Congratulations to the AOS 2022 Brina C. Kessel Award Winners

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) scientific journal, Ornithology, is among the top journals for the dissemination of current ornithological research. Ornithology publishes original research that tests fundamental, scientific hypotheses through ornithological studies and advances our understanding of living or extinct bird species. Descriptive studies are considered for publication if they present important discoveries or methodological advances that open novel avenues of ornithological research. Given in even-numbered years and consisting of a cash prize of $1,500, the Brina C. Kessel Award is given in honor of Brina Kessel, former president of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU)  from 1992 to 1994, and beloved leader and mentor in ornithology. 

The AOS Publication Awards Committee reviewed all articles published in Ornithology from 2020 and 2021, and based their selection of the 2022 Brina C. Kessel Award winning paper on a set of criteria that included originality, strength of study design, potential advancement to our basic scientific knowledge of birds. We are pleased to announce that the winners of this year’s Brina C. Kessel Award are Benjamin Winger and Teresa Pegan for their paper titled “Migration distance is a fundamental axis of the slow-fast continuum of life history in boreal birds,” published in the October 2021 (Volume 138, Issue 4) issue of Ornithology.

In their paper, Winger and Pegan linked the evolution of long-distance migration in boreal-breeding birds to a life history strategy associated with high annual survival and low fecundity . By contrast, shorter-distance migrants that winter in temperate regions have a “faster” life history—lower annual survival and higher fecundity.  In a related post about the paper on the AOS blog, Wing Beat, Winger describes migration distance as “intimately connected to broadly important life history tradeoffs in 45 species of boreal birds.” 

Winger is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan and Curator of Birds at the UM Museum of Zoology. Pegan is a Ph.D. candidate in Winger’s lab, studying the evolutionary genