On March 14 our friends at Bird Studies Canada let us know that C. Stuart Houston, author of our wonderful December 2005 article "Owl of Owls" (above), received the prestigious Champion of Owls Award from the Center for Biological Diversity.
I was delighted to hear this because the honor is so richly deserved. Houston, an officer of the Order of Canada and a medical doctor, has banded no fewer than 10,000 owls of 11 species since 1943. (The bird in the hand above, netted during one of his forays into the wintry wilds of Saskatchewan, is a Great Gray.) And as if all that banding weren't enough, and in addition to our article, he's published 51 papers on owls, written reviews for six owl books, and inspired many generations of ornithologists -- and me.
The good news about Houston came on the heels of the announcement that Jeffrey Wells, senior scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative and another friend of this magazine, had been honored with the 2008 Partners in Flight National Award. He received the citation at the International Partners in Flight conference held in McAllen, Texas, in February.
This is great news, too, since it recognizes Jeff's tireless service to bird-conservation efforts, including publication of the first Important Bird Areas inventory in the Western Hemisphere, early research highlighting concepts of stewardship and responsibility in bird conservation, service as chair of the Northeastern Partners In Flight Working Group, and championing of the vital importance of protecting North America's Boreal Forest. His article List by List (above), adapted from his book Birder's Conservation Handbook (Princeton 2007), will appear in the June 2008 issue of Birder's World, on newsstands in early May.
Congratulations to you both, Stuart and Jeff! -- C.H.