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Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards

The ABA Board of Directors recently voted to make five presentations of ABA Awards in 2015. The awardees are Kimberly Kaufman, George Radcliffe, Chandler Robbins, Jack Siler, and Dale Zimmerman. We want to inform all ABA members and the community of the identity of the awardees and to congratulate each of them on their substantial achievements.


Chan RobbinsChandler Robbins
(Laurel, Maryland) is awarded the ABA Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding. Robbins is a retired research scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (later the USGS) whose contributions to the science of ornithology and bird distributions span more than 60 years. He is well known to many birders as the author the “Golden Guide” field guide to North American birds, which was the first to put text, bird images and maps on the same page and to use sonograms to aid in identification. Among his many accomplishments, Robbins developed the methodology for the North American Breeding Bird Survey, a vital part of contemporary means for establishing and quantifying the status of birds on our continent. The ABA’s award for achievements in education and conservation is named for him and has been given at intervals since being established in 2000. In 2015 there are two recipients of the Robbins Award – see below.

Dale Zimmerman CDale Zimmerman (Silver City, New Mexico) is this year’s recipient of the ABA Ludlow Griscom Award for Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology. Zimmerman is an emeritus professor of biology at Western New Mexico University. He has 50 years of service to the New Mexico Ornithological Society in numerous capacities, particularly as the author of papers chronicling bird distributions of many species in the state. In addition, he has made major contributions to ornithological knowledge in Mexico, East Africa, and New Guinea. He has published more than 100 papers in the scientific literature and several books for which he was author and/or illustrator. He is a former associate editor of the AOU Monograph series and of Western Birds and has served on the editorial board of Western Birds.


RadcliffeGeorge Radcliffe
(Cambridge, Maryland) is one of two recipients this year of the ABA Chandler Robbins Award for Conservation/Education Radcliffe is a retired middle school science teacher. He was the driving force behind the creation and growth of the YMOS (Youth Maryland Ornithological Society) that has galvanized interest in birding by young birders in the state. He is the owner of a large property on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to which he invites young birders to stay and to bird. He is also working to adapt his property to be more hospitable to threatened birds like Northern Bobwhite and Grasshopper Sparrow, and to encourage adult members of the Maryland Ornithological Society to help support the attendance of four teams of YMOS members at each World Series of Birding competition.

KimberlyKaufmanKimberly Kaufman (Oak Harbor, Ohio), also receives the ABA Chandler Robbins Award for Conservation/Education and is being recognized both for her work as a founder of the Ohio Young Birders Club and for her work as volunteer, education director, and more recently executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. The observatory has in recent years mounted in Ohio an extremely popular and successful program to attract multiple experienced and beginning birders in North America to a single birding event: the “Biggest Week in American Birding.” She has made effective efforts to enlist sponsors, politicians and general public alike in the support of bird appreciation and conservation and to show that birding and birders provide economic benefits to communities and businesses.

Siler AJack Siler (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), who wins this year’s ABA Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community is a pioneer in the development of modern methods to keep birders aware of bird sightings in North America and the world. While not a computer professional himself, Siler nevertheless was able to learn enough about programming to develop a simple, effective way help birders, wherever they lived, to discover who was seeing what birds and where. His “Birdingonthe.net” web site, which still exists, was and is financially supported by him. In 2013 he most generously granted ABA permission to use and adapt the “Bird Mail” portion that consolidated various email lists in one simple, useful place. Today, this service is available to the world via the ABA web site as ABA Birding News. In a recent month, almost 71,000 people used this free ABA service. 2015 is only the second year in which this award has been given. It was first established in 2014, and the late Betty Petersen was the initial recipient, posthumously.
Michael Bowen
Chair, ABA Awards Committee

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