Photo of Charles M. Francis

Charles M. Francis

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Guelph), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Queen's)
Office:Manager, Bird Population Monitoring
Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada
National Wildlife Research Centre
Carleton University Campus
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H3

Current Research

My main activities with Environment Canada relate to coordinating and managing bird monitoring programs in Canada, developing ways to improve bird-monitoring programs using novel approaches, and supporting activities to evaluate the effects of various stressors such as habitat loss and collisions with wind turbines and other structures on bird populations. Current research projects in my group include developing new tools and procedures to incorporate technologies such as digital microphones and recorders into bird monitoring programs; use of radars to measure patterns of bird and bat migration in relation to threats; using nocturnal flight calls and bat detectors to monitor birds and bats; developing improved statistical methods using Hierarchical Bayes to analyze bird monitoring data; and modeling bird population dynamics using mark-recapture data sets from bird marking programs.

Graduate Student Opportunities

I am willing to supervise graduate students, particularly those with strong quantitative skills, interested in working on applied questions related to the mandate of the Canadian Wildlife Service, including modeling bird population dynamics and enhancing bird monitoring technologies in ways that are relevant to bird conservation.

Current graduate student projects include:

  • Using microphone arrays to evaluate detection patterns of bird songs
  • Using marine radars to comparing the densities and flight patterns of migrating birds at various distances from the shorelines of the Great Lakes
  • Using marine and weather radars to evaluate bird migration in relation to weather patterns.
  • Using microphones and digital recorders to monitor densities of migrating birds from nocturnal flight calls

Other potential projects include

  • Developing statistical analysis methods to integrate data from multiple surveys (e.g., Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Count) to better understand population dynamics in relation to potential threats
  • Using monitoring data to understand bird population dynamics and their conservation needs

Selected Publications

(for a complete list of scientific publications click here)

Smith, A.C., M.-A. R. Hudson, C. Downes, and C.M. Francis. 2014. Estimating Breeding Bird Survey trends and annual indices for Canada: how do the new hierarchical Bayesian estimates differ from previous estimates? Canadian Field Naturalist 128:119-134.

Zimmerling, J. R., A. Pomeroy, M. V. d’Entremont & C. M. Francis. 2013. Canadian estimate of bird mortality due to collisions and direct habitat loss associated with wind turbine developments. Avian Conservation and Ecology. 8(2): 10.

Campbell, M. & C. M. Francis. 2012. Using microphone arrays to examine effects of observers on birds during point count surveys. Journal of Field Ornithology 83: 391-402.

Campbell, M. & C. M. Francis. 2011. Using stereo-microphones to evaluate observer variation in North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) point counts. The Auk 128: 303-312.

Gagnon, F., J. Ibarzabal, J-P. L. Savard, P. Vaillancourt, M. Bélisle, & C. M. Francis. 2011. Weather effects on autumn nocturnal migration of passerines on opposite shores of the St. Lawrence estuary. The Auk 128: 99-112.

Francis, C. M., A. V. Borisenko, N. V. Ivanova, J. L. Eger, B. K. Lim, A. Guillén-Servent, S. V. Kruskop, I. Mackie & P. D. N. Hebert. 2010. The role of DNA barcodes in understanding and conservation of mammal diversity in Southeast Asia. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12575. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012575.