Shelby McCay

Project Coordinator I Curriculum Vitae

Shelby joined the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute in August 2017 as a student technician and now serves as a Project Coordinator I. As a part of the engagement team, her work focuses on managing and expanding the Institute’s distance education program, and supporting the Wild Pig Outreach Program and Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative through social media, blog writing and participating in outreach events.

As a master’s student, Shelby was part of the Biodiversity Assessment & Monitoring Lab under Dr. Thomas Lacher in the Wildlife and Fisheries Department. Her work is focusing on how IUCN knowledge products are used in the development and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and National Reports under the Convention on Biological Diversity in North, Central and South American countries. Her other research interests include conservation biology, threatened and endangered species, and natural resource policy; her true passion lies in conserving and educating the public about small mammals and other uncharismatic species. In addition she currently serves as the New World Program Coordinator for the IUCN SSC Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG) and is a certified IUCN Red List Trainer.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in May 2015 from Texas A&M and Master of Natural Resources Development in August 2019.

Outside the office, Shelby enjoys painting, traveling, reading and exploring the outdoors.


Authored Articles

Spotlight on Quail Predators: Raptors

Raptors, a.k.a. “birds of prey,” include eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and many other species. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapio, meaning to seize or take by force; this is quite apt as raptors will often swoop down and seize prey with their large talons. But which species are the main predators of quail?

Why Don't Pen-raised Quail Survive in the Wild?

While quail may be relatively easy to raise in captivity, research strongly indicates that these pen-raised birds are not well suited to survive long-term in the wild. Read more to find out why.

The Intersection of Gopher Tortoise Policy and Conservation

Habitat loss, invasive species, disease, overexploitation, pollution—these are just a few of the many threats that species face in their fight for survival and that conservationists try to manage for in their efforts to protect and conserve species.

Coping with the Cold

Winters in the Lone Star State can be harsh, especially for a 6 inch tall, ground-dwelling bird. Quail faced increased pressure from predators, food scarcity, and frigid temperatures in the winter, but they also have a unique set of behaviors and adaptations for dealing with those challenges. Learn more in this article.

Supplemental Feeding for Backyard Wildlife

Providing supplemental feed is a way to quickly attract and maintain frequent visitation of wildlife species in your backyard habitat. This article explains how to get started, what to feed and methods to manage your backyard in a safe and healthy environment for your outdoor visitors.

Wild Pigs and Mast Crops

Wild pigs are considered opportunistic omnivores – meaning they will consume both plant and animal food sources available to them throughout the year. The vast majority of a wild pigs diet consists of plant materials, and an important, seasonal food source for wild pigs are mast crops (acorns, fruits or beans). Common mast producing species in Texas include oaks, hickories, honey mesquite, prickly pear cactus and persimmon. This article will highlight the research that has been conducted on wild pig competition with native wildlife for mast, the effects mast has on wild pig population trends and how wild pigs’ consumption of mast can influence forest composition.

Native Plants for Backyard Wildlife

A well-manicured lawn with perfectly trimmed trees and shrubs may look appealing to people, but it can be a veritable desert for many species of wildlife. The majority of ornamental plant species do not provide enough food or cover, making gardens unappealing to animals. Luckily, there are plenty of native plant species which look great and also support wildlife. Learn how to incorporate them into your landscaping in this article.