Past Meetings

*under construction*

2016: August 16-21, Washington D.C. (6th North American Ornithological Conference).

AFO met in conjunction with the 6th NAOC meeting in Washington D.C. For more information visit the official website and Facebook page.

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Highlights coming soon

2015: July 15-19, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The 2015 meeting was a joint meeting between WOS-SCO-AFO.  Conference information is forthcoming, but in the meantime visit the meeting website: http://personalpress.acadiau.ca/ornithmeet2015/ and the twitter stream (#AFOSCOWOS15) for more information.

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Highlights of the scientific program included two plenary presentations, two symposia, and contributed papers. Dr. Erica “Ricky” Dunn, presented the WOS Margaret Morse Nice Medal Lecture on Friday morning (co-sponsored by SCO-SOC). On Saturday, Dr. James Dwyer opened the day with an AFO-sponsored plenary lecture. On Saturday afternoon, the societies hosted two symposia, on “Successes and Challenges of Bird Conservation” and “Atlantic Canada and the Gulf of Maine: a Nexus for Migratory Birds”.

The Student Travel Awards Committee (Dan Mennill, Meg Hatch, and Julie Jedlicka) awarded a total of $26,334 to 38 students; our three societies are gratified to support student participation in this tangible way.

2014: May 29 – June 1, Salve Regina University, Newport RI, USA.

More information coming soon. Until then, navigate to the meeting website or the check tweets from the event.

2013: March 27-30, Archbold Biological Station, Venus, FL, USA.

Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, was host to the 2013 meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Archbold Biological Station is a non-profit research facility devoted to long-term ecological research and conservation of the organisms and environments of the Lake Wales Ridge, an ancient, sandy ecosystem of south-central Florida and a biodiversity hotspot of rare and endemic species.

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Central Florida is known for many birding specialties, several with western-affinities such as Florida Scrub-Jay, Crested Caracara, Sandhill Cranes, and Burrowing Owls. By the end of March, many species with Caribbean affinities, such as White-crowned Pigeons, Gray Kingbirds, and Black-whiskered Vireos, can be found in the southern portions of Florida (2-3 hours) and fall-outs during spring migration along the Gulf Coast at places like Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County can be spectacular. In addition, the breeding season of the Florida Scrub-Jay, as well as many other local species, will be in full swing… we might offer the opportunity for a working holiday by asking volunteers to help find nests! The research on scrub-jays at Archbold is one of the longest, continuous studies of a marked population of birds in the world.

Archbold Biological Station protects 5,193-acres of globally significant Florida scrub. Other Archbold divisions are our working ranch, the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center (10,500 acres) and the restoration landscape of the Archbold Reserve (3,648 acres). All of these sites offer excellent opportunities for birding. Locally, we also have great birding locations, such as Highlands Hammock State Park and Avon Park Air Force Range, site of Archbold’s research on several listed species such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. A vast diversity of ecosystems occur within 2-3 hours of Archbold, including Florida Dry Prairie, the Everglades, the Florida Keys and their hammocks and reefs, Ocala National Forest and it’s amazing springs….not to mention world-famous attractions for the entire family, such as Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios among many that are within 2 hours.

The meeting was held in Archold’s new LEED Platinum Lodge and Learning Center. Attendees will have opportunities to meet Archbold scientists, tour our labs and learn about our diverse research. We will offer morning bird walks, and post-meeting field trips, in addition to suggestions for self-guided trips. Housing on-station is limited, shared, but inexpensive; however, there are several nearby (5-6 miles) hotels. We will offer a catered meal plan whether you stay on the station or at a hotel. Lake Placid has a variety of restaurants, but we encourage everyone to sign up for meals. Lodging and meal costs should be relatively inexpensive. Registration and a call for papers will be available soon. The best part is that it is winter or very early spring most everywhere (i.e. still cold), but it will be summer here! For more information, contact the Local Committee Chair at rbowman@archbold-station.org. For more information about Archbold Biological Station, visit www.archbold-station.org.

2012: August 14-18, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Participants in the Fifth North American Ornithological Conference might have expected a damp meeting. After all, it rains in Vancouver more than 160 days each year; plus, concerns about the future of bird study have been hanging over the ornithological community like a coastal fog. However, the nearly 1,500 attendees enjoyed a week of warm, sunny weather and a scientific program that foretells a bright future for the discipline. Members of the Association of Field Ornithologists played key roles in invigorating ornithology at this historic conference.

