Chad Wilsey

Vice President and Chief Scientist

Chad Wilsey is Vice President and Chief Scientist for the National Audubon Society. He leads a team of scientists conducting analyses in support of Audubon’s national initiatives on Climate, Coasts, Water, and Working Lands. Recently, Chad was principal investigator on Audubon’s Survival By Degrees: 389 Bird on the Brink report, North American Grasslands and Birds report, Future of Birds in Our National Parks study, and Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Decline report.

Chad’s research generally focuses on the impacts of climate and land-use change on birds and ecosystems. He commonly works with big data collected by volunteer scientists along with tools such as GIS, machine learning, and systematic spatial prioritization.

Prior to Audubon, Chad's scientific research focused on applied conservation biology with an emphasis on birds. He completed a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on birds and other threatened wildlife in the Pacific Northwest; he examined the sustainability of cowbird management for the then-endangered Black-capped Vireo in Texas; and he demonstrated the value of cacao and banana plantations for birds in Costa Rica. Chad began his professional career as a wildlife biologist conducting surveys for Greater Sage-GrouseBald Eagles, and other breeding species in energy development projects in Wyoming.

Chad is fluent in Spanish and lived abroad for three years in Mexico and Costa Rica. He has a PhD from the University of Washington, an MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BS from the University of Puget Sound. Chad grew up north of Milwaukee, one mile from the Schlitz Audubon Center that he visited regularly. He now lives in Berkeley with his wife and 9-year-old daughter and works out of the Audubon California San Francisco office.