Stephen K. Davis PhD


Research Interests

My research interests centre on the ecology of grassland birds and factors that influence habitat selection and demography.  This ranges from applied studies examining the influence of agricultural management regimes on grassland birds to the effects of energy development.  My interests also extend to determining how settling patterns and demographic processes of grassland species vary according to different spatial scales.  Relatively little research has been conducted on grassland birds in the northern mixed-grass prairie, thus research topics are only limited by one's imagination. Furthermore, grassland birds are in dire need of basic research on their natural history and applied research that allows an understanding of factors causing widespread population declines so that land managers and conservation agencies can make informed decisions.  In my opinion, this creates a wonderful opportunity for graduate students to make a significant and very satisfying contribution to both science and conservation.

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Current Research Projects

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival in the Qu'Appelle Valley of southern Saskatchewan

Graduate students

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Biographical Information

1999-2003 University of Regina
  PhD: Habitat selection and demography of mixed-grass prairie songbirds in a fragmented landscape
  Supervisors: Dr. R.M. Brigham & Dr. P.C. James
1991 - 1994 University of Manitoba
  M.Sc: Cowbird parasitism, nest predation and host selection in fragmented grasslands of southwestern Manitoba
  Supervisor: Dr. S.G. Sealy
1988 - 1991 University of Manitoba
  B.Sc.: Zoology Major
10/02-present Wildlife Biologist
  Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada)
10/02-04/03 Director of Monitoring & Assessment
  Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
09/97-10/02 Manager Biological Services
  Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation
01/95-09/97 Grassland Ecologist
  Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation


Current committee memberships include Chair of Sprague’s Pipit National Recovery Team, Co-chair of the SW SK Species at Risk Action Plan Science Committee, Partners In Flight Canada Regional Working Group, Partners In Flight International Scientific Committee, Prairie Habitat Joint Venture landbird technical committee, Canadian Wildlife Service Landbird Committee, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Scientific Committe.

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Davis, S. K. and T. G. Holmes. Accepted. Sprague’s Pipit incubation behaviour. Studies in Avian Biology.

Fisher, R. J. and S.K. Davis. 2011. Habitat use by Sprague’s Pipit in native pastures and planted, non-native hay fields. Auk in press.

Fisher, R. J. and S.K. Davis. 2010. Post-fledging dispersal, habitat use, and survival of Sprague’s pipits: are planted grasslands a good substitute for native? Biological Conservation in press.

Martin, K. A., S. K. Davis, R. J. Fisher, and R. M. Brigham. 2010. Song rates of Sprague’s pipits (Anthus spragueii). Northwestern Naturalist 91:329-330.

Fisher, R. J. K. M. Dohms, and S.K. Davis. 2010. Removal of nestling radio-transmitters by adult Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii). Journal of Ornithology 151:749–753.

Fisher, R. J. and S.K. Davis. 2010. From Wiens to Robel: A review of procedures and patterns describing grassland bird habitat selection. Journal of Wildlife Management 74:265-273.

White, C. L., L. Strauss, S. K. Davis. 2010. Video evidence of Piping Plover nest predation. Northwestern Naturalist 91:201-205.

Dohms, K. M. and S. K. Davis. 2009. Polygyny and male parental care by Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121:826–830.

Davis, S. K. 2009. Re-nesting intervals and duration of the incubation and nestling periods of Sprague’s Pipits. Journal of Field Ornithology.80:265-269.

Crawford, N. G., M. B. Peters, C. Hagen, T. C. Glenn, S. K. Davis, and C. M. Somers. 2008. Polymorphic microsatellite loci from Sprague's pipit, Anthus spragueii (Motacillidae:Passeriformes), a grassland endemic songbird. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:315-317.

Davis, S. K. and R. J. Fisher. 2009. Post-fledging movements of Sprague’s Pipit. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121:199-203..

White, C. L., R. M. Brigham, S. K. Davis. 2009. Accidental egg removal by incubating Piping Plovers: a sticky situation. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121:171-173.

Davis, S. K. and W. E. Lanyon. 2008. Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: doi:10.2173/bna.104.

