Dr. Jay Mager is a Professor of Biological & Allied Health Sciences at Ohio Northern University, where he teaches courses in ecology, ornithology, and animal behavior. He is also a book review editor for the American Ornithological Society. Jay's life of loonacy began as a young boy spending his summers in northern Ontario, and he is fortunate to have worked with many individuals and mentors who share his interests in loon biology and conservation. Jay has studied loon communication and breeding behavior on breeding lakes in the United States and Canada, and has participated in this study of wintering loons on Lake Jocassee for the past three years. He has always been fascinated by these charismatic birds, and has spent most of his life learning more about the ecological and behavioral requirements necessary for loon survival and reproductive success.
Jay earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology at Hiram College, where he conducted a senior thesis with Dr. Judy McIntyre (Utica College at Syracuse University) researching loon parental behavior in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. He earned his Master of Science degree in zoology at Miami University, where he completed a research project in the Ottawa National Forest within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - in collaboration with Dr. David Evers and under the supervision of Dr. David Osborne - that examined how chick age and brood size influenced loon parental behavior. He earned his Ph.D. in neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University, where in collaboration with his mentor, Dr. Charles Walcott, he examined the behaviors by which Common Loons acquire and defend breeding territories, focusing on the context and conditions by which males give a male-specific call, the yodel, in northcentral Wisconsin.
Dr. Mager's achievements in the field include:
2013-14 ONU Elanor H., and Robert W. Biggs Chair in the Sciences
2010 ONU Interfraternity & Panhellenic Council Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year
2008 ONU College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year
Paruk, J., Chickering, M., Mager, J., Wilkie, S., and R. Espie. 2018. Initial indications of PAH exposure in Saskatchewan Common Loons. FACETS doi: 10.1139/facets-2018-0009. Mager, J.N. and C. Walcott. 2014. Dynamics of an aggressive vocalization in the Common Loon (Gavia immer): A review. Waterbirds 37 (Special Publication 1): 37-46. Mager, J.N., Walcott, C., and W.H. Piper. 2012. Male common loons (Gavia immer) signal greater aggressive motivation by lengthening territorial yodels. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124: 74-81.
Piper, W., Mager, J., and C. Walcott. 2011. Marking loons, making progress. American Scientist 99:220-227.
Mager, J.N., Walcott, C., and W.H. Piper. 2010. Common Loons can differentiate between yodels of territorial neighbors from non-neighbors. Journal of Field Ornithology 81: 392-401.
WHY STUDY LOON VOCALIZATIONS?
"Studying loons as a graduate student, I became quite interested in the mechanisms by which loons select and actively defend breeding territories. Dr. Charles Walcott at Cornell University really helped me explore ideas as to how vocal communication plays into this process. It's quite interesting that, although the loon vocal repertoire is one of the most characteristic features of the northern wilderness, we know very little about what these individuals are saying about themselves and to each other through their fascinating vocal signals. We've only begun to learn about these intriguing calls." ~Dr. Jay Mager