Snowbird Honors Midwest Bird Expert
By Valerie Rose Redmond
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist Tom Will received conservation honors at the Partners In Flight International Conference, August 28, in Snowbird, Utah. Partners In Flight, an organization that took wing in 1990 amid copious conservation concerns about avian populations and declines, annually recognizes the exceptional dedication and contributions of bird advocates that focus on species in North, South and Central America.
One of six awardees, Will was honored for his visionary leadership in the migratory bird conservation community. He is highly respected among his peers across the United States and, indeed, in many venues around the world. A sought after speaker, his extensive knowledge of migratory birds has allowed him to build both an illustrious career and an admirable reputation.
Last month’s ceremony honored Will for a number of significant accomplishments. In his personal capacity, he is working on research exploring a wide range of bird morality causes including: depredation by collisions with wind towers, collisions with buildings and windows, collisions and electrocution at power lines, collisions with communication towers, moving vehicle collisions, and poisoning from pesticides and other environmental contaminants.
Will has developed partnerships with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to better understand the magnitude and impacts to direct human-caused sources of bird mortality. He has co-authored a number of publications and conference presentations on migratory birds and has played a major role in the emerging concept of full life-cycle bird conservation. He has lead efforts to identify and address limiting factors on the breeding, migration, and wintering grounds of several neotropical migrant birds, including the Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, and several grassland bird species.
Additionally, Will has guided the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership and Midwest Avian Data Center toward tremendous success and, in turn, is helping the Avian Knowledge Network emerge as the hub for avian data management and decision support in North America. Through his many bird conservation activities, the Service and its partners have been able to identify the highest monitoring, research, and habitat management priorities, which makes the bird conservation community more efficient and effective in conserving and managing species of concern.
“I congratulate and thank Tom and all of the award winners for their scientific acumen and leadership,” said Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “The mission of the Service depends heavily on their accomplishments and insights in helping us all to make conservation strides.”
Partners In Flight is a cooperative effort involving partnerships among federal, state and local government agencies, philanthropic foundations, professional organizations, conservation groups, industry, the academic community and private individuals. For more information about Partners In Flight visit: http://www.partnersinflight.org/