Public Release: 

American Ornithologists' Union welcomes new Fellows and Honorary Fellows

17 individuals recognized for outstanding contributions to ornithology

Central Ornithology Publication Office

At the 133rd stated meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) in Norman, Oklahoma, this July, the society welcomed fifteen new Fellows and two Honorary Fellows, who were selected by their peers for their outstanding contributions to the field of ornithology and their service to the AOU. In keeping with the AOU's geographic focus, Fellows must be residents or citizens of the Western Hemisphere, while Honorary Fellows, whose numbers are capped at 100, represent the most eminent members of the global ornithology community and are residents of countries other than the United States and Canada.

This year's newly elected Fellows are Daniel Ardia of Franklin & Marshall College; David Bonter of Cornell University; Courtney Conway of the University of Idaho; Patricia Escalante-Pliego of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Jeanne Fair of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Deborah Finch of the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station; Cameron Ghalambor of Colorado State University; Linnea Hall of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology; Jeremy Kirchman of the New York State Museum; Bruce Lyon of the University of California, Santa Cruz; James Rivers of Oregon State University; Dave Shutler of Acadia University; Douglas Stotz of the Field Museum; Philip Unitt of the San Diego Natural History Museum; and Christopher Witt of the University of New Mexico. The two new Honorary Fellows recognized this year are Gisela Kaplan of the University of New England (Australia) and Tsukasa Nakamura of the University of Yamanashi (Japan).

New Fellows and Honorary Fellows must be nominated by current Fellows or by an AOU committee and are confirmed through a vote of the current Fellows at the annual meeting. "Scientists are typically so busy doing science that we sometimes fail to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues," says Scott Lanyon, president of the AOU. "Therefore, for over one hundred years the American Ornithologists' Union has made a point of formally recognizing Fellows of the AOU, ornithologists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of scientific understanding of birds and to the promotion of a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds."

For more information on AOU Fellows and Honorary Fellows, visit


About the American Ornithologists' Union

The American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. The AOU produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections.

The AOU was founded in 1883 by William Brewster, Elliott Coues and Joel Allen out of concern for bird conservation and interest in developing the field of ornithology in North America. Early AOU efforts led to formation of the National Audubon Society and the Biological Survey (now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Today, the AOU is the largest ornithological society in the Western Hemisphere and one of the oldest organizations in the world devoted to the scientific study and conservation of birds.

The AOU publishes The Auk: Ornithological Advances, which has one of the highest scientific impact rankings among ornithological journals worldwide. The Auk is an international journal that advances fundamental scientific knowledge in two ways: increase in the basic knowledge of bird species, both living and extinct; and increase in the knowledge of broad biological and conservation concepts through studies of bird species.

The AOU Checklist is the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North and Middle America. The AOU has recently completed a complementary checklist for South American birds. The AOU also sponsors The Birds of North America Online, in partnership with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

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