• My position with AOS:
In Memoriam Editor of Auk and Condor
• My current full-time title and institution:
Emeritus Professor Biology, McKendree University
• My current career stage:
• My lineage of mentors/labs:
BA in zoology from University of Kansas, took Ornithology from Richard Johnston.
PhD in biology from Saint Louis Univeristy supervised by James Mulligan
Taught undergraduate biology at McKendree for 32 years, and also taught Ornithology courses at Reis Biological Station in Ozarks and Univeristy of Michigan Biological Station as Visiting Professor. Studied community and reproductive ecology of house sparrows and Eurasian tree sparros in US and Poland. Wrote Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow (OUP 2006) and The Life of David Lack (OUP 2013).
• My favorite bird and why:
The house sparrow, of course. Saying anything else after 50 years of studying the species would be to insult the house sparrow. Loved working with them because of their accessability and ease of obtaining large sample sizes.
• I am involved with AOS because:
Joined the AOU in 1963 as an undergraduate, and have also been a member of Cooper, Wilson and Field Ornitholgists Societies. Their journals have been a primary source for accessing the bird literature, and the societies serve as an effective networking means (better than Linkedin) for bird people.
• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
• Birds are important to me because:
I have been interested in birds since I spent time on my grandparents farm in central Kansas. The wide open spaces of Kansas mean that birds are more conspicuous there than in forested areas—my explanation for why so many professional ornithologists have come from Kansas. I am particularly fond of their vocalizations, not surprising once you realize that I’m a blind ornithologist.
• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Find a species or set of species that you love to work with—it helps to foster the passion that you need to be successful in spite of problems that inevitably emerge when you are doing research.