Alexandra Anderson holding a Cooper's Hawk. Photo provided by Alexandra Anderson
Alexandra Anderson holding a Cooper’s Hawk. Photo provided by Alexandra Anderson

Allie Anderson is an avian ecologist and research scientist. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Trent University studying the effects of wind turbine design on bat and bird mortality. Allie recently completed her PhD on the stopover and migration ecology of shorebirds along remote areas of the James Bay coast in Ontario. She has conducted wildlife research in 10 states and provinces in the last 10 years.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a beautiful drawing of an American kestrel from @BW_Robinson and other bird art

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

un poco Espanol

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

An artist if it was feasible. If unfeasible, work as an Advisor at a University

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Women’s health research

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

To visit my family in Wisconsin

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I would rather not (how boring!)

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Strongly, no. Recently, I listened to a hilarious podcast called The Missing Hit by the reply-all podcast

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Go hiking/bird watching, beach combing, reading, drawing, play guitar

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Food, water, shelter (sorry)

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Nothing is coming to me. I struggled with reading in school. I did not enjoy it, and found it difficult. It became much easier in college, and I now love reading.

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

A marine biologist 🙂 and then an athletic trainer!

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Curiosity and wonder about the world

19 What got you excited in science?

I really didn’t get excited about science (as it was taught in school) until I was in University. I didn’t mind science before that, but I wouldn’t say I was excited about it. I took a few introductory classes, zoology and botany, in University. The professors were so knowledgeable, and I started to ask questions that they could not answer or there wasn’t an answer to yet. I was hooked from there.

20 What excites you about science now?

Getting out in the field and observing animals in their environments. Learning to code more complex problems. Talking with students who are just starting their careers and are passionate

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Dark chocolate, I eat some every day

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can play the clarinet 🙂

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

The Prisoner of Tehran

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

In my undergrad, I was thinking of pursuing a non-research-based master’s degree. Several mentors told me that I was underestimating my abilities. Without them, I am not sure I would have taken the path I did. I am so grateful to them for seeing my potential when I did not have the confidence.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Nothing! If I want to try something, I give it a shot even if I am nervous about it. It is a freeing way to live. If there are things I want to try that I haven’t done, it’s usually because of financial constraints.

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Be yourself, be kind, do the things you love, and you will find your place.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

A walk in nature

29 What is the last thing you watched?


30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A dead bird

31 What is your favorite animal?

Dogs 🙂

32 What is your favorite book?

Harry Potter #4

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?


35 What is your favorite plant?

Any gentian

36 What is your favorite science fact?

A semipalmated sandpiper (a shorebird about the size of a sparrow) flew non-stop from James Bay in Canada’s subarctic to Venezuela in 6 days (Brown et al. 2017 paper)

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Fall leaves

39 What is your favorite sound?

Wood Thrush

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My spunk

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

I really don’t have one

42 What is your proudest moment?

Coordinating 4 helicopter flights of gear and people to remote field camps safely and efficiently (a more recent moment)

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A sugar maple

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Living with my partner!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

At first, I said I would never be one of those bird people. Well, that didn’t turn out as planned.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Ve Sesin @spargeline