Scott Crosbie, PhD

Lab alumnus (PhD)

Scott CrosbieMemorial to Scott who very sadly passed away December 2, 2012

We will treasure the time we had to learn so much from Scott and remember him so fondly forever.

Scott was a brilliant ecologist, fervent advocate for the conservation of wildlife (and Yellow-billed Magpies in particular) and their habitats. He was a kind, patient, and gentle teacher, as well as a treasured friend and colleague. A friend wrote this in Scott’s honor: “There will be brilliantly feathered birds where you are going who will sing their lovely and welcoming songs and you’ll call them by name”.

Position following PhD
Senior Staff Scientist, Cardno Entrix environmental consulting firm

Ph.D. in Animal Biology, 2009, University of California, Davis, CA, Wildlife & Ecology Unit
M.S. in Biological Conservation, 2005, California State University, Sacramento, CA
B.S. in Biological Conservation, 2002, California State University, Sacramento, CA


PhD Project


The Yellow-billed Magpie’s range is limited to the Central Valley and Southern Coast Ranges of California.  This California endemic (meaning found only in California) bird species has suffered dramatic mortality from West Nile virus (WNV); since 2004 over 12,000 dead magpies have been reported to the California Department of Health Services WNV Dead Bird Surveillance Program.  The Yellow-billed Magpie has consistently had the highest proportion of WNV-positive carcasses of all California native bird species. 

Through collaborations with members of the Yellow-billed Magpie Working Group, the public through UC Davis Magpie Monitors Program our lab started, California Dept of Fish and Game, PRBO Conservation Science, The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and other agencies, organizations and ornithologists, we implemented studies to estimate and track population abundance and seasonal habitat-use patterns in 2007 and 2008, and examine loss of genetic diversity post-WNV establishment. 

See our research featured in Yellow-billed Magpie account on Birds of North America Online

Research Experience

Ph.D. research on Yellow-billed Magpies, Graduate Student Researcher, Wildlife and Ecology Unit, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, University of California, Davis. April 2006 to 2009. Project:Impact of West Nie Virus on the Yellow-billed Magpie and Western Scrub-Jay; Status of the Yellow-billed Magpie

Wildlife Biologist, Devine Tarbell & Associates, Inc. 2004-2006. Conduct surveys for special-status species; habitat assessments; author technical reports and environmental assessments; research.

The Nature Conservancy. 2002-present. Operate Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship stations at University of California, Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station.

Graduate Teaching Associate, California State University, Sacramento. 2003-2004. Taught laboratory sections of General Biology.

United States Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Sacramento District. 2001-2003. Evaluated CWA and RHA permit applications; verified wetland delineations; conducted mitigation compliance inspections.

Research Interests


Abundance and distribution of the Yellow-billed Magpie. S. Crosbie, L. Souza, H. Ernest. 2014. Western Birds, The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists.
In loving memory of Scott Crosbie

Crosbie S, Souza LE, Ernest HB. 2011, Estimating Western Scrub-Jay Density in California using multiple covariate distance sampling. The Condor 113(4).

Crosbie, S. P., W. D. Koenig, W. Reisen, V. L. Kramer, L. Marcus, R. Carney, E. Pandolfino, G. M. Bolen, L. R. Crosbie, D. A. Bell, and H. B. Ernest.  2008.  Early impacts of West Nile virus on the yellow-billed magpie, a California endemic.  The Auk.  2008.

Crosbie, S. P., D. A. Bell, and G. B. Bolen. 2006. Vegetative and thermal aspects of roost-site selection in urban Yellow-billed Magpies. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 118:532-536


The Yellow-billed Magpie, a California Specialty. 2006. Sanhill Crane Festival.

Decline of Sacramento Magpies.  2005.  The Yellow-billed Magpie Working Group.

Decline of Sacramento Magpies. 2006.  The Western Section of the Wildlife Society Annual Conference.

The Communal Roosting Behavior of Urban Yellow-billed Magpies. 2005. The Western Section of the Wildlife Society Annual Conference.