Please join us as we celebrate our 100th year as a society at our annual conference in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA – the birthplace of AFO. The conference will take place on October 10th through the 13th at Hotel 1620. Details are forthcoming, and registration, plenary speakers, and workshops will be announced in the coming weeks.
Click a year to expand for details on each annual meeting:
Between the 15th and 18th April, 2021 The Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO) held its annual meeting jointly with the Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) and the Northeast Natural History Conference virtually. The meeting was attended by 580, mostly from the US, but also Mexico, Centra and South America, UK, Germany, Canada, and Japan, many of whom were students. The meeting offered 186 oral and 114 poster presentations, many of which are available on demand until May 14th for those registered for the conference. Highlights from the program included two plenary talks, the AFO plenary given by Dr Regina Macedo (Laboratório de Comportamento Animal, Universidade de Brasilia) entitled ‘Leaping to Conclusions: Courtship and Mating System of a Neotropical Bird’, and the WOS plenary given by Dr Ellen Ketterson (Indiana University) entitled ‘Long-term Research on an Ordinary Extraordinary Songbird: The Dark-eyed Junco). We were also honored to include a keynote session entitled ‘Black Birders: Exploring Wild Places and Confronting White Spaces in Ornithology’ in which contributions were provided by Dr. Johnathan Hall, Deja Perkins, Juita Martinez, and Dr. Fidel Atuo, and hosted by Dr. Tim O’Connell.
Six workshops were available focusing on a range of subjects from identifying leaf miners to monitoring tiny mammals with remote devices. Participants were also able to partake in virtual fieldtrips and a natural history video festival allowing everyone to learn something new regardless of their background or taxonomic area of expertise. Despite being virtual, there were also plenty of opportunities to socialize and network with an important emphasis towards enhancing diversity and inclusion. Highlights included a career panel, sessions focused on pre-college student activities and career mentoring for college students and early professionals, a conference 101 for first time conference attendees, and an LBGTQIA+ and allies social – kudos to everyone involved for providing such a broad range of opportunities and content!
AFO Student Presentation Awards were given to Elly Knight (‘The Big Boom Theory: Interpretation and Application of the Common Nighthawk Wingboom Display’), and Ariana Abbrescia (‘Variation in Song Repertoires of Males in Relation to Ancestry in a Chickadee Hybrid Zone’). AFO Best Student Publication Award for a student-led paper in the Journal of Field Ornithology was awarded to Dr. Elsie Shogren for her paper entitled ‘Apparent Survival of Tropical Birds in a Wet, Premontane Forest in Costa Rica’ – congratulations to all AFO award recipients!
The Alexander Wilson Award for Best Oral Presentation went to Luzy Zipf (‘Investigating the Effects of Management of Artificial Nest Boxes on Bird Reproductive Performance in Massachusetts Conservation Areas’), the Lynds Jones Award for Best Poster Presentation Award went to Sarah Polekoff (‘Exploratory Behavior of Urban and Desert House Finches’), the Nancy Klamm Award for Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation went to Francesca Foltz (‘Exploratory Behavior of Urban and Desert House Finches’), and the Klamm Award for Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation went Alex Sidare (‘Does Flight-calling Behavior Differ in Response to Conspecific and Multispecies Calling Cues?). Congratulations to all WOS award recipients!
The Eagle Hill Graduate Student Poster awards went to Megan Hill (‘Benthic Macroinfauna Community Composition in a Partially Restored Back-barrier Salt Marsh Lagoon on Cape Cod National Seashore, MA’- first place), Lauren Ash (‘The Impact of Host Diversity on Ranavirus Prevalence in Vermont Amphibian Communities’- second place, and Luis Vega (‘Multiple DNA ‘Fingerprints’ Resolve Identity of Urban White Water Lily’). The Eagle Hill Undergraduate Student Poster Awards went to Fanny Riand (‘Correlations Between Free-ranging Domestic Cat Activity and Land-Cover Type across an Urban Gradient’- first place), Julia Ophals (‘Success of Batesian Mimicry in the Ant-mimicking Spider Myrmarachne formicaria’ – second place), and Alyssa St John (‘Seasonal Differences in Abundance of Plethodon cinereus in SE Massachusetts’ – third place). Congratulations to all Eagle Hill award recipients!
At our annual member’s business meeting held as part of the conference Jessica Hightower and Cecilia Kopuchian were elected as new members to the AFO council (class of 2024), and David Cerasale, Angela Tringali, and Claire Varian Ramos were elected as returning members. We thank our outgoing council members, Jen Smith (The University of Texas at San Antonio) and Matt Reudink (Thompson Rivers University) for their service to AFO over the last 6 years!
This meeting would not have been as successful as it was without the dedication and hard work of people ‘behind the scenes’. We thank all of the organizers of the meeting, especially members of the Steering Committee (Devyn Adams, Keith Goldfarb, Joerg-Henner Lotze, Chase Uy – all of Eagle Hill; Rebecka Brasso, Valentina Ferretti, Matthew Shumar – all of AFO; Jameson Chace, Dam Klem Jr, and Tim O’Connell – all of WOS) for an excellent meeting!
AFO held its annual meeting as part of the 7th North American Ornithological Congress
The seventh North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC VII), which came to a close on Saturday, August 15, was a resounding success! The conference, organized by nine societies and originally planned to convene in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was moved online as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic grew. This virtual gathering provided an opportunity for nearly 3,000 attendees to share and discuss their efforts in the realms of avian research and conservation, bringing this science to an international audience, meeting the conference’s goal for broad accessibility and engagement. Professional and amateur ornithologists, students, educators, resource managers, conservationists, and other bird enthusiasts participated from 67 countries and represented all continents except Antarctica—it was a truly global interchange of ideas!
The conference offered a rich slate of scientific oral and poster presentations, workshops, round-table discussions, and networking events. Each day featured one or more outstanding lectures by keynote or plenary speakers on salient topics in ornithological research and conservation. Other invited speakers shared important messages about how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession of ornithology.
The NAOC scientific program included 211 oral presentations in 22 symposia, 274 oral presentations in general sessions, 80 tantalizing ‘lightning’ talks on various topics, and 330 poster presentations, all presented live with interactive Q&A sessions. New research, ideas, and tools were also shared through live in-depth discussions in 13 round tables and four workshops. Many innovative networking opportunities, both serious and fun, allowed attendees to meet new people, catch up with colleagues, and share common interests in ornithology.
The virtual format of the conference attracted particularly high attendance from students and colleagues in Mexico, Central and South America, and Caribbean countries. Most of the plenary talks included live Spanish translations, and other presentations offered Spanish and English subtitles on the slides and posters. Many people who would not otherwise have been able to attend were able to do so, due to a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation and sponsorships from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and other partnering organizations, through generous underwriting for free registration for students and greatly reduced registration fees for everyone else. In addition to our host societies, generous sponsors, and exhibitors, we thank the tremendous efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly devoted their talents and countless hours of time and effort to organize and bring this monumental effort to fruition!
The 2019 meeting was held jointly with the Wilson Ornithological Society at the Grand Hotel of Cape May, NJ, 27-30 Oct 2019. Hosted by the Cape May Bird Observatory, the conference offered an exciting scientific program and excellent opportunities for birding in this migration hotspot.
The 2018 annual meeting was held jointly with the Wilson Ornithological Society at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, TN. The conference featured two excellent plenaries: Valentina Ferretti presented, “Variation in extra-pair paternity: lessons learned from studying birds in South America” and Reed Bowman, who received WOS’s Margaret Morse Nice award that honors a lifetime of contributions to ornithology, presented “The challenges of long-term research: getting the work done and keeping it relevant.”
The local host for the conference was David Aborn (David-Aborn@utc.edu). You can read a full recap of the conference by Jen Smith on our blog here, or revisit the action by visiting the twitter stream (#AFOWOS18) from the conference!
This was the Association of Field Ornithologists’ XCV meeting, the XXIV Congresso Brasileiro de Ornitología and the XVII Reunión Argentina de Ornitología. We also celebrated the 100 years of Aves Argentinas.
Dates: August 8-11, 2017 (with workshops and field trips on Aug 7-8 and 12-13)
Location: Centro de Eventos y Convenciones del Iguazú, Hotel Amerian, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones Province, Argentina
For complete details about the event, visit our Ornithological Congress of the Americas page.
In August 2016, the Association of Field Ornithologists held its Annual Meeting as part of the 6th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC VI), hosted by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The meeting was a huge success, attracting over 2,000 attendees from over 40 countries making it the largest-ever ornithological meeting in North America! The meeting’s theme, “Bringing Science and Conservation Together”, was echoed in many of the 1,400+ presentations given throughout the conference.
Highlights from the program included four plenary talks: “Physiology at the Extreme: From Ocean Depths to Mountain Peaks Among the Stars” given by Dr. Jessica U. Meir (NASA); “Nomads, Pioneers and Fugitives: On the Move in a Capricious World” by Dr. John Wingfield (University of California, Davis); “Desafios para Conservar las Aves Cubanas: Lessons from Cuban Waterbirds” by Dr. Lourdes Mugica Valdés (University of Havana); and “Exploring the Sexual Phenotype” by Mike Webster (Cornell University). Attendees were also treated to a variety of special events including early-morning bird walks, the annual quiz bowl, a southern barbeque at the National Zoo, and the annual Bird Jam and Poetry Slam with musical performances from a variety of talented ornithologists including AFO’s former treasurer, Greg Shriver!
AFO Student Presentation Awards were given to Glenn Seeholze, Louisiana State University, for his talk “Complex patterns of population divergence underly dramatic phenotypic cline in an Andean songbird”, and to Santiago David, University of British Columbia, for his talk “Structure and coexistence in a highly diverse community of Amazonian antbirds (Thamnophilidae: Aves)”. The Best Student Publication Award in The Journal of Field Ornithology was presented to Kristen G. Dillon, University of Arizona, for her paper (with coauthor Courtney J. Conway) “Elevational gradient in clutch size of Red-faced Warblers”.
Bergstrom Research Awards were presented to Daniel Pascual Cáceres Apaza, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo; Emiliano Agustin Depino, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán; Cristian Andrés Gorosito, Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagónica; Fernando Henrique Teófilo de Abreu, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia; Alejandro Alberto Schaaf, Universidad Nacional de Salta; Clayton Delancey, Ball State University; Elizabeth Ames, Ohio State University; Katie Schroeder, East Carolina University; James Wright, Ohio State University; Lee Bryant, Arkansas State University. A Pamela L. and Alexander F. Skutch Fund Research Award was given to Renata Biancalana, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, to study cypseloidine swifts in Brazil. Congratulations to all who received AFO awards!
At our annual member’s business meeting held during the NAOC VI, the following AFO officers were elected: Paul Rodewald (President), Daniel Ardia (Vice President), Dale Gawlik (Secretary), and Scott Sutcliffe (Treasurer). Robert Aldredge, and Ian Ausprey were elected as new members to the AFO Council (Class of 2019), and Matthew Shumar, Julie Jedlicka, and Daniel Cristol were elected as returning members.
The 2015 meeting was a joint meeting between WOS-SCO-AFO.
In mid-July, 2015 the AFO held its annual meeting jointly with the Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) and Society of Canadian Ornithologists (SCO-SOC) at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Wolfville, a small college town located in the Annapolis Valley, and along the shore of the Bay of Fundy, was a beautiful setting for our meeting, attended by 252 people. The scientific program included 101 papers, including 60 given by students, which were organized into 12 sessions and 3 symposia (“Ecology and Conservation of Landbird Species at Risk”, “Brochures to Business Plans”, and “Migration in Atlantic Canada and the Gulf of Maine”), in addition to 68 poster presentations (30 given by students). Highlights of the scientific program included two plenary presentations; Dr. Erica “Ricky” Dunn gave the WOS Margaret Morse Nice Medal Lecture (co-sponsored by SCO-SOC) entitled “Bird Observatories: Diversity and Opportunity” and Dr. James Dwyer gave an AFO-sponsored plenary lecture entitled “Range Sizes and Habitats of Non-Breeding Crested Caracaras: Implications for the Evolution of Communal Roosting.”
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. Travel awards were given to 13 undergraduate, 13 MSc, and 11 PhD students.
The AFO “Outstanding Poster Presented by an Undergraduate Award” was given to Akshay Deverakonda, College of William & Mary, for her poster entitled “Spatial Breeding Ecology of Wood Thrush Mating Pairs.”
The AFO “Outstanding Poster Award” was given to Stephanie Chin, College of William & Mary, for her poster entitled “The Effect of Dietary Methylmercury on the Parental Care of a Model Avian Species.”
AFO “Outstanding Student Oral Presentation Awards” were given to Jennifer McCabe, University of MaineOrono, for her presentation entitled “Using an Individual-Based Particle Trajectory Model to Examine Wind Patterns as a Major Driver in the Evolution and Maintenance of North America’s Migratory Divides” and to Desiree Narango, University of Delaware, for her presentation entitled “Behavioral Responses to Nonnative Vegetation by Carolina Chickadees in Residential Landscapes.”
At the annual members business meeting the following AFO officers were elected: Reed Bowman, President; Paul Rodewald, Vice-President; Greg Shriver, Treasurer; Dan Ardia and Scott Sutcliffe, Assistant Treasurers; Michael P. Lombardo, Secretary. The following were elected to the AFO Council: Jill Jankowski, Matthew Reudink, Jennifer Smith, Scott Stoleson, Christine Stracey Richards (Class of 2018).
Revisit the action by visiting the twitter stream (#AFOSCOWOS15) from the conference!
In late May 2014, the Association of Field Ornithologists held its annual meeting jointly with the Wilson Ornithological Society at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. Salve Regina is perched atop Newport’s famed Cliff Walk, overlooking the crashing Atlantic and behind many of Newport’s famous gilded mansions. Over 100 past and current AFO members, including specifically invited former Officers and Council members, attended AFO’s “A Luncheon to Remember”, organized by Dan Lambert, a member of AFO’s Council. Dr. Jerry Jackson, a former AFO President talked about the history of our society and the ensemble discussed how we might take lessons from our history to shape our future. Dan produced a video of the luncheon that is now available from the AFO for members that were unable to attend.
The scientific program also included 60 papers organized into eight sessions, two symposia consisting of 13 papers on Ospreys in New England and on avian frugivores and their conservation, and 57 posters. Travel awards were given jointly by AFO and WOS to 33 students, including 8 undergraduates, 12 Masters and 13 PhD students. Student participation at the meeting was high with 40 of 57 posters and 38 of 71 talks being presented by students – a great indicator of the health of our societies. Among a variety of awards, the AFO Outstanding Student Oral Presentation Award was given to Sarah Goodwin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for her talk “Team of rivals: Alliance formation in territorial songbirds is predicted by vocal signal structure” and Crissa Cooey, West Virginia University, received the AFO Outstanding Student Poster Award for “Age and gender population demographics for managed and unmanaged Double-crested Cormorants in Lake Michigan.” The AFO Award for an outstanding poster presented by an undergraduate was given to John Szot, Villanova University, for “Song recognition in Black-capped and Carolina Chickadee hybrids: an experimental approach.” The AFO Outstanding Poster Award for a person not affiliated with a college or university was given to Kyle Davis of Big Walnut High School, Sunbury, Ohio, for “Changes in the feather microbiota in the nest lining of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) during the reproductive cycle.”
J. David Weins of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Corvallis, Oregon gave the AFO Plenary Talk entitled “Barred Owls in the Pacific Northwest: Ecological impacts on Spotted Owls.”
At the annual members business meeting the following AFO officers were elected: Reed Bowman, President; Paul Rodewald, Vice-President; Greg Shriver, Treasurer; Dan Ardia, Assistant Treasurer; Michael P. Lombardo, Secretary. The following were elected to the AFO Council: Christine Stracey (Class of 2015); Matthew Shumar (Class of 2016); and Valentina Ferretti, Alex Jahn, Bernie Lohr, Jessica Oswald, and Mark Woodrey (Class of 2017).
Revisit the action by exploring tweets from the event.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Archbold Biological Station, visit www.archbold-station.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
*details coming soon*
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.”
*details coming soon*
*details coming soon*