Dr. Kenneth Dial


Dr. Kenneth Dial is a professor emeritus in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana. His research program focuses on the behavior, biomechanics, ecology, and evolution of avian flight. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, Dr. Dial became a professor of biology at the University of Montana in 1988. Dial was founder and acting director of the UM Flight Laboratory as well as director of UM Field Research Station at Fort Missoula. For 3 decades he taught graduate classes in evolutionary biology of East Africa.

As a teenager, Ken took a keen interest in biology from frequent nature explorations out his back door on the Westchester bluffs and adjacent Ballona wetlands. He is a graduate of LMU and was strongly influenced by his mentor Dr. Howard Towner, one of the founders of Friends of Ballona in the mid-1970s.

With more than 35 years of experience as a pilot, Ken is certified to fly several types of jet aircraft but prefers backcountry flying into remote airstrips in the Montana-Idaho wilderness. Ken developed and hosted 26 episodes of “All Bird TV” on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet. Dial remains an active keynote speaker at numerous scientific and aeronautical conferences around the world. He recently transitioned from full-time professorial duties at the University of Montana to increase his commitment to wildlife and land conservation projects in Tanzania, Kenya, southern California and western Montana.

Friends of Ballona Wetlands