Faces of AOS: John W. Fitzpatrick Bio

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

• Email:

• Website/Blog/Etc:

• 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.