My name is Mary Montague. I am an ornithologist, scientist, writer and educator. I set up SongBirdSignBird because I wanted to combine my ornithological expertise with my teaching experience to promote understanding and appreciation of wild birds and the contribution they make to our lives.
I am an expert in songbirds, and in rural and urban birdlife. I can lead guided birding walks and give talks and workshops on birds and their ecology, and their role in literature. I love having the chance to share my expertise and passion for the ecology and poetry of birds. I also give courses on other aspects of biology, particularly evolutionary biology. See my Calendar and Previous events pages for more details.
I’m based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I qualified as a teacher in 1991 and worked for many years in Thornhill College, Derry, where I taught Biology and Science. Latterly, I undertook further postgraduate study, leading to a Master’s degree with Distinction in Animal Behaviour and Welfare (2009) and, ultimately, a PhD in birdsong (2014), both from Queen’s University, Belfast. For more details of my PhD, see the Science section.
I’m an experienced birdwatcher, skilled in identifying species by sound as well as by sight. I’ve conducted bird survey work for the BTO and the RSPB. I’m a member of the Belfast & Down Ringing Group.
Furthermore, I’m a poet and writer, with an international poetry publication record and two poetry collections. My poetry has also featured in a number of anthologies. (For more details of my writing career, see my sister site, www.marymontaguewritersite.wordpress.com)
Since 2011, local councils and community organisations have employed me as a facilitator for Dawn or Dusk Chorus events. I’ve led public guided outdoor sessions for groups with participants of all ages and all levels of experience. The breadth of my previous experience and the warm response to my birdsong facilitation work prompted me to set up SongBirdSignBird to promote my work.