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The NAOC-V Steering Committee, including outgoing AFO Secretary Lee Robinson, delivered a program that featured cutting-edge science, lively social functions, and productive business meetings. Among the highlights were plenary addresses by longtime AFO members Irby Lovette and Pete Marra. Each set the conference abuzz with talks that were both entertaining and bursting with ideas. Other AFO members who contributed to the proceedings as members of the Steering Committee or Scientific Program Committee included: Robert Curry, Keith Hobson, Rebecca Holberton, Sara Morris, Erica Nol, Katherine Renton, and Kimberly Smith. Their efforts resulted in the largest ornithological meeting ever to be held in Canada or the United States, and the second largest such meeting held in the Americas (NAOC-IV in Veracruz, Mexico involved 1,741 attendees in 2006). The AFO Council meeting, chaired for the last time by Past President Scott Johnson, also drew a large number of participants, with 19 councilors attending the meeting. The agenda included many encouraging reports, including news from Gary Ritchison that the Journal of Field Ornithology is expanding its reach and impact. A report from John Cavitt described how new and renewing members have helped strengthen the AFO by sponsoring 87 Latin American memberships. And Scott Johnson reported a slight uptick in overall AFO memberships in 2012, following five years of decline. Stabilizing the number of members is one of many goals achieved by the Council under Dr. Johnson’s leadership. Over the years, the AFO has enjoyed consistently strong participation by students and early professionals. Contributions from this group were evident at the NAOC-V, especially in oral and poster presentations. Katherine Batdorf, a student at Ohio State University, received the AFO Student Poster Presentation Award for “Are all birds moving poleward?”. The AFO Student Oral Presentation Award went to Leonardo Calle (Florida Atlantic University) for “Predicted changes in foraging habitat of the Little Blue Heron.” Abstracts for both presentations can be found HERE. Finally, four ornithologists were elected to the AFO Council in Vancouver, each for the first time. Alex Jahn and Valentina Ferretti joined the Class of 2014, while Ethan Clotfelter and Scott Stolesen were added to the Class of 2015 (see profiles in June 2012 volume of AFO Afield). This group brings fresh energy and ideas to a Council that was already industrious, but is now inspired by the proceedings in Vancouver.

2011: March 9-13, Kearney, NE, USA.

Like cranes descending from a prairie sky, ornithologists flocked to Kearney, Nebraska, for the 89th Annual Meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Over 400 student, professional, and avocational ornithologists attended the March event, which coincided with annual meetings of the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Cooper Ornithological Society.

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The joint conference featured over 260 oral and poster presentations, as well as symposia focused on Cerulean Warbler biology, Piping Plover and Least Tern management, prairie grouse research, and avian conservation in agricultural landscapes. The remarkable breadth and quality of the scientific program demonstrated the vibrant condition of the AFO and of contemporary bird study, in general. Each of the hosting societies sponsored a plenary address, including one on Sandhill Cranes delivered by the AFO’s invited speaker, Dr. Gary Krapu. Dr. Krapu is a research scientist with the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota. His superb talk described multiple facets of the biology and natural history of the mid-continental population of Sandhill Cranes, explaining, among other things, why so many cranes gather in the Platte River Valley. Many in attendance were surprised to learn that at least some of the cranes observed in the area were on their way to northern Russia! Planned and spontaneous field trips allowed meeting participants to view astonishing numbers of migrating cranes, ducks, and geese. Some even witnessed the dramatic courtship rituals of Greater Prairie Chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse. More highlights can be found in the Message From The President, in the May, 2011 edition of AFO Afield. A copy of the meeting program is archived HERE.

2010: August 12-14, Ogden, UT, USA.

The 2010 meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists was held in Ogden, Utah from August 12-14, 2010. Highlights include plenaries from Drs. Craig Benkman and Charles Duncan and the banquet presentation of the Alexander Skutch Medal to Dr. John P. O’Neill. Additional details about the meeting may be found by downloading the scientific program.

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The meeting was held at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, with the Wasatch Mountains providing a stunning backdrop to events. The meeting was a great success from start to finish thanks to the efforts of John Cavitt, Valerie Frokjer and the rest of the Utah crew, and Andrew Farnsworth, who oversaw an engaging scientific program. Over 100 individuals attended, coming not only from the U.S. but also from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, and Portugal. The AFO provided $5400 in travel awards to help students attend the meeting.

