Andy Jones

Andy Jones with juvenile Boreal  owl

• Email:
ajones@cmnh.org

• Twitter Handle:
@CMNHOrnithology

• Website/Blog/Etc:
https://www.cmnh.org/jones

• My position with AOS:
Secretary

• My current full-time title and institution:
Director of Science and William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Endowed Chair of Ornithology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

• My current career stage:
Mid-Career Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
My long-time mentor, Wallace Coffey, was a marketing director at a local newspaper in northeastern Tennessee, and a naturalist in his spare time. He encouraged me to reach out to professors who taught classes that I particularly liked, and that led to field work on birds in the Everglades with Stuart Pimm and lab work on fish genetics under Gary McCracken and David Etnier, all at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. My Ph.D. was with Bob Zink at the University of Minnesota, with additional mentoring from Scott Lanyon (also UMN) and Bob Kennedy (then at Cincinnati Museum of Natural History).

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
Within a single species, birds differ from place to place, and I use their DNA to understand how and why.

• My favorite bird and why:
Black-capped Chickadee; familiar, acrobatic, and full of personality. Once they’re in the hand, they are the angriest animal on the planet.

• I am involved with AOS because:
AOS has been my home society since college. The society publishes and communicates great science, and welcomes students into ornithology.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Annual meetings are amazing – they are social, intense, fun, and full of exciting discoveries.

• Birds are important to me because:
I’ll never stop being amazed by migration. Birds pull off incredible feats of endurance and navigation, and connect the hemispheres.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Read a peer-reviewed paper every day. Read widely; don’t just get hyper-focused on your narrow study subject.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How do we make the majority of people care about declining birds and their habitats?
Also, I’d like to know why I cannot find a Yellow-eared Toucanet, even after a dozen visits to Central America. This is getting ridiculous.

• Fun random fact about myself:
I am quite obsessed with eBird, and I try to submit at least one checklist every day.

 

Nandadevi Cortes-Rodriguez

• Email:
mcortes@ithaca.edu

• My position with AOS:
Diversity Committee Member

• My current full-time title and institution:
Postdoctoral Researcher, Ithaca College

• My current career stage:
Postdoc

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Dr. Blanca Hernandez-Baños (Undergrad and masters)
Dr. Kevin Omland (PhD)
Dr. Robert Fleischer (Postdoctoral)
Dr. Susan Witherup (Postdoctoral)

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I work on population genetics of birds, especially those with populations on islands. Trying to conserve what is left!

• My favorite bird and why:
Snowy Owl – Owls in general are my favorite birds, but this one is enigmatic and majestic

• I am involved with AOS because:
Trying to make people from outside of Academia and underrepresented groups welcome. Also, I think outreach is very important, specially now we have to go out and talk with people about science.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
You can interact with ornithologists at different stages with different lines of research

• Birds are important to me because:
They are not only pretty but very important for the ecosystem, some plants won’t germinate without passing through their gut. Plus, is a good way of interacting with people that are not biologists, many of them have bird feeders just to see the pretty birds

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Research is fun, don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
And how is population declines and genetic loss affecting other species in the ecosystem?

• Fun random fact about myself:
Once in a while I go hiking! I enjoy being out there an appreciate nature that sometimes we take for granted. I also enjoy classical music!

 

Nicholas A. Mason

Nick Mason
Nick Mason with a snowy owl specimen

• Email:
nicholas.albert.mason@gmail.com

• Twitter Handle:
@nick_mas0n

• Website/Blog/Etc:
www.namason.com

• My position with AOS:
Chair of Student Affairs Committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Graduate Student, Cornell University

• My current career stage:
Graduate Student

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Kevin Burns, San Diego State University, M.Sc.
Irby Lovette, Cornell University, PhD

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study why there are so many species of birds and why species and individuals look different. Museum specimens and DNA help.

• My favorite bird and why:
Common Loon: I like the black and white aesthetic. Growing up in Minnesota, I remember hearing its bizarre call on wooded lakes. Nostalgia!

• I am involved with AOS because:
Involvement in AOS allows me to contribute to a multigenerational legacy of studying and conserving birds.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Exposure to the breadth of research addressed by ornithologists. Annual meetings!

• Birds are important to me because:
Exposure to the breadth of research done by ornithologists and networking opportunities across disciplines.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Be resilient in seeking funding and publishing your work. Let rejections roll off your back like water off the dorsum of an eider.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How many times have silly walks convergently evolved in birds?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I prefer Twizzlers to Red Vines.

 

Crystal Ruiz

Crystal Ruiz• Email:
cruiz@americanornithology.org

• My position with AOS:
Administrator

• My current full-time title and institution:
Administrator, AOS

• My current career stage:
Mid-Career Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
BSBA, Devry University; International Accountant tracking financials for seven global offices; and Administrator-extraordinaire at a regional environmental nonprofit

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
In haiku: I hold down the fort, these members prefer to soar; advancing bird science.

• My favorite bird and why:
Black-capped chickadee – they’re spunky and have cute cheeks

• I am involved with AOS because:
So I can absorb bird knowledge and identification chops at annual meetings.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Getting to ride along on bird walks!

• Birds are important to me because:
They are essential to a healthy environment and to human existence.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Receipts are required for expense reimbursement from the processing office.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
Decreasing light pollution as a means to aid birds and people.

• Fun random fact about myself:
I had pet rats growing up because my sister was allergic to everything.

Steve Beissinger

• Email:
beis@berkeley.edu

• Website/Blog/Etc:
https://nature.berkeley.edu/beislab/BeissingerLab/

• My position with AOS:
President

• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology, UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ)

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
My academic lineage traces back to Joseph Grinnell, the first Director of MVZ at Berkeley, which inspired me to retrace his footsteps throughout California in the Grinnell Resurvey Project http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I produce ecological knowledge that can be used to both conserve biodiversity and understand how nature works. I learn from my students.

• My favorite bird and why:
I don’t play favorite – I love them all.

• I am involved with AOS because:
The best way to become a professional who studies birds is to spend time with ornithologists of all ages and learn from them at AOS meetings.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Meetings: hanging with ornithologists, making new friends, thinking deep thoughts, learning more about birds, and drinking good beverages

• Birds are important to me because:
Birds pierce the armor of our everyday life: conspicuous, sometimes beautiful, often melodious and usually able to fly, they engage us

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Don’t be afraid to take the scenic route through academia. Taking time off for fieldwork before tackling a Ph.D. gave me pivotal experiences.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How can we best conserve our birds, and motivate people and decision makers to do the same?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I like to stand in streams and fling flies at spots where fish are supposed to be.

• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
I had no interest in birds until I took ornithology during my last quarter as an undergraduate. Fell in love and the rest is history.

Susan Haig

Sue Haig birding at Crater Lake

• Email:
susan_haig@usgs.gov

• My position with AOS:
Former President, Council Member

• My current full-time title and institution:
Senior Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey. Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Oregon State University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Undergrad: Richard Verch, Northland College
Ph.D.: Lewis Oring, U. of North Dakota
Smithsonian postdoc: Jonathan Ballou/Scott Derrickson

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I try to save endangered birds via molecular and field assessments, students and twisting arms of people who can help save them. It works!

• My favorite bird and why:
I don’t have a favorite bird –get serious! How could you choose?!

• I am involved with AOS because:
AOS is a great organization for learning, teaching, conservation and colleagues.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
watching students/postdocs progress through their careers, following progress in research and conservation, keeping in touch with friends.

• Birds are important to me because:
They are my soul and they are the strongest indicators of environmental status on earth.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Don’t let anyone tell you not to pursue your interests because there are no jobs. If you work hard, there will be a job.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
I would like to see the taxonomic definition of a species resolved once and for all… as long as people agree with my definition!

• Fun random fact about myself:
I started my career playing Woodsy Owl for the U.S. Forest Service as I was the only person short enough to fit in the costume.

• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
It is very important for graduate students and postdocs to become an active member of a professional society that they see as their ‘academic home” early on as the rewards will only grow as they get further into their careers. The benefits might not be immediately apparent to a young person but they will never regret it as they get older.

Mark E. Hauber

Mark E. Hauber_Takahe
Mark E. Hauber and a Takahe

• Email:
markehauber@gmail.com

• Twitter Handle:
@cowbirdlab

• Website/Blog/Etc:
www.cowbirdlab.org

• My position with AOS:
Editor-in-Chief of The Auk: Ornithological Advances

• My current full-time title and institution:
Vice Provost for Research, City University of New York

• My current career stage:
Mid-Career Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Profs. Paul Sherman and Stephen Emlen, Cornell University: PhD mentors

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I place 3d printed eggs into bird nests to figure out why they reject or tolerate brood parasites

• My favorite bird and why:
The Brown-headed Cowbird is nature’s marvel—it looks like a blackbird and acts like a (parasitic) cuckoo.

• I am involved with AOS because:
I received a lot of support from fellow ornithologists during my years. I’d love to give back through the AOS.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
The best part of AOS is the annual meeting. Great friends, great research, and unapologetically bird-themed.

• Birds are important to me because:
Birds are important to me. They just are. It’s who I have been since I was 5 years old.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Try to image what a bird would think when you design your study. Assume that they know as much as you already do—and that should be your starting point

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How do birds encode imprinted information—where are memories stored in their brains?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I have been to all 50 of these United States. And 70 other countries, too.

• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
Don’t remove cowbird eggs from a nest unless you’re authorized.