavior and population dynamics
  • Habitat evaluation and management

Research Reports

  • Anderson, Carl, A. Byrd, J. Paruk, V. Spagnuolo, C. Persico, and D.C. Evers. Montana Common Loon (Gavia immer) Summary Report. 2013. BRI Report 2014-07. Biodiversity Research Institute, Gorham, Maine.
  • Hall, E., A. Byrd and S. Fagan. Earthwatch Field Report 2012; Songbirds of the Rocky Mountains. Earthwatch Institute. Boston, MA. 2012.
  • Byrd, A.J. and B.J. Olsen. The Landscape and Behavioral Factors Behind the Long-Term Viability of the Common Loon (Gavia immer) in New England. Climate Change Institute Annual Report, University of Maine, 2011.
  • Osborne, C. E., K. Taylor, and A. Byrd. 2011. Common Loon Monitoring: Plum Creek Timber Company Moosehead Lake Region Conservation Easement. Report BRI 2011-22. Biodiversity Research Institute, Gorham, ME.

Presentations and Posters

  • The 129th Slated American Ornithologists Union Conference, July 26-29, 2011. Common Loon (Gavia immer) Settlement Behavior And Reproductive Success in an Era of Climate Change
  • Conservation Design Course: Open Standards and MIRADI Software with Malcom Hunter, Jan 3- 7 2011
  • Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network, March 24, 2011
  • Northeast Loon Study Working Group 22nd Annual Meeting, March 28, 2011. Viability of Common Loons in New England
  • The 19th Annual Harold W. Borns Symposium, May 6th-7th, 2010. Effect of Climate Change on Territory Quality in the Common Loon (Gavia immer)
  • Northeast Loon Study Working Group 21st Annual Meeting, April 8-9, 2010, Life History Evolution in the Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Photo Credits: Photo by Chris Hammond
Biodiversity Research Institute