Canadian-American Center Fellow Feature: Liam Berigan

Can-Am Fellow Researching Bird Migration on the East Coast

University of Maine PhD student, Liam Berigan, is one of several recipients of the New England-Atlantic Provinces-Quebec (NEAPQ) Fellowship for the 2022 academic year.

The NEAPQ Fellowship is offered by the Canadian-American Center and the University of Maine Graduate School. It is available to graduate students in disciplines that focus on Canada or Canada-US relations. Each academic year, the fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, tuition waiver, and 50% of University issued health insurance. The award is available to citizens of any country.

Berigan learned about the fellowship through a former awardee of the NEAPQ fellowship, and recommends that any student looking to receive this fellowship give it a shot. A paper from his Master’s degree work “Availability of lesser prairie-chicken nesting habitat impairs restoration success” is in press and will be published this fall in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Berigan has been interested in birds since his undergraduate degree, having participated in many field research studies, and has since migrated towards scientific research. His current research focuses on the migration of the American woodcock. Using miniaturized satellite-GPS transmitters, he travels along the North American east coast to deploy tags on American woodcock in concert with state, federal, and provincial collaborators. He uses these tags to learn about the woodcocks’ migratory routes, habitat use, survival, phenology, and connectivity. The locations of the tagged woodcocks are available in real time here, as well as annual reports and interactive tools for exploring past migratory data. To read more about Berigans research and see pictures of him in the field, click here.

Berigan, a student in UMaine’s Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology department, enjoys birdwatching and spends his free time exploring Maine looking for new species. His other hobbies include trail running, cross-country skiing, collecting mystery novels, vegetarian cooking, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. After obtaining his PhD, Berigan plans to continue conducting research on bird migration, either in academia, a federal agency, or for a non-profit.