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Dr. Maya Wilson

PHD FELLOW ALUMNI  |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni November 2019, Biological Sciences

PhD Advisor: Dr. Jeff Walters 


Dr. Maya Wilson successfully completed her doctoral degree in November of 2019. She is currently the Landbird Program Manager for BirdsCaribbean. The Caribbean Landbird Monitoring project aims to increase the capacity to monitor landbirds in the Caribbean by building collaborative networks focused on three different, but complementary monitoring tools — standardized surveys, bird banding, and the Motus Wildlife Tracking System.

As an undergraduate at Franklin and Marshall College (F&M), Maya worked in the Ardia lab, where she gained valuable experience in ornithological field research. In her senior independent project, Maya investigated the impact of abiotic edge effects on winter resident birds using RFID technology on supplemental feeders. This project, along with her participation in an REU program at Kansas State University and a semester in Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies, developed her passion for field biology and its application to conservation and management.

After receiving her B.A. in Biology from F&M, she began an internship with the Golondrinas de las Americas program, directed by Dr. David Winker of Cornell University. As an intern she worked with several species of Tachycineta swallows at field sites in the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Belize. She continued to develop her skills in designing and carrying out field research in an independent project that utilized RFID technology to monitor parental feeding at nest boxes.

Maya joined the Walters lab in Fall 2014. Her graduate research focused on the Bahama Swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis), an endangered species that breeds on only three islands in the northern Bahamas. Maya investigated the ecology and life history of this poorly known species, and, through collaborations with conservation organizations, worked towards developing effective conservation strategies.

Maya believes that her participation in the IGC program provided opportunities to discover what can be accomplished by working together across disciplines.  

Last updated November 2022.