This award recognizes outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research, with no limitation with respect to geographic area, sub-discipline(s) of ornithology, or the time course over which the work was done. It consists of a medal and an honorarium and is named in honor of Elliott Coues, a pioneering ornithologist of the western United States and a founding member of the American Ornithologists’ Union.

Nomination Guidelines

Before submitting a nomination, please review the lists of previous recipients below. In recognition of the large number of ornithologists making outstanding contributions to our science, the AOS Council recommends that the Coues Award be conferred upon individuals who have not previously received the award. However, under exceptional circumstances the Council may consider and approve a nomination to confer a second award to an individual, if the new work to be recognized (1) involves a substantially different problem in ornithology than was recognized by the first award and (2) is of significantly greater quality than the work of other eligible ornithologists who have not yet been recognized with the award. Note than nominees for the Coues Award need not be members of AOS at the time of their nomination.

Submit a Nomination

To submit a nomination for the Coues Award:

  1. Login to the Member Portal.
  2. Upload a written summary (no more than 2 pages) describing the nominee’s contributions to ornithology and why they should be recognized with the award.
  3. Upload a current CV of the nominee.

Previous Winners

2019   Linda Whittingham & Peter Dunn
2018   Peter P. Marra
2017   Kevin J. McGraw
2016   Michael Sorenson
2015   Scott Edwards
2014   Staffan Bensch
2013   Russell Greenberg
2012   F. Gary Stiles
2011   Timothy Birkhead
2010   Robert Montgomerie
2009   Charles R. Brown and Mary Bomberger Brown
2008   P. Dee Boersma
2007   Keith A. Hobson
2006   Sievert A. Rohwer
2005   Nicholas B. Davies
2004   Jared Verner
2003   Donald E. Kroodsma
2002   Jeffrey R. Walters
2001   Raymond A. Paynter, Jr. and Melvin A. Traylor, Jr.
2000   Thomas E. Martin
1999   Sir John R. Krebs
1998   Jared M. Diamond
1997   Chandler S. Robbins
1996   Ellen D. Ketterson
1995   Ian Newton
1994   Wolfgang Wiltschko
1993   Joel L. Cracraft

1992   Frances C. James
1991   John A. Wiens
1990   No Award
1989   Peter Berthold
1988   Ralph W. Schreiber
1987   John C. Wingfield
1986   Fernando Nottebohm
1985   Thomas R. Howell
1984   Thomas J. Cade
1983   Masakazu Konishi
1982   No Award
1981   Amos Ar, Charles Paganelli, and Hermann Rahn
1980   Nicholas E. Collias and Elsie C. Collias
1979   No Award
1978   Joseph J. Hickey
1977   Jean Delacour and Ernst Mayr
1976   Peter Marler
1975   Richard F. Johnston and Robert K. Selander
1975   Walter J. Bock
1974   Robert H. MacArthur
1973   John T. Emlen Jr.
1972   Niko Tinbergen
1972   Alexander Wetmore

    From the field

    I also use small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS, aka drones) in my work in conservation as well as in work for the electric industry unrelated to conservation. Drones can cause much less disturbance than traditional methods when checking the nests of raptors. Drones can also be used to install line markers to reduce avian collisions, to inspect nests for entanglement hazards, or to quantify wildlife. I even get to fly drones in high voltage environments where a person would be killed if they entered! It's been fun taking over the AOS Instagram account this week — if you have questions about my work, you can reach me at jdwyer@edmlink.com! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #wildlife #drones #powerlines
.
A big thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer for his posts this week! If you're an AOS member and would like to be featured here, please send us a message.The Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), which I posted about earlier this week, is just one way of addressing avian collisions with power lines. Other methods involve “line marking,” which uses attachments on wires to increase line visibility. Unfortunately, these methods are not as reliable as we would like. In the attached photos, a Green-winged Teal in Colorado, a sparrow in Colorado, a sparrow in Wyoming, a warbler in California, and a Ring-billed Gull in California illustrate the range of species and habitats where collisions occur. #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]Avian electrocutions can be prevented. Electrocutions can cause power outages, damage expensive equipment, start wildfires, and violate state and federal conservation laws. I tend to emphasize the first three concerns when working with utilities because unplanned outages, equipment replacement, and wildfire controls or restitution can be used in sound business cases for investing in avian electrocution mitigation regardless of the political climate. In the attached photos, an electrocuted Black-billed Magpie in Idaho (burned feet), Common Raven in California (burned beak), Bald Eagle in Colorado (burned neck and back), and Great Horned Owl in Arizona (burned wing) illustrate the range of species and habitats where electrocutions occur. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #conservation #science #wildlife
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I’ve had great opportunities to work in avian conservation internationally in Africa, Canada, the Dominican Republic, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Hungary, and Spain. In these photos, a Griffon Vulture in South Africa feeds in front of a power line (out of image frame) where numerous vultures have been electrocuted, a Ridgeway’s Hawk in the Dominican Republic jumps through the air gap around a power line to land on a conductor cover installed to prevent avian electrocutions, and an electrocuted Common Buzzard and Griffon Vulture can be seen on pylons. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #science #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey #powerlines
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to my research, I give back by contributing to the leadership of the Raptor Research Foundation. I am the current Chair of the Conservation Committee, the former (and founding) Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, a former Chair (and current member) of the Scientific Committee, and a former Board Member. I’m also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Raptor Research (JRR), and right now I’m working on a special issue of JRR focused on raptors’ interactions with power lines. Here are some photos of my experiences handling and banding raptors, by Angela Dwyer, Melissa Landon, and myself. #ornithology #science #birds #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to having a peer-reviewed scientific article on the Avian Collision Avoidance System published in The Condor (see my last post!), I was lucky enough to publish an article about it in an electric industry trade magazine. Though not always emphasized in academia, encouraging communications with industry can have important conservation implications! #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #scicomm #sandhillcrane #powerlines
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I was part of the team that developed the Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), described in a recent publication in The Condor. This system shines UV lights on power lines to make them more visible to Sandhill Cranes, and tests showed that it reduces crane collisions with power lines by 98%. The video clip included in this post shows what can happen when cranes encounter power lines WITHOUT a system like ACAS in place. Photos by me, video by Laura McHale. #ornithology #birds #science #sandhillcrane #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
.
[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]
    Follow us on Instagram