Areas of Study
Email Address
Taylor Science Center 2084

Jason Townsend is a conservation biologist whose research focuses on three main areas: the ecology of migratory birds, ecotoxicology, and agroecology. Townsend has done field work in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and New York. He is particularly interested in the wildlife benefits of organic and sustainable farming techniques. Jason also owns Kingfisher Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm and orchard 15 minutes from Hamilton College's campus. Many current and former Hamilton students have worked on Kingfisher Farm to experience a sustainable farming operation first-hand. 

Recent Courses Taught

The Science of Food
Bio 100 Laboratories

Research Interests

Ecology of Farmland
Sustainable Agriculture
Ecology and Conservation of Migratory Birds


  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship 2008-11
  • National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship, 2007-08
  • New York State Biodiversity Research Institute Fellowship, 2008

Select Publications

  • Kross, S.M., B.L. Martinico, R.P. Bourbour, J.M. Townsend, C. McColl and T.R. Kelsey. 2020.  Effects of field and landscape scale habitat on insect and bird damage to sunflowers.  Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00040
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer, and S.C. Latta. 2018. Nesting ecology and nesting success of tropical resident and threatened endemic birds in the Dominican Republic.  Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130:849-858.
  • Townsend, J.M., C.T. Driscoll, C.C. Rimmer and K.P. McFarland. 2014. Avian, salamander and forest floor mercury concentrations increase with elevation in a forested terrestrial ecosystem.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33: 208-215.
  • Townsend, J.M. and C.T. Driscoll. 2013. Red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) as a bioindicator of mercury in terrestrial forests of the northeastern United States.  Ecological Indicators 34:168-171.
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer, C.T. Driscoll, K.P. McFarland and E.E. Inigo-Elias. 2013. Mercury concentrations in tropical resident and migrant songbirds on Hispaniola.  Ecotoxicology 22:86-93.  **Featured in Living Bird Spring 2013: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/Page.aspx?pid=2625
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer, K.P. McFarland and J.E. Goetz. 2012. Site-specific variation in food resources, sex ratios and body condition of an overwintering migrant songbird.  Auk 129:683-690.
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer and K.P. McFarland. 2012. Radio transmitters do not affect seasonal mass change or annual survival of wintering Bicknell’s Thrush.  Journal of Field Ornithology 83:295-301. 
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer, A.K. Townsend and K.P. McFarland. 2011. Sex and age ratios of Bicknell’s Thrush wintering in Hispaniola.  Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:367-372.
  • Sly, N.D., A.K. Townsend, C.C. Rimmer, J.M. Townsend, S. Latta and I.J. Lovette. 2011. Ancient islands and modern invasions:  disparate phylogeographic histories among Hispaniola’s endemic birdsMolecular Ecology 20:5012-5024.  **Featured as a Perspective: Glor, R.E. 2011.  Remarkable new evidence for island radiation in birds.  Molecular Ecology 20:4823-4826.
  • Sly, N.D., A.K. Townsend, C.C. Rimmer, J.M. Townsend, S. Latta and I.J. Lovette. 2010. Phylogeography and conservation genetics of the Hispaniolan endemic Palm-tanagers (Aves: Phaenicophilus).  Conservation Genetics 11:2121-2129.  
  • Kerchner, C.M., R. Homzak, A. Kemkes, T. Richardson, J.M. Townsend and C.C. Rimmer. 2010.  Designing spatially explicit incentive programs for habitat conservation:  a case study of the Bicknell’s Thrush winter grounds.  Ecological Economics 69:2108-2115.
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer and K.P. McFarland. 2010. Winter territoriality and spatial behavior of Bicknell’s Thrush at two ecologically distinct wintering sites in the Dominican Republic.  Auk 127:514-522.
  • Townsend, J.M., C.C. Rimmer, J. Brocca, K.P. McFarland and A.K. Townsend. 2009. Predation of a wintering migratory songbird by introduced rats:  Can nocturnal roosting behavior serve as predator avoidance?  Condor 111:565-569.  **Featured in BirdScope Spring 2011: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/Page.aspx?pid=2211

Professional Affiliations

Birds Caribbean Member
Northeast Organic Farming Association Member
Friends of the Oneida County Public Market Board Member

Educational Background

Ph.D. SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry
B.S. University of Vermont

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