Black Birders: Exploring Wild Places and Confronting White Spaces in Ornithology – A Special Plenary at the 2021 WOS Annual Meeting

This year, the Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society are holding their joint annual meeting with Eagle Hill Institute at the 2021 Northeast Natural History Conference, 15–18 April.
Monday, 12 April is the last day to register for the #NENHC2021.

Among multiple special events, there will be three special plenary sessions (all times EDT):

  1. Friday, 16 April, 2:00–3:25 pm: Dr. Regina Macedo, Laboratório de Comportamento Animal, Universidade de Brasilia: Leaping to Conclusions: Courtship and Mating System of a Neotropical Bird. Sponsored by the Association of Field Ornithologists.
  2. Saturday, 17 April, 2:00–3:25 pm: Dr. Ellen Ketterson, Distinguished Professor in the Biology Department and Science Advisor and Founding Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University: Long-term Research on an Ordinary Extraordinary Songbird: The Dark-eyed Junco. Dr. Ketterson is the recipient of the Margaret Morse Nice Award, sponsored by the Wilson Ornithological Society.
  3. The Wilson Ornithological Society is also proud to sponsor a third plenary session on Sunday, 18 April, 2:00–4:00 pm. This session will feature four speakers presenting brief remarks on their work, followed by a panel Q&A and mentoring discussion open to all. Please join us for…

Black Birders: Exploring Wild Places and Confronting White Spaces in Ornithology

Despite remaining systemic barriers to participation in ornithological societies and potentially dangerous interactions with people in the places where birds are studied, Black ornithologists, birders, and other nature enthusiasts persevere, and thrive. While their contributions to science, education, and conservation are many, the enduring impact of their pioneering careers and their courage to speak on the challenges they face in predominantly white spaces is transformative and inestimable. In this special session sponsored by the Wilson Ornithological Society, four young Black scholars will speak a bit about their work and the spaces they’ve carved out to do it.

Following brief presentations from our individual speakers, there will be a moderated Q&A panel discussion. We welcome your questions at that time and hope this session will be an invaluable mentoring resource. The session will be moderated by Wilson Ornithological Society 1st Vice-President Tim O’Connell. We are delighted to welcome Jonathan Hall, Juita Martinez, Deja Perkins, and Fidel Atuo as our invited speakers!

Dr. Jonathan Hall holding a condor.

Dr. Jonathan Hall is a conservation ecologist who directs the Wilderness Geography Lab at West Virginia University where he studies California condors and wild food geographies. He is a graduate of Morehouse College, where he earned a B.S. in Biology and THE Ohio State University, where he earned a PhD in ecology. Jonathan’s research practice sits at the intersection of science and social science where he explores environmental problems through the lenses of ecology, Black geographies, and Indigenous geographies.

Deja Perkins out birding.

Deja Perkins is and urban ecologist and the Community Engagement Specialist for Crowd the Tap and the Citizen Science Campus Program at North Carolina State University. She co-hosts the weekly webinar Make it Count Monday that explores multiple citizen science projects with NC State’s partner, SciStarter. Originally from Chicago, IL, Deja holds a B.S. in Environmental Science, Natural Resources and Plant Sciences with a Wildlife Concentration from Tuskegee University, and a M.Sc. in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from NC State. A founder of #BlackBirdersWeek that ultimately gave rise to this special session, Deja is passionate about identifying systemic biases in access to wild places and in the citizen science data they generate.

Juita Martinez in front of a Brown Pelican colony.

Juita Martinez is a 4th year environmental and evolutionary biology Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She graduated from Humboldt State University in 2016 (B.S. Zoology). Her current research focuses on Louisiana’s Brown Pelican population, better known as #DinosaurFloofs on her social media pages. Coastal Louisiana has been at the forefront of restoration activity since the 1990s and she aims to better understand the impacts of these human-caused habitat changes on the wildlife that utilize these spaces.

Fidel Atuo out birding.

Dr. Fidel Atuo is an Assistant Professor in Biology at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO. His research focuses on the conservation of globally rare species. Originally from Nigeria, Fidel earned his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Calabar and M.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Jos. His journey into North American ornithology began with an internship at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. For his Ph.D. research at Oklahoma State University (2017), Fidel studied the role of landscape structure on predator-prey interactions. As a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fidel studied habitat use of California Spotted Owls.

WOS Membership Renewal Info – Online Portal is Now Live!

Your WOS membership can now be renewed online via the new member portal.

For first time users of the portal, gain access by clicking here. You will be asked to enter your email address, please use the one you typically receive WOS emails to and/or was associated with your WOS membership account last year. You will then be asked to provide a password.  Password requirements are at least 7 characters long and include both alpha and numeric characters.

Pricing for 2021 memberships:

  • Active Member $40.00
  • Family (multiple members- one copy of journal) $50.00
  • Student $20.00
  • Sustaining $100.00
  • Lifetime (may be paid in 4 annual installments of $250.00) $1,000.00

Your membership benefits include:

If you have any questions regarding your membership, please contact the WOS administration office at or call 785-865-9405 during Central Time Zone Business Hours of 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Thank you for being a member of the Wilson Ornithological Society,
Jameson F. Chace President
Timothy O’Connell First Vice President
Peter G. Saenger Membership Committee Chair

Joint Society Statement on Ornithological Field Safety

WOS recently became aware of a public allegation of a sexual assault by a well-known birder that occurred during a bird-watching excursion in a metro-Atlanta park. The professional ornithological societies of the Americas have come together in solidarity with a statement affirming our commitment to maintaining the safety of everyone participating in ornithological field activities or exploring the natural world.

The professional ornithological societies of the Americas are committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for everyone in the field of ornithology and for all who participate in birding and other forms of nature appreciation. Among its many gifts, the natural world provides immeasurable solace, connection, comfort, wonder, and peace to those who enjoy it, and this should never come with risk, anxiety, or endangerment. While we represent different societies, we are united as a community around these principles. Individual behaviors that prohibit others from safely engaging in ornithology will not be tolerated by our societies, and we will each do our part in advancing these shared ethical ideals.

American Ornithological Society
Association of Field Ornithologists
Neotropical Ornithological Society
Raptor Research Foundation
Society of Canadian Ornithologists-Société des ornithologistes du Canada
The Waterbird Society
Western Field Ornithologists
Wilson Ornithological Society

An update on Volume 132 of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology

The Wilson Journal of Ornithology has released its latest issue (Volume 132, Number 2) on the journal website (  The printed version of this issue is in production at Allen Press and was mailed to print subscribers on February 4th.

The WJO Editor, Managing Editor, and our partners at Allen Press continue to work hard to chip away at the huge backlog of papers that piled up in our peer review pipeline due to the illness and subsequent resignation of John Faaborg as Editor in early 2019, and the untimely death of Acting Editor Mary Bomberger Brown in late 2019. We apologize to WOS members and WJO authors for the lingering production delay in the wake of these unfortunate events. Several papers that have been accepted for publication in the next issue (Volume 132, Number 3) have appeared as Online Early Articles on the journal webpage, and other accepted papers will continue to appear as that now-completed issue moves to the production phase, which takes about six weeks. We have begun to assemble the contents of the final issue of Volume 132 and are hopeful that it will appear closely on the heels of Volume 132 Number 3.

As with all peer-reviewed journals published by non-profit societies, the timely publication of the WJO depends upon the willingness of the ornithological community to continue to provide substantial, constructive, timely reviews of manuscripts. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the pace of day-to-day activities throughout the world, and this has resulted in a great many of our review requests being turned down. We urge all WOS members to help us move manuscripts through peer review as quickly as possible by accepting our review invitations and returning their reviews as quickly as possible.

We thank you for your continued patience.

Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza,  Editor, Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Jeremy Kirchman,  Chair, Publications Committee, Wilson Ornithological Society

Apply Today for WOS 2021 Research Grant Awards!

The Wilson Ornithological Society is now accepting applications for the 2021 Research Grant competition. See below for more information, application instructions, and submission links. Applications are due February 1st, 2021.

Please direct specific inquiries regarding grant applications to Dr. Letty Reichart, We look forward to receiving your applications!

This information is also listed on our permanent Research Grants webpage:

Each year, the Wilson Ornithological Society offers five categories of research grants. The focus of each differs somewhat, as does the amount of the award. Willingness to report results of the research as an oral or poster paper at an annual meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society within the next 5 years and a brief write-up and a photograph of the awardees for the webpage is also a condition of all grants.

Applicants should be current WOS members or willing to become members of WOS.

Application instructions for 2021 award are available here as a PDF for download.

Applicants are asked to submit their proposals electronically to the following Google Form:

Please have your adviser or another person familiar with your research upload a pdf letter of recommendation online at the following link:

Deadline for applications and recommendations: 1 February 2021
Louis Agassiz Fuertes Grant

The Wilson Society’s most prestigious award is available to all ornithologists, although graduate students and young professionals are preferred. Any avian research is eligible. Up to two awards of $2500 are given annually.

George A. Hall / Harold F. Mayfield Grant

This award is limited to independent researchers without access to funds and facilities available at colleges, universities, or governmental agencies, and is restricted to non-professionals, including high school students. Any kind of avian research is eligible. Up to one $1000 award is given. Formerly known as the Margaret Morse Nice Award

Wilson Ornithological Society Research Grants

Up to four awards of $1500 are given annually, for work in any area of ornithology. Two of these awards will be limited to research by Masters students.

Paul A. Stewart Grants

Preference will be given to proposals for studies of bird movements (based on banding, radio or satellite telemetry, or similar methods) or an emphasis on economic ornithology. Up to four awards of $1000 are given annually.