DVOC Main Page > Our Members > Matthew Ryan Halley

Matthew Ryan Halley

Fellow of the DVOC
Communications Committee
Editor of the DVOC
Julian Potter Award Committee

Ornithologist and author of several publications on the behavioral ecology of tropical birds.



Research presentations for the DVOC in 2012 and 2014

Winner of the 1st Annual 'Carbon Footprint Cup' at the 26th World Series of Birding, as member of cycling team 'Ridin Birdy'

I grew up in Chester County, PA, in the 1980s, and have always been curious about the 'how', 'what', and 'why' of natural things and processes. But I didn't begin birding until 2002. Ever since, the birds have drawn me toward them like a magnet, especially the secretive ones that lurk just out of view in the dense tangles of the forest understory. In 2005, I joined a research expedition to western Panama to work with Adam Stein on his studies of a hybrid zone where two Manakin species interbreed (Manacus ssp.), then to Israel where I worked with renowned sociobiologist Amotz Zahavi on a study of Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps) social evolution and behavior. For three consecutive breeding seasons (2006–08) I studied songbird communities in the high sagebrush deserts of northwestern Nevada with Aaron Holmes, and spent the 2006 and 2007 non-breeding seasons in Indonesia and Venezuela respectively. During the latter trip, I worked with Karl Berg to document vocal learning in the Green-rumped Parrotlet (see the great video from the Cornell Lab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9A4HPdXgQ). In 2009, I lived for 5 months in a montane rainforest in southern India, where I studied amphibian taxonomy. From 2011–2014, I completed a multi-year genetic study of the mating system of the Veery (Catharus fuscescens) in the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont of Delaware. Now that I am living once again in Philadelphia, I am working on several projects involving the taxonomy and evolution of the woodland thrushes (Hylocichla and Catharus) and exploring the nooks and crannies of the Fairmount Park system, especially the Wissahickon Valley.