CONI & moth

PhD research

My PhD research is focused on understanding:

  1. The extent to which the northeastern US is experiencing widespread population-level insect declines (ie. the windshield phenomenon)
  2. What factors are driving these potential declines &
  3. How insectivorous birds are responding.

​These are big questions – I use a variety of approaches to chip away at them, from resurveys of historical data, to evidence synthesis (like entoGEM), to community science.

Other research areas

Slate-throated whitestart

Behavioral Ecology

Although my current focus is community and population ecology, I’ve worked on topics in animal behavior, from antagonistic signals in scorpionflies to how aggressiveness in birds can speed up or slow down upslope shifts due to climate change.


Evolutionary Biology

I’ve also worked on projects exploring how birdsong evolves and explored the evolution of a genus of specialist South African bees in the genus Rediviva​, using phylogenetics.


Natural History

I’m driven by my passion for biodiversity, and I’m a strong believer in the importance of natural history observations in ecology and conservation. I always try to advance our understanding of the natural world around us, whether I’m observing jays or ricinuleids (above). There’s so much we don’t know – even simple findings can make a difference.


  • Herrera E.* & Montgomery G.A.* (2018). Double Whammy: Rediscovery of two rare arachnids in the US 80 years after description. Journal of Arachnology. In review.

  • Montgomery G.A., Underwood F., & Freeman, B.G. (2017). Apparent cooperative breeding at a nest of the Silvery-throated Jay (Cyanolyca argentigula) and first nest description. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 130(2), 543-547.

  • Freeman, B.G. & Montgomery, G.A. (2017). Using song playback experiments to measure species recognition between geographically isolated populations: A comparison with acoustic trait analyses. The Auk, 134(4), 857-870.

  • Wright, C.M., Lichtenstein, J.L., Montgomery, G.A., Luscuskie, L.P., Pinter-Wollman, N., & Pruitt, J.N. (2017). Exposure to predators reduces collective foraging aggressiveness and eliminates its relationship with colony personality composition. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71(8), 126.

  • Kahnt, B., Montgomery, G.A., Murray, E., Kuhlmann, M., Pauw, A., Michez, D., … & Danforth, B.N. (2017). Playing with extremes: origins and evolution of exaggerated female forelegs in South African Rediviva bees. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 115, 95-105. Undergraduate thesis press coverage in the Cornell Daily Sun

  • Freeman, B.G., Montgomery, G.A., & Schluter, D. (2017). Evolution and plasticity: Divergence of song discrimination is faster in birds with innate song than in song learners in Neotropical passerine birds. Evolution.

  • Pauw, A., Kahnt, B., Kuhlmann, M., Michez, D., Montgomery, G.A., Murray, E., & Danforth, B.N. (2017). Long-legged bees make adaptive leaps: linking adaptation to coevolution in a plant–pollinator network. Proc. R. Soc. B, 284(1862), 20171707.

  • Magnier, B.R.* & Montgomery, G.A.* (2017). Novel wing-flashing behavior in a scorpionfly (Panorpa debilis) may be competitive. Journal of Insect Behavior, 30(3), 247-258.

  • Lichtenstein, J.L., Wright, C.M., Luscuskie, L.P., Montgomery, G.A., Pinter-Wollman, N., & Pruitt, J. N. (2016). Participation in cooperative prey capture and the benefits gained from it are associated with individual personality. Current Zoology, 63(5), 561-567.

  • Freeman, B. G., & Montgomery, G. A. (2015). Interspecific aggression by the Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) may limit the distribution of the threatened Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) in the Adirondack Mountains. The Condor, 118(1), 169-178. – Press coverage in ScienceDaily

  • Hedtke, S. M., Blitzer, E. J., Montgomery, G. A., & Danforth, B. N. (2015). Introduction of Non-Native Pollinators Can Lead to Trans-Continental Movement of Bee-Associated Fungi. PloS One, 10(6), e0130560.