David Bonter

Co-Director, Center for Engagement in Science and Nature


Citizen Science • Avian Ecology • Foraging Ecology

As co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature, I oversee projects including NestWatch, Project FeederWatch, and Nest Quest Go.

In addition to my work engaging the public in scientific research, I’m an avian ecologist focused on mentoring undergraduate research and teaching field courses. Please see my website for more details.


Ph.D., Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Recent Publications

Dayer, A. A., P. C. Pototsky, R. J. Hall, D. M. Hawley, T. B. Phillips, D. N. Bonter, A. M. Dietsch, E. Greig, and W. M. Hochachka (2024). Birds are not the only ones impacted by guidance to cease bird feeding. People and Nature 6:20–26.
Bonter, D. N., V. Y. Martin, E. I. Greig, and T. B. Phillips (2023). Participant retention in a continental-scale citizen science project increases with the diversity of species detected. BioScience 73:433–440.
Mady, R. P., T. B. Phillips, D. N. Bonter, C. Quimby, J. Borland, C. Eldermire, B. T. Walters, S. A. Parry, and M. Chu (2023). Engagement in the data collection phase of the scientific process is key for enhancing learning gains. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 8:14.
Bailey, R. L., L. Larson, and D. N. Bonter (2023). NestWatch: An open-access, long-term data set on avian reproductive success. Ecology n/a:e4230.
Phillips, T. B., N. M. Wells, A. H. Brown, J. R. Tralins, and D. N. Bonter (2023). Nature and well-being: The association of nature engagement and well-being during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. People and Nature 5:607–620.
Miller, E. T., O. Mac Aodha, E. I. Greig, D. N. Bonter, and W. M. Hochachka (2022). Congeneric predators fill discrete niches created by the relative abundances of their prey species. Journal of Avian Biology n/a:e02934.
Hagler, S. J., A. Gibbons, J. C. Bednarz, W. S. Clark, and D. N. Bonter (2022). Nest provisioning and sociality at Harris's Hawk nests in South Texas. Journal of Raptor Research 56:161–170.
Mady, R. P., M. Hochachka, and D. N. Bonter (2021). Consistency in supplemental food availability affects the space use of wintering birds. Behavioral Ecology 32:580–589.
Berigan, L. A., E. I. Greig, and D. N. Bonter (2021). Urban House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations decline in North America. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 132:248–258.
Hughes, E. J., R. P. Mady, and D. N. Bonter (2021). Evaluating the accuracy and biological meaning of visits to RFID-enabled bird feeders using video. Ecology and Evolution 11:17132–17141.
Dzielski, S. A., R. L. Bailey, F. Fernandez‐Duque, and D. N. Bonter (2021). Supplemental feeding of insect larvae increases mass of nestling Eastern Bluebirds, but not nestling Black‐capped Chickadees. Journal of Field Ornithology 92:294–303.
Sayers, C. J., M. R. Roeder, L. M. Forrette, D. Roche, G. L. B. Dupont, S. E. Apgar, A. R. Kocek, A. M. Cook, W. G. Shriver, C. S. Elphick, B. Olsen, and D. N. Bonter (2021). Geographic variation of mercury in breeding tidal marsh sparrows of the northeastern United States. Ecotoxicology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-021-02461-y
Phillips, T. B., R. L. Bailey, V. Martin, H. Faulkner-Grant, and D. N. Bonter (2021). The role of citizen science in management of invasive avian species: What people think, know, and do. Journal of Environmental Management 280:111709.
Bailey, R. L., H. A. Faulkner‐Grant, V. Y. Martin, T. B. Phillips, and D. N. Bonter (2020). Nest usurpation by non-native birds and the role of people in nest box management. Conservation Science and Practice 2:e185.
Fernandez-Duque, F., R. Bailey, and D. Bonter (2019). Egg oiling as an effective management technique for limiting reproduction in an invasive passerine. Avian Conservation and Ecology 14.
Dayer, A. A., C. Rosenblatt, D. N. Bonter, H. Faulkner, R. J. Hall, W. M. Hochachka, T. B. Phillips, and D. M. Hawley (2019). Observations at backyard bird feeders influence the emotions and actions of people that feed birds. People and Nature 1:138–151.
Rosenblatt, C. J., and D. N. Bonter (2018). Characteristics of fields used by birds in winter in New York. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130:924–931.
McCabe, J. D., H. Yin, J. Cruz, V. Radeloff, A. Pidgeon, D. N. Bonter, and B. Zuckerberg (2018). Prey abundance and urbanization influence the establishment of avian predators in a metropolitan landscape. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285:20182120.
Reed, J. H., and D. N. Bonter (2018). Supplementing non-target taxa: Bird feeding alters the local distribution of mammals. Ecological Applications 28:761–770.
Witynski, M. L., and D. N. Bonter (2018). Crosswise migration by Yellow Warblers, Nearctic-Neotropical passerine migrants. Journal of Field Ornithology 89:37–46.
Miller, E. T., D. N. Bonter, C. Eldermire, B. G. Freeman, E. I. Greig, L. J. Harmon, C. Lisle, and W. M. Hochachka (2017). Fighting over food unites the birds of North America in a continental dominance hierarchy. Behavioral Ecology 28:1454–1463.
Greig, E. I., E. M. Wood, and D. N. Bonter (2017). Winter range expansion of a hummingbird is associated with urbanization and supplementary feeding. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284:20170256.
Bailey, R. L., and D. N. Bonter (2017). Predator guards on nest boxes improve nesting success of birds. Wildlife Society Bulletin 41:434–441.
Heaton Crisologo, T., and D. Bonter (2017). Hectic at hatching: parental aggression peaks when chick mortality rates are greatest in the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus). Ethology 123:113–122.
Bonter, D. N., M. C. Moglia, and L. E. DeFisher (2016). Sons do not take advantage of a head start: parity in herring gull offspring sex ratios despite greater initial investment in males. Journal of Avian Biology 47:121–128.
Shah, S. S., E. I. Greig, S. A. MacLean, and D. N. Bonter (2015). Risk-based alarm calling in a nonpasserine bird. Animal Behaviour 106:129–136.
Watkins, L., D. N. Bonter, P. J. Sullivan, and M. T. Walter (no date). [In press] Methods for monitoring urban street litter: A comparison of municipal audits and an app-based citizen science approach. Environmental Science: Advances.
David Bonter
Center Engagement in Science and Nature
Email dnb23@cornell.edu

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library