Western Field Ornithologists
Research Grant Program Announcement

WFO is pleased to announce a new Research Grant Program that will support student research and internships in the field biology of birds. The program supports WFO’s mission of promoting the study of birds throughout western North America and supports the mission of the WFO Student Programs Committee to help develop the next generation of field ornithologists and sustain a long term bond between young ornithologists and WFO. Two grants of $1,500 each may be awarded in 2020. Information about criteria for applying and application requirements may be found here. The application deadline for 2020 is March 31, 2020.

For further information contact John Harris at

Download the research grant application.

44th Annual WFO Conference Student Programs

2019 Conf. Students

Western Field Ornithologists (WFO) hosts an annual conference that student birders are encouraged and welcome to attend. In addition to great people, there are field trips, workshops, scientific presentations, sound identification panels, expert identification panels, a keynote speaker, a book auction, a banquet and more. About 240 birders, including two dozen student birders, attended the 2019 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The conference hosted two afternoons filled with cutting edge science as ornithologists presented their work on various topics including: Great Horned Owl pigmentation; cognition in the Common Raven; Cave Swallow expansion; isotope analysis to study ornithology; exporting dietary shifts of Golden Eagle; assessing influence of food subsidies in Cooper’s Hawks, nestling development and fledging in Black-throated Gray Warblers, prey composition in Osprey; avian biology and responses to climate change; molt migration in Mexican monsoon; Bendire’s Thrasher survival as related to vegetation characteristics; and geographic variation in the Flammulated Owl.

image3Thursday night’s welcome reception was held on the campus of the University of New Mexico. It was fun to meet like-minded individuals, share delicious food and have an insider’s look at the Southwestern Museum of Biology.

image1The bird sound identification team challenge with Nathan Pieplow was challenging as always! Nathan seems to make this quiz harder each year. In the end, it was the incredible effort from the team erroneously named, the Inadequate Bannanquits, that came out on top. Congratulations to all the young birders and mentors for participating in this really fun event.

Friday night’s youth reception was held poolside where young birders got to meet old friends, make new friends, and mingle with some of the best birders in the country.

image0Saturday morning found the students out bright and early for a field trip to Tingley Beach and the Bosque Ponds. It was a great morning of birding and lifers were ticked off the list! This was followed by a youth trip behind the scenes at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. This was a chance to get inspired to think more about birds and migration, molt, species, sub-species, status and distribution, and likely inspired a young birder or two to think more about research opportunities.

image5After the Saturday afternoon science sessions, there was the infamous bird expert identification panel. An amazing group of experts, Kimball Garrett, Jon Dunn, Shawneen Finnegan, Ryan Terrill and Jon Garrett. This esteemed panel really showed how much they know about birds and identifying birds and we all learned a lot.

Dr. Chritopher Witt presented his pioneering research over a delicious banquet at the final night of the conference.

We are already looking forward to the 45th Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada in September 2020.

2019 Scholarship Recipents: Click here.

Wrong-eared Owl, a periodical produced by WFO student scholars (click cover for the Summer 2019 issue)

Wrong-eared Owl cover