Nancy Mahony

Image Nancy Mahony
Research Biologist - Grassland and Aerial Insectivore Bird Research

Research Biologist

Current research and/or projects

Conservation and management of declining landbird populations with emphasis on grassland and aerial insectivore species

  • Studying the demography and population dynamics of grassland birds in the prairies
  • Studying the effects of agricultural practices on grassland birds to support development of Beneficial Management Practices
  • Supporting Environment and Climate Change Canada's exploration of the causes of population decline in aerial insectivore birds
  • Supporting recovery of Species At Risk through research on causes of popualtion declines and conservation practices

Professional activities / interests

Co-supervisor of M.Sc. student at Simon Fraser University

Education and awards

Ph.D. Centre for Applied Conservation Research, University of British Columbia, 2003

M.Sc. Watershed Ecosystems Graduate Program, Trent University, 1995

B.Sc. (hon.) Wildlife Biology, University of Guelph, 1988

Key publications


Millikin, R., R. Joy, J. Komaromi, M. Harrison, N. Mahony, and W. M. Vander Haegen. 2020. Recovery of peripheral Sage Thrashers under climate change. Conservation Science and Practice. 2020;e290.

Boynton, C. A., N.A. Mahony, T. D. Williams. 2020. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) fledglings use crop habitat more frequently in relation to its availability than pasture and other habitat types. Condor 122:1-14.

Macfarland, L. A., N. A. Mahony and D. J. Green. 2019. Habitat-mediated breeding performance of Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes lewis) in British Columbia. PLoS ONE 14(3): e0212929.  

Mahony, N. A. 2017. Evidence of Barred Owls (Strix varia) depredating nests of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(3):643–646.

Knight, E. C., N. A. Mahony and D. J. Green. 2016. Effects of agricultural fragmentation on the bird community in sagebrush shrubsteppe. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 223:278–288.

Knight, E. C., N. A. Mahony and D. J. Green. 2014. Crop type influences edge effects on the reproduction of songbirds in sagebrush habitat near agriculture. Avian Conservation and Ecology 9 (1): 8. [online] URL:

Rickbeil, G.J.M., N.C. Coops, M. Andrew, D. K. Bolton, N. A. Mahony and T.A. Nelson. 2014. Assessing conservation regionalization schemes: employing a beta diversity metric to test the environmental surrogacy approach. Diversity and Distributions 20(5): 503–514.

Fitterer, J.L., T.A. Nelson, N.C. Coops, M.A. Wulder, and Nancy A. Mahony. 2013. Exploring the ecological processes driving geographical patterns of breeding bird richness in British Columbia Canada. Ecological Applications. 23(4): 888–903.

Whitehorne, I.B., M.L. Harrison, N.A. Mahony, P. Robinson, A. Newbury, and D.J. Green2011. Effects of Cattle Grazing on Avifauna in Interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Forests of British Columbia. BC Journal of Ecosystem Management 12(3):1-17:

Harrison, M. L., N. A. Mahony, P. Robinson, A. Newbury and D. J. Green. 2011. Nest-site selection and productivity of Vesper Sparrows breeding in grazed habitats. Journal of Field Ornithology. 82(2):140–149.

Harrison, M. L., N. A. Mahony, P. Robinson, A. Newbury and D. J. Green. 2010. Vesper Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks Show a Mixed Response to Cattle Grazing in the Intermountain Region of British Columbia. Avian Conservation and Ecology- Écologie et conservation des oiseaux 5 (1): 1.

Lougheed, S. C., E. Croteau, P. G. Krannitz, N. A. Mahony, B. Walker and P. T. Boag. 2007. Genetic population structure of the Sagebrush Brewer’s Sparrow, Spizella breweri breweri, in a fragmented landscape at the northern range periphery.  Conservation Genetics 8(6):1453-1463.

Mahony, N. A., P. G. Krannitz and K. Martin. 2006. Seasonal fecundity of Sagebrush Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri breweri) at the northern edge of its breeding range. Auk 123: 512-523.

Welsted, K., P. G. Krannitz and N. A. Mahony. 2003. Using survival analysis of artificial and real Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri breweri) nests to model site level and nest site factors associated with nest success in the south Okanagan region of Canada. USDA Forest Science Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191.

Mahony, N. A., W. M. Vander Haegen, B. L. Walker and P. G. Krannitz. 2002. Male incubation and multiple brooding in Brewer’s Sparrows. Wilson Bulletin 113(4): 441-444. 

Ewins, P.J., N.A. Mahony, D.V. Weseloh and H. Blokpoel. 1999. Has the invasion of dreissenid mussels affected the colonial fish-eating birds of Lake Erie? State of Lake Erie (SOLE) – Past, Present and Future. pp.351-366. M. Munawar, T. Edsall and I.F. Munawar (eds) Backhuys Publishers Leiden, Netherlands.

Bishop, C. A., N. A. Mahony and S. Trudeau. 1999. Reproductive success and biochemical effects in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) exposed to chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants in wetlands of Canadian Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin, USA and Canada. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 18:263-271.

Bishop, C. A., N. A. Mahony, J. Struger, P. Ng, and K. E. Pettit. 1999.  Anuran development, density and diversity in relation to agricultural activity in the Holland River Watershed, Ontario, Canada (1990-1992). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 57:21-43.

Hunter, P., N. A. Mahony, P. J. Ewins, D. Baird and M. Field. 1997. Artificial nesting platforms for Bald Eagles in southern Ontario, Canada.  Journal of Raptor Research 31:321-326.

Mahony N. A., E. Nol, T. C. Hutchinson. 1997. Food chain chemistry, reproductive success and foraging behaviour of songbirds in acidified maple forests of Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 75: 509-517.