Please note: Because AOS’s 2020 meeting is part of the North American Ornithological Conference, hosted jointly with several other societies, student and postdoc travel awards for 2020 are being handled through the NAOC website. Also see the NAOC website for information on AOS Caregiver Grants, which offset the extra costs incurred by caregivers to attend the meeting (for example, childcare or care of an ailing spouse or parent) .

AOS provides travel awards for students (undergraduate, masters, and doctoral) as well as postdocs to help defray expenses to attend our annual meeting. These awards, made possible by endowed funds established through the generosity of Marcia Brady Tucker (in 1978) and Brina Kessel (in 2017), are administered by the Student & Postdoc Travel and Presentation Awards Committee.

To be eligible for an award, a student must present an oral or poster presentation and must be the sole author or presenting author on co-authored presentations. Student applicants need not be members when they apply; however, awardees must be AOS members in order to receive their awards. Post-doc applicants must be a members of AOS when they apply and be generally ineligible for institutional student travel awards (e.g., graduated more than a semester prior to the meeting). Students between degree-seeking programs who intend to re-enter a degree program in the future may also apply for these awards.

Travel Awards In Support of Diversity & Inclusion

As part of our ongoing efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive community, AOS is proud offer additional travel awards supporting individuals from underrepresented groups and/or those who have made significant contributions towards fostering a diverse and inclusive community. Membership in AOS is not required to be eligible for these awards. Students and post-docs (as described above) that wish to be considered for these awards should select the appropriate option in the application process. 

Applicants for travel awards under the auspices of diversity and inclusion may also apply for the general travel awards; however, to receive a regular travel award you mush be a student member of AOS as described above. Awardees will not be able to receive funding for both.

Application Details

Individuals wishing to be considered for travel awards must indicate their interest when submitting their abstract for the meeting. The online abstract submission form includes a set of questions specific to those seeking a travel award. Answering these questions, in addition to completing the rest of the abstract submission form, will serve as the individual’s travel award application.

Required application materials include the following:

  • Current academic standing (e.g. undergrad, MS, PhD, post-doc, between degrees).
  • Supervisor’s name and email address.
  • Anticipated graduation date.
  • Travel budget information. Note: Budget requests can only include estimated costs associated with travel to and from the annual meeting. Eligible expenses are limited to airfare, shuttles/taxis/Uber, gas, etc. Other costs such as lodging and meeting registration cannot be included in the budget request. 
  • Location from which you will be traveling (state/province and country).
  • Past travel and/or presentation awards you have received from AOS.
  • A signed letter from your current advisor on university letterhead indicating you are a student in good academic standing, or (if you are between degree-seeking programs) a signed letter from your previous advisor, indicating that you intend to re-enter a degree program in the future.

From the field

Agricultural lands can support bird populations, but agricultural intensification can also cause populations to decline — so what role are changes in American agriculture playing for Mourning Doves? A Mourning Dove’s age can be estimated from the molt pattern of the wing feathers, and the age ratios of birds killed by hunters let the researchers behind a recent paper in The Condor estimate doves’ reproductive output in different regions. They found that although the specifics varied between locations, small changes in land cover were linked to large differences in Mourning Doves' reproductive output. In the eastern U.S., for example, counties with greater proportions of intensive corn and soybean agriculture had much lower ratios of juveniles to adults. Learn more at the press release linked in our profile! Photo by David Muñoz. #agriculture #ornithology #birds #wildlife #conservation #science #ecology #mourningdoveMillions of songbirds that breed across North America converge on a tiny region of Colombia called the Darién during their migration each year, as shown by research recently published in The Condor. This is what the researchers call a migratory Plenty of studies, especially in “birdy” places like shade-grown coffee farms, have shown that birds can provide an economically valuable service to farmers by eating pest insects. But what about in the huge swathes of farmland that cover much of the U.S.? To find out, the researchers behind a recent study in The Condor set up mesh “exclosures” over corn and soybean plants to see how keeping out birds but not insects would affect crops' success. They found that birds had a positive effect on corn crop yield, but a negative effect on soybean crop yield in the adjacent field. For the many farmers that use a corn-corn-soybean rotation schedule, this may suggest economic gain in the long run. Photos by Daryl Coldren and Megan Garfinkel. #ornithology #birds #wildlife #ecology #conservation #science #agriculture #midwestThe sunbirds are a group of nectar-eating songbirds from Africa and Asia that are a sort of Old World counterpart of hummingbirds. A recent paper in The Condor offered a new reason to prioritize sunbird conservation beyond just At Michigan State I teach two courses, Ecology and Tropical Biology. Each fall during the Tropical Biology course we have a “Tropical Thanksgiving.” Each group of students is assigned a plant family with a distribution primarily in the tropics, and students need to uncover a species in the plant family that humans eat. Then they bring in a dish prepared with that species, like pineapple upside down cake, brownies, or banana cream pie. Our Tropical Thanksgivings tend to be heavy on desserts! #ecology #tropicalecology #tropicalbiology #ethnobotany #botany #plantbiology #thanksgiving
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[Thanks, Catherine! If YOU are an AOS member and would like to be featured here for a week, please get in touch.]We have worked in Panama and Costa Rica in areas undergoing forest restoration. Birds play vital roles in restoration systems by consuming insects that can damage young trees. They also disperse seeds of plants and provide pollination services. Tropical birds are also just cool! Photo credits include Sean Williams. #ornithology #wildlife #science #birds #ecology #conservation #restoration #neotropicalbirds
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[Our thanks to Catherine Lindell, Editor-in-Chief of AOS journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications, who's taking over this account for the week!]We have investigated a number of tactics to deter pest birds in orchards. Inflatable tube-men appear effective in some contexts, if farmers move them around and use enough of them. We have had mixed results with drones; some models and some flight trajectories are likely to be more effective than others in deterring crop-eating birds. Photo credits include Shayna Wiefrich and Ben Hawes. #ornithology #birds #wildlife #science #agriculture #orchards #womeninstem
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[Our thanks to Catherine Lindell, Editor-in-Chief of AOS journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications, who's taking over this account for the week!]
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