The meeting was kicked off with a reception on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, complete with a Dutch-oven dinner and Western music. On the causeway out to the island, participants viewed great flocks of shorebirds gathering during their fall migration, and then got close looks at the pronghorn, mule deer, and buffalo that inhabit the island. Many felt some guilt at being more thrilled by the charismatic mammalian megafauna than by the phalaropes and avocets. However, people had the opportunity to assuage their guilt by participating in extended birding trips to the Great Salt Lake and the Deseret Ranch after the meeting.

Plenary presentations were excellent but also sobering. Craig Benkman of the University of Wyoming reviewed his studies on the tight coevolution between crossbills and conifer trees, describing how his work now distressingly suggests that crossbills could be decimated by global warming. Charles Duncan of the Shorebird Reserve Network described precipitous declines in shorebirds and efforts to stem those declines by working collaboratively throughout the western hemisphere with academics, agency scientists, landowners, corporations, conservation groups, and community organizations.

At the banquet, John P. O’Neill, winner of the prestigious Skutch Medal regaled us with tales from a multi-decade effort to put together the newly published Birds of Peru. Admiration (tinged with envy!) swept the room as he described new bird species that he discovered along the way.

The AFO Council meeting was the largest and most dynamic meeting of councilors in the recent history of the AFO. The AFO welcomed new councilors Andrea Townsend (Cornell), Paul Hamel (US Forest Service), John McCarty (University of Nebraska-Omaha), Dan Ardia (Franklin and Marshall College), and Tom Gardali (PRBO Conservation Science). The new president of the AFO is L. Scott Johnson Towson University). Kathryn Purcell (US Forest Service) was elected vice-president. David Bonter (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) steps down after highly successful terms as vice-president and president. David has played a major role in an on-going, complete review and overhaul of how the AFO functions. The AFO is certainly better off as a result of his hard work over the past several years.

Much was accomplished during the lengthy but lively council meeting. The council set its sights on several major initiatives for the coming year. Among them, the AFO will be making concerted efforts to increase its involvement in Neotropical ornithology and with Neotropical ornithologists. Actions being considered include inviting individuals based in the neotropics to join the council and having joint annual meetings with Neotropical societies.

The AFO Council will also continue efforts to improve the quality and status of the Journal of Field Ornithology. JFO has thrived in recent years with the unflagging assistance of the publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, represented by Jennifer Lynch, and with Gary Ritchison (Eastern Kentucky University) at the helm as editor. Gary recruited six associate editors this past year, including Daniel Ardia (Franklin and Marshall College), Juan Ignacio (Nacho) Areta (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas, Argentina), David Brown (Eastern Kentucky University), Christopher Hill (Coastal Carolina University), Jeffrey Hoover (Illinois Natural History Survey), Miguel Ângelo Marini (Universidade de Brasília), Abby Powell (Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit), and Tex Sordahl (Luther College). Together they are handling close to 300 manuscripts a year yet they still manage to maintain an average submission-to-decision time of less than 50 days. Clearly, JFO is the place to go to publish work without delay!

2009: April 8-12, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania served as host for the 2009 Association of Field Ornithologists’ conference, held in conjunction with the Wilson Ornithological Society from April 8-12. Nearly 250 registered attendees enjoyed insightful plenary presentations from Bruce Beehler of Conservation International and Sidney Gauthreaux of Clemson University. Beehler delivered an inspirational AFO Plenary Address, urging attendees to embrace natural history studies while discussing his trailblazing conservation work and research in Papua New Guinea. Gauthreaux presented the Wilson Ornithological Society’s Margaret Morse Nice Plenary and detailed his decades of cutting-edge migration research focused on using radar technologies in novel ways.

The poster session was held at the National Aviary, allowing attendees to learn about recent research while interacting with a Cape Thick-knee, Inca Terns, a Hamerkop, and other amazing birds from around the world. Students research was highlighted throughout the meeting, with many novel and memorable presentations (see HERE for information about student award winners). An abundance of migratory songbirds were passing through Pittsburgh during the meeting, and field trips to Carnegie’s Powdermill Bird Banding Station provided attendees with up-close views of the birds. The AFO council would like to extend our sincere thanks to Todd Katzner and everyone at the National Aviary who contributed to such a successful meeting. Special thanks to Andrew Farnsworth and Bob Beason who organized the excellent scientific program.

The AFO Council was pleased to offer $4,000 in student travel awards, with the funds divided among 14 students (award recipients listed HERE). AFO welcomed four new councilors following a vote by the membership in Pittsburgh. New councilors include Michael Lombardo (Grand Valley State University), J. Dylan Maddox (University of Illinois), Victoria McDonald (University of Central Arkansas), and Paul Rodewald (The Ohio State University).

2008: April 17-20, Mobile, AL, USA.

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2007: July 26-29, Orono, ME, USA.

The Association of Field Ornithologists held their 85th annual meeting at the University of Maine campus in Orono, 26-29 July, 2007. The meeting was co-sponsored with Maine Audubon, the University of Maine, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Over 85 people, from as far away as Alaska and the United Kingdom, attended this year’s meeting. Dr. Stephen Kress of the Seabird Restoration Program and National Audubon Society opened Friday’s session with his talk, “Restoring Endangered Seabirds: Lessons from Puffins and Terns”. A day of contributed oral papers followed the morning’s plenary and was capped off with a poster session and reception. Dr. Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and National Zoo, began Saturday’s session with his talk titled “Pathways of Dispersion: The Flyways and Byways of Avian Influenza”, a topic of interest to researchers and general public alike. This was followed by an all-day symposium titled “Lessons from Long-term Monitoring Studies”, which featured a spectrum of case histories on a broad array of species, such as the Kirtland’s warbler, Atlantic seabirds, and American woodcock, and included different methodologies. The symposium was followed by a panel discussion, with the audience raising many interesting points to consider with long-term monitoring data.

Students featured large in this year’s meeting: twenty-four out of the 41 (58%) contributed papers (31 oral, 9 poster) were given by students and, for the first time, the AFO sponsored student presentation awards in recognition of the high quality of research being done by students. The meeting also featured activities to promote student career development and networking, including a student-professional mentoring luncheon, a student evening social, and a student-only early morning canoe trip on the Stillwater River.

July was prime seabird viewing in the mid-coast Maine region and many people got to see puffins, razorbills, terns and many other species on their trips to Machias Seal Island. Birders also enjoyed local trips to see landbirds of the local forests and bogs. Attendees sampled the foods of Maine during the receptions, Friday¹s lobster bake buffet, and Saturday’s banquet. The meeting ended with the Clam City Ramblers providing Celtic music in traditional and “fusion” style. The organizers wish to thank all who attended this year’s AFO meeting!

2006: October 3-7, Veracruz, VE, México.

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2005 April 21-24, Beltsville, MD, USA.

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2004 April 22-25, Ithaca, NY, USA.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, newly housed in its spectacular Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, hosted the Association of Field Ornithologist Association and Wilson Ornithological Society joint meeting 22–25 April. Preceding the paper sessions, the Lab treated us to four incredible workshops on Bioacoustics Research, Digiscoping, eBird, and Sound Recording, reflecting only some of the Lab’s activities. In addition to the usual AFO business, AFO hosted meetings of the North American Ornithological Atlas Committee, Partners in Flight, and the North American Banding Council.

Sixty papers and 47 posters were introduced by Stephen Emlen’s opening presentation entitled “Birds ‘R’ Us: Chronicles of an avian anthropologist,” in honor or his receipt of the Margaret Morse Nice Award from The Wilson Ornithological Society. The Alexander Skutch Fund Award this year went to Carlos Humberto Pereira de Oliveira from Brazil for his study of the behavior and reproductive biology of the Restinga Antwren (Formicivora littoralis).

The annual E. Alexander Bergstrom Research Awards were awarded to Miguel A. Acevedo, Alejandro Bodrati, Jeanne Hammond, Adan Oliveras de Ita, Jennifer McNicoll, Kim Mendres Mendillo, Vaness Pompei, Timothy Billo, and Kelly Williams-Sieg.

At the banquet on the final evening, student awards for best paper were presented to Dana Hawley, a graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, who won the Alexander Wilson prize for her paper entitled “The relationship between social dominance and disease recovery in captive flocks of House Finches infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum” and to Megan M. Szymanski, a finishing undergraduate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, for her paper entitled “High lineage diversity and host sharing of malarial parasites in a local avian assemblage.” Rebecca Heiss, a graduating senior in Biological Sciences at Binghamton University, Binghamton won the Lynds Jones Prize for her poster entitled “Mouth color and tail shape as an indicator of age in American Crows.”

2003 March 19-23, Delaware, OH, USA.

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2002 April 11-14, Fort Myers, FL, USA.

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