Davis, S. K., R. M. Brigham, T. L. Shaffer, P. C. James. 2006. Mixed-grass prairie passerines exhibit weak and variable responses to patch size. Auk 123:807-821.

McMaster, D. G., J. D. Devries, and S. K. Davis. 2005. Nest success of grassland birds in haylands of southern Saskatchewan: identifying landscape influences and conservation priorities. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:211-221.

Davis, S. K. 2005. Nest-site selection patterns and the influence of vegetation on nest survival of mixed-grass prairie passerines. Condor 107:605-616.

Davis, S.K., B. Springer, J. Lohmeyer, L. Hall, and T. Harrison. 2005. A stewardship approach to grassland bird habitat conservation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Pp. 1198-1200. In Ralph, C. J. and T. D. Rich (eds.). Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners In Flight Conference. Volume 2. Gen. Tech Rep. PSW-GTR-19. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 651 p.

Davis, S. K. 2004. Detecting area sensitivity of grassland passerines: effects of patch size, patch shape, and vegetation structure on bird abundance and occurrence in southern Saskatchewan. Auk 121:1130-1145.

Davis, S. K. 2003. Nesting ecology of mixed-grass prairie songbirds in southern Saskatchewan. Wilson Bulletin 115:119-130.

MacDonald, D., S. K. Davis, D. G. McMaster. 2003. Distribution and abundance of the Common Poorwill in southwestern Saskatchewan. Blue Jay 61: 133-138.

Green, M., P. Lowther, S. Jones, S. K. Davis, and B. C. Dale. 2002. Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) In The Birds of North America (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

Davis, S. K. D. R. Klippenstine, and R. M. Brigham. 2002. Does egg rejection account for the low incidence of cowbird parasitism in Chestnut-collared Longspurs (Calcarius ornatus)? Auk. 119:556-560.

McMaster, D. G. and S. K. Davis. 2001. An evaluation of Canada's Permanent Cover Program: habitat for grassland birds? Journal of Field Ornithology 72:195-210.

Davis, S. K. and S. G. Sealy. 2000. Cowbird parasitism and nest predation in fragmented grasslands of southwestern Manitoba. In Ecology and management of cowbirds and their hosts, (J. N. M. Smith, T. L. Cook, S. I. Rothstein, S. K. Robinson, and S. G. Sealy eds.). Univ. Texas Press, Austin.

Sutter, G. C., S. K. Davis, and D. C. Duncan. 2000. Grassland songbird abundance along roads and trails in southern Saskatchewan. Journal of Field Ornithology 71:110-116.

Davis, S. K. and D. C. Duncan. 1999. Grassland songbird occurrence in native and crested wheatgrass pastures of southern Saskatchewan. Studies in Avian Biology 19:211-218.

Davis, S. K., D. C. Duncan, and M. A. Skeel. 1999. Distribution and habitat associations of three endemic grassland songbirds in southern Saskatchewan. Wilson Bulletin 111:389-396.

Davis, S. K., J. R. Duncan, K. M. Mazur, and P. A. Duncan.1999. Brown-headed Cowbird parasitizes Upland Sandpiper nest. Blue Jay 57:73-74.

Davis, S.K. and S.G. Sealy. 1998. Nesting biology of the Baird's Sparrow in southwestern Manitoba. Wilson Bulletin 109: 262-270.

Prescott, D. R. C. and S. K. Davis. 1998. Status report on the Sprague' Pipit (Anthus spragueii) in Canada Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON.

Davis, S. K., D. C. Duncan, and M. A. Skeel.1996. The Baird's Sparrow: status resolved. Blue Jay 54:185-191.

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Contact Information

Dr. Stephen K. Davis
Wildlife Biologist
Canadian Wildlife Service
300-2365 Albert Street
Regina, SK, S4P 4K1
ph. (306) 780-5342
fx. (306) 780-7614
Adjunct Professor
University of Regina
Regina, SK
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK
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Bird Sculpture

When not studying birds from a scientific perspective, you can find me studying them as an artist. It is hard not to be inspired by the beauty and behaviour of these magnificent creatures when spending time in the field conducting scientific investigations. Click here to see a sample of some of my carvings.

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Last revised: November 4, 2010