Darren S. Proppe

  • The Effects of Sound on Songbird Behavior and Management.
  • Conspecific Attraction: Are Birds Attracted to Their Own Species Songs?

As an educator, Dr. Proppe strives for a relaxed, yet rigorous, approach to learning about the natural world. He promotes applied learning through hands-on activities and example driven presentations. He is most invigorated when teaching students while immersing them in the ecosystems they are studying! Perhaps, that is because it is here that the beauty of God’s Creation is most evident.

In his spare time he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife Sarah, son Elliot, and daughter Grace. He does watch birds off the job too, recently adding the Atlantic puffin, roseate turn, and kirtland’s warbler to his life list! He also enjoys road and mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking. Past experiences include leading wilderness trips in the West and Midwest, teaching scuba diving in the Caribbean, and teaching environmental education along the West Coast. 



  • B.S. in Biology, Texas A & M University in Biology, 1998
  • M.S. in Applied Ecology, Eastern Kentuky University, 2005
  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 2010                                            

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor,  Montreat College Montreat, North Carolina, 2010 – 2012
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta,  2006 – 2010
  • Avian Biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife Fort Collins, Colorado,  2005 – 2006
  • High School Science Educato, Berea College Berea, Kentucky,  Summer 2005
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, Kentucky, 2003 – 2005
  • Environmental Science Educator, American Outdoor Schools Coarsegold, California, 2001 –  2003

Courses taught


  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department:

Academic interests

Dr. Proppe is interested in how animals respond to novel environments – especially those altered by human development. His research focuses primarily on the responses of songbirds to the increasing levels of anthropogenic (human caused) noise that overlaps their vocal signals. Since these overlapped signals are less detectable, he is investigating mechanisms that species employ to increase the effectiveness of their signals in areas of high noise. He is also examining the negative impacts of noise on species diversity and fitness, and searching for potential tools to mitigate these negative effects. 

Research and scholarship

Selected publications

  • Proppe D.S., Byers K.A., Sturdy C.B., & St. Clair C.C. 2013. Physical condition of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in relation to road disturbance. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 91(11): 842-845. 
  • Proppe D.S., Sturdy C.B., & St. Clair C.C. 2013 Anthropogenic noise decreases urban songbird diversity and may contribute to homogenization. Global Change Biology, 19(4):1075-1084. 
  • Proppe D.S., Avey M.T., Hoeschele M., Moscicki M.K., Farrell T., St. Clair C.C., & Sturdy C.S. 2012. Black-capped chickadees sing at higher pitches with elevated anthropogenic noise, but not with decreasing canopy cover. Journal of Avian Biology. In Press.
  • Proppe D.S., Sturdy C.S. & St. Clair C.C. 2011. Flexibility in animal signals facilitates adaptation to rapidly changing environments. PLoS ONE. 6(9): e25413.
  • Kociolek A., Clevenger A., St. Clair C.C., & Proppe D.S. 2011. Effects of the road transportation network on bird populations. Conservation Biology. 25(2): 241-249.
  • Proppe D.S., Bloomfield L.L., & Sturdy C.S. 2010. Acoustic transmission of the chick-a-dee call of the black capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus): forest structure and note function. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 88(8): 788-794.

In the news



  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department: