Emily B. Cohen

Emily Cohen banding a red-eyed vireo

• Email:
CohenE@SI.edu

• Twitter Handle:
@Emily_B_Cohen

• Website/Blog/Etc:
http://www.emilybcohen.com/

• My position with AOS:
Communications Committee Member

• My current full-time title and institution:
Research Associate, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

• My current career stage:
Early Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
MS in Zoology at Michigan State University with Catherine Lindell
PhD in Biology at University of Southern Mississippi with Frank Moore
Postdoc at Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center with Pete Marra

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study bird migration and I never see any birds. The birds I study are dots on screens & records in data files

• My favorite bird and why:
What is your favorite bird?! Unfair question for ornithology type! I will go with migratory birds because they make an extraordinary lifestyle look simple!

• I am involved with AOS because:
AOS has been my professional home since I began in ornithology. Member Benefits were journals & grants now are connections, advocacy & professional info. 

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Best part of AOS membership is exposure to great ornithology science & supportive professional community.

• Birds are important to me because:
It’s our connection with the natural world that the future of both humanity and the natural world will depend. And it is, surely, our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth. -paraphrased from David Attenborough

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Science is about solving important mysteries & diverse perspectives/skills needed. Your unique point of view is valuable.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
Are we inflating the cost of being a migratory animal. If so, how? Are we going to be able to draw these big syntheses in time, while these birds are still common?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I grew up in Hoot Owl Hallow.

 

Bob Montgomerie

Bob Montgomerie• Email:
mont@queensu.ca

• Twitter Handle:
@bobmontgomerie

• Website/Blog/Etc:
post.queensu.ca/~mont/Montgomerie/

• My position with AOS:
Chair, History committee; member of BNA-AOS liaison committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor, Department of Biology, Queen’s University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
I did my PhD with Peter Grant at McGill University, starting in 1973 when he first went to the Galapagos to begin working on the finches. Since joining the faculty at Queen’s, I have trained many thesis students (undergraduate, MSc, and Phd) and postdocs, 25 of whom now hold faculty positions. Several of those people still study birds, including: Bruce Lyon, John Eadie, Jim Briskie, Sue MacRae, Ian Jones, Henrik Smith, Geoff Hill, Stephanie Doucet, Brad Congdon, Stephen Yezerinac. Gary Burness, Mark Mallory, Jim Dale, Troy Murphy, and Fran Bonier. I continue to collaborate on bird studies with many former students, as well as with colleagues at other institutions worldwide including Tim Birkhead, Alexis Chaine, Kirsten Greer, and Suzanne Alonzo.

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study sexual selection in birds winter plumage colours and gametes, as well as the history of ornithology…and more

• My favorite bird and why:
Rock Ptarmigan: studied for >2 decades; they are tame, engaging, goofy, circumpolar, unique, & have taken me to neat places incl Fr Pyrenees

• I am involved with AOS because:
Both to learn and teach others about birds, to be part of a voice for ornithology and bird conservation

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
AOS meetings and a sense of community

• Birds are important to me because:
Probably most important, they have provided my livelihood in a lifestyle that simply cannot be beat

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Learn to write well, and try writing something every single day.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How important is mate choice as an engine of sexual selection?

• Fun random fact about myself:
On 1973 Newfoundland seabird survey, a fierce storm stranded me for a week on island with 50K murres & no food, rescued by chopper at night

 

Rebecca Heisman

Rebecca_Heisman_03 - Copy• Twitter Handle:
@r_heisman

• Website/Blog/Etc:
www.rebeccaheisman.com

• My position with AOS:
Communications Assistant for The Auk & The Condor (freelance)

• My current full-time title and institution:
Freelance Science Writer

• My current career stage:
Early Professional

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I pester Auk & Condor authors to tell me about their research. Then I tell other people about it.

• My favorite bird and why:
Meadowlarks. You can’t look at a meadowlark without feeling happy.

• Birds are important to me because:
Almost everyone has wild birds in their neighborhood. It’s an easy entry point to get people caring about conservation.

• Fun random fact about myself:
I play the trombone.

 

Charles F. Thompson

Charlie Thompson• Email:
wrens@ilstu.edu

• Website/Blog/Etc:
http://biology.illinoisstate.edu/wrens/

• My position with AOS:
Member of the AOS Research Grants Committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Research Professor, Illinois State University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
PhD advisor: Val Nolan Jr, Indiana University
Postdoc advisor: Carl Helms, University of Georgia

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I get to ask interesting questions about birds and work with great students.

• My favorite bird and why:
House wren. They have been very good to me.

• I am involved with AOS because:
It is my professional home

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
There are a lot of people in the club who find birds as fascinating as I do, which isn’t true anyplace else.

• Birds are important to me because:
They are very interesting

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Don’t let anyone discourage you

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
Why, really, do birds engage in extra-pair matings?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I’ve eaten the stomach contents of a walrus

 

Sara A. Kaiser

“Reunited with my love. I think the feeling was mutual. zoo zoo zoo zeeeeee!” Sara Kaiser studied Black-throated Blue Warblers for her dissertation.

• Email:
sara.ann.kaiser@gmail.com

• Twitter Handle:
@SaraAKaiser

• Website/Blog/Etc:
www.sarakaiser.com

• My position with AOS:
Early Professionals Committee Chair

• My current full-time title and institution:
Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics

• My current career stage:
Postdoc

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Carol Vleck (undergrad, Iowa State University)
Catherine Lindell (masters, Michigan State University)
Eric Kershner (NGO)
Michael Webster (PhD, Cornell University)
Scott Sillett (PhD, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center)
Robert Fleischer (postdoc, Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics)

Making friends with the local endemics – the Friendly Bush-warbler on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I follow songbirds around the forests to snoop on their secret sex lives

• My favorite bird and why:
The boisterous tui native to New Zealand – they have their own pom poms to cheer each complicated note and awkward click and wheeze

• I am involved with AOS because:
When I was introduced to this bird community by the Vlecks as an undergrad in 2001, it felt like home; AOS is now my home society

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
AOS meetings are reunions bringing together my favorite people from different chapters of my life – a chance to catch up with friends and their science

• Birds are important to me because:
Birds connect me to the natural world no matter where on Earth I am standing

Processing a bird at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego where Suellen Lynn and Sara started a MAPS banding station.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Don’t be in such a rush, there’s a world full of birds to see, take advantage of opportunities to go see them

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
What is the relatedness of individuals migrating north and south together?

• Fun random fact about myself:
Earlier in my life I was a synchronized swimmer – my twin sister and I tap-stroked and ballet-legged our way through our youth

 

John W. Fitzpatrick

JWF Paddle-Belize2011
John W. Fitzpatrick birding in Belize via canoe

• Email:
jwf7@cornell.edu

• Website/Blog/Etc:
http://ecologyandevolution.
cornell.edu/john-weaver-fitzpatrick

• My position with AOS:
Past President (2000-2002), Council Member

• My current full-time title and institution:
Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Ernst Mayr and Raymond A. Paynter, Jr. (undergrad, Harvard)
John W. Terborgh (PhD, Princeton)
Melvin A. Traylor and Emmet R. Blake (early career, Field Museum)

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I oversee the world’s premier center for the study of birds and the engagement of citizens around the globe in monitoring their populations and movements.

• My favorite bird and why:
Red-breasted Nuthatch – most personality-packed little bird, and you’re always in a cool place when you see one

• I am involved with AOS because:
AOS is my home scientific society since 1972, and it is more stimulating today than ever; cross-disciplinary studies within a taxonomic focus

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Extremely fun meetings filled with young, talented, and eager bird-heads who teach me amazing things every year.

• Birds are important to me because:
They are by far the best windows into the natural world, from the intellectual to the spiritual, engaging both sides of my brain every single day.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Do not be afraid to follow your passion, to push yourself in new directions within it, to think big and aim high.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How can we get tens of millions of bird lovers to exercise their political power and affect societal priorities for sound environmental stewardship?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I really like golf, and enjoy playing it with Molly, my wife since 1983

• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
My biggest wish for AOS is that all the other ornithological societies would follow the courageous lead of AOU and Cooper Ornithological Society in merging.

Kathi Borgmann

Kathi Borgmann_recording bird sounds
Kathi in the field recording bird songs.

• Email:
klb274@cornell.edu

• Twitter Handle:
@KathiBorgmann

• My position with AOS:
Chair of the Communications Advisory Committee

• My current full-time title and institution:
Science Writer, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

• My current career stage:
mid-career professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Undergrad – University of Wisconsin, Madison – Advisor: Don Waller
Masters – Ohio State University – Advisor: Amanda Rodewald
Ph.D. – University of Arizona – Advisor: Courtney Conway
PostDoc – University of Arizona – Advisor: Courtney Conway

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I write about all things birds and tell their stories for the masses.

• My favorite bird and why:
Antpittas: cool, cute, intriguing little eggs on stilts

• I am involved with AOS because:
To engage with fellow ornithologists

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Annual meetings

• Birds are important to me because:
Birds are a currency for conversation. People connect with birds and what we know about them let’s us converse with the public to encourage environmental protection.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Learn how to give positive feedback even to yourself
Find a question that you are passionate about
Finding a good mentor is like gold, make sure your advisor can give you what you need

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
Population declines

• Fun random fact about myself:
When I was about 10 years old I started an anti-littering campaign in my neighborhood. I went door to door to explain why littering was bad for the environment and asked them to sign a letter promising that they would never litter as long as they lived. I sent my signed letters to the president.