WOS Membership Renewal Info for 2021

Due to organizational changes within the North American ornithological community, The Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) needed to change its membership portal. Allen Press, who has published the WOS journals since 1952, will be handling this function for us.

Unfortunately, there have been some unexpected delays in getting the new portal operational, we apologize to you for this inconvenience, and ask for your patience.  The new portal is expected to be functional in early 2021. At that time, an email will go out to all members informing them that the portal is open.

In the meantime, if you wish to renew your membership via mail, you can mail a check filled out to “WOS” to:

Wilson Ornithological Society
PO Box 7065
Lawrence, KS 66044

Your membership benefits include:

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

*Please choose (make sure to indicate or include a note if mailing your renewal) how you would wish to receive the journal: In-print, on-line only, or both.

The Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) is an international scientific society comprising community members who share a curiosity about birds. The WOS produces the quarterly Wilson Journal of Ornithology as the latest iteration of scientific journal publication supported by the Society since 1888. The WOS is committed to providing mentorship to both professional and amateur ornithologists through sponsorship of research, teaching, and conservation.

If you have any questions regarding your membership, please contact the WOS administration office at WOS@allenpress.com 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

The Ornithological Council is updating the Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research – and they need your help!

The Ornithological Council is planning a minor revision to the Guidelines to the Use
of Wild Birds in Research. This foundational publication, now in its third edition,
provides an in-depth guide to the animal welfare considerations when performing
research involving wild birds, including ethical considerations and the legal
framework that must be followed by researchers. Topics include investigator impact generally, collecting and trapping, marking, transport, housing and captive breeding, minor and major manipulative procedures, and euthanasia.

The last edition was published in 2010. The Ornithological Council is interested in
compiling updated references from the last 10 years so we can include those in the
next update. If you are aware of a methods paper relevant to a topic covered in the
Guidelines, please submit the citation (and if you have it, a PDF of the paper or a
link to it) to Laura Bies (laurabiesoc@gmail.com). Also submit papers that are not
methods papers per se but assess the impact of the study methods.

We are also looking for volunteers to coordinate the literature reviews for each
chapter. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Laura Bies at

The chapters in the Guidelines are:
Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter 2. Impact of Investigator Presence
Chapter 3. Capture and Marking
Chapter 4. Transport of Wild Bird
Chapter 5. Captive Management
Chapter 6. Minor Manipulative Procedures
Chapter 7. Major Manipulative Procedures
Chapter 8. Scientific Collecting

The 2010 edition of Guidelines is available on our website at BIRDNET.ORG. Thank
you in advance for your contributions!

~Guest news post written by Laura Bies


Call for WOS Councilor Nominations

Wilson Ornithological Society is accepting nominations for our 2021-2024 Councilor class. Every year 3 new councilors are elected to three year terms where they serve along with the WOS Executive Committee to lead and manage the society. Nominations of self or others are welcome.

Nominations need to include the person’s name, affiliation, email address and a short description of their work, and can be sent to Joel Ralston (jralston@saintmarys.edu) by February 1st, 2020.

New Web Page and Other Updates for Wilson Journal of Ornithology

(August 2020) The Wilson Ornithological Society is excited to announce that we have updated and redesigned the web page for The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, and have implemented exciting changes that are intended to maximize access to WJO papers at the lowest possible cost to authors.

The Wilson Journal of Ornithology now offers authors of articles accepted for publication in the 2021 volume (Vol. 133) the following:

  • A 50% discount on pages charges for corresponding authors that are WOS members
  • An inexpensive option for immediate Open Access
  • Discounted publication charges for authors from middle-income and lower-income countries

The new webpage platform, called Meridian, is still hosted by our publishing partners at Allen Press. The old WJO website address (https://wjoonline.org) will always redirect your browser to the new site (https://meridian.allenpress.com/wjo), so you should not have to make any changes to your bookmarks. The new site offers easier navigation, functions better on mobile-devices, and includes new features including Open Access to recent Edwards Prize winning papers.

Details about the new Open Access option and scaled publication charges can be found in our revised 2020 Guidelines for Authors, available on both the WOS webpage for the journal and the new WJO website. WOS members will soon receive an email with more details about these changes to our publishing practices and to the WJO web site, including instructions for how to sign up and manage WJO content alerts.

Announcing the 2020 WOS Research Grant Awards Recipients

The Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Research Grant Awards.
Congratulations to each of the recipients listed below!

Louis Agassiz Fuertes Grants

Graham Montgomery holding a Lined Forest Falcon.

Graham Montgomery holding a Lined Forest Falcon.

Graham Montgomery, University of California, Los Angeles (Advisor: Morgan Tingley). “Insect declines and their consequences for insectivorous birds: 70 years of change in the Appalachian Mountains”.
Almost 70 years ago, researchers surveyed bird and insect communities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, collecting data on abundances, distributions, and diversity for both groups of taxa. This paired dataset provides an opportunity to better understand the scope of insect declines, their effects on insectivorous birds, and the effects of anthropogenic change more broadly. By conducting resurveys at the same sites and using the same methods, but with the help of analytical advances since then, I hope to contribute to our understanding of these important topics in avian ecology and conservation.

Jessie Williamson measuring a Giant Hummingbird.

Jessie Williamson measuring a Giant Hummingbird.

Jessie Williamson, University of New Mexico & Museum of Southwestern Biology (Advisor: Christopher Witt). “The roles of migration and metabolic flexibility in diversification history and genomic connectivity of a cryptic species complex: The Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas)”.
Low-oxygen environments exert strong selective pressure on physiology, yet we do not know how adaptation to high altitude and phenotypic plasticity interact to shape species boundaries. My work focuses on three populations of an exceptional case study: The Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas) complex. Using tracking devices and whole genome re-sequencing, I will characterize the extent of population spatial and temporal overlap across migratory divides in the Andes of South America, and the extent of gene flow and range-wide genomic structure between elevational migrant and high-elevation resident populations. This project will elucidate the roles of latitudinally-varying migratory behaviors and seasonal phenotypic flexibility on diversification history and genomic connectivity.

Wilson Ornithological Society Research Grants

Alexander Di Giovanni holding a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Alexander Di Giovanni holding a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Alexander Di Giovanni, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Advisor: Michael Ward). “Examining avian embryonic heart trate: how brood parasitism affects incubation strategies and the embryo”.
Alex is using embryonic heart rate and incubation patterns to study development of embryos in the eggs of several songbird species. He is investigating how Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism affects development of host eggs and how development of parasitic cowbird eggs themselves varies with different host species.


Erica Geldart with a common eiders on Mitivik Island, Nunavut, Canada.

Erica Geldart with a common eiders on Mitivik Island, Nunavut, Canada.

Erica Geldart, University of Windsor, Ontario (Advisor: Christina Semeniuk). “Assessing the adaptive capacity of an Arctic seabird to increased predation risk from polar bears using non-invasive behavioural and physiological metrics”.
I study a colony of nesting common eiders on Mitivik Island, Nunavut, Canada, that in only recent years has become increasingly exposed to polar bear nest predation. What is unknown is the degree to which eider hens perceive the risk posed by unfamiliar predators such as polar bears, and their concomitant predator-avoidance responses. Before hens began incubation, we simulated a stress-induced response (i.e., human capture and handling) to determine if changes to a stress hormonal marker (i.e., circulating corticosterone in the bloodstream) correlates with a vital response (i.e., heart rate). Further, using trail camera videography and heart rate monitors on eider nests, I am quantifying antipredator behaviour and heart rate responses to evolved (foxes) and functionally novel (bears) predators.

Rachael Di Sciullo with audio recording equipment outside.

Rachael Di Sciullo with audio recording equipment outside.

Rachael Di Sciullo, Illinois State University (Advisor: Charles Thompson). “Multivariate sexual selection on male song in House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)”.
My dissertation research is focused on determining how, simultaneously or sequentially, male-male competition and female mate choice shape male house wren (Troglodytes aedon) song. To address this, I will test the hypotheses that (1) male fitness (i.e., number of offspring sired from both within- and extra-pair matings) is influenced by different song components, and (2) males and females respond differently to synthesized songs varying in putative quality of components. I will test these hypotheses by employing multivariate selection analysis followed by experiments conducted in situ. Altogether, this will result in a uniquely integrated and robust study quantifying sexual selection on male song that will offer insight into the little understood question of how multiple components of song simultaneously play a role in male-male competition and female mate choice.

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf, Indiana University, Bloomington (Advisor: Kimberly Rosvall). “How latitudinal patterns of telomere dynamics mediate life history evolution”.
Sarah is a PhD student at Indiana University who explores the mechanisms animals use to protect themselves against biological ageing following periods of stress, using telomeres – the dynamic chromosome caps that shorten with age and stress – as estimates of biological age. Sarah investigates the bidirectional links between telomeres and stress, i.e. how telomeres are influenced by stress exposure, and how variation in telomere dynamics plays a role in resolving life-history trade-offs. Using the free-living tree swallow, Sarah explores the mechanisms that may prevent and/or reverse telomere shortening across levels of biological organization: among tissues, individuals, and populations. This work will enhance our understanding of telomeres and their repair mechanisms as potentially causative agents in health and longevity and important players in evolutionary ecology across the tree of life.

Paul A. Stewart Grants


Susanna Campbell

Susanna Campbell

Susanna Campbell, The University of Michigan (Advisor: Ben Winger). “Seasonal migration and the adaptive immune response”.
Migratory birds encounter pathogens from diverse geographic locales, from their breeding to wintering ranges. By contrast, non-migrants are primarily exposed to local pathogens. The impact of differential pathogen exposure from breeding and wintering ranges on selection for healthy immune system function in migratory animals remains poorly described. My proposed study will assess genetic diversity in an adaptive immune system gene complex, major histocompatibility complex (MHC), in closely related bird species with sympatric breeding ranges in northern Michigan, but variable wintering latitudes, and more broadly considers how migratory life history shapes and is shaped by fundamental immune functions.

Eric Gulson birding in the mountains. Photo by Teresa M Peagan

Eric Gulson birding in the mountains. Photo by Teresa M Peagan

Eric Gulson-Castillo, The University of Michigan (Advisor: Ben Winger). “Comparative evolution of magnetoreception across passerine birds”.
Magnetoreception is a critical component of bird migration, yet there is little comparative study of how different bird families detect magnetic fields. I plan on altering the magnetic field around control and treatment birds of different species to detect brain regions stimulated by magnetic fields. This will give me an insight into the evolution of this mysterious sensory system in North American passerines.

Meredith Heather holding a Florida Scrub-Jay.

Meredith Heather holding a Florida Scrub-Jay.

Meredith Heather, Florida Gulf Coast University (Advisor: Reed Bowman). “Influence of post-fire structural heterogeneity on resource abundance and foraging behavior of the Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)”.
My project will examine how post-fire structural heterogeneity varies with territory size and how variation in structure influences resource availability, foraging behavior and success, and ultimately fitness of the Florida Scrub-Jay. I will tag breeding adults with Cellular Tracking Technologies LifeTags™ to track their movements within their territories to define habitat use relative to availability of different structural patches. Coupled with focal foraging watches and arthropod surveys, I will be able to estimate habitat use versus availability, resource abundance, and habitat-specific foraging success rates. Understanding the mechanisms linking habitat structure, resource abundance, and habitat use will improve habitat management for the Florida Scrub-Jay and other species that utilize the declining scrub habitat.

Young Ha Suh holding a Florida Scrub-Jay.

Young Ha Suh holding a Florida Scrub-Jay.

Young Ha Suh, Cornell University (Advisor: John Fitzpatrick). “Investigating pre-dispersal prospecting and its effect on dispersal outcomes”.
My research focuses on variation in dispersal decisions in the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), a habitat specialist and cooperative breeding species. Using a newly developed, automated tracking technology, I have been collecting data on prospecting movement of nonbreeding Florida scrub-jays to quantify spatiotemporal patterns, habitat use, and social interactions. My goal is to understand how variation in individual movement affects dispersal decisions, which have significant fitness effects, and ultimately understand the evolution of delayed dispersal in social species.

George A. Hall/Harold F. Mayfield

No recipient for 2020.

The Committee received 113 applications for 2020 Grant Awards.

Previous year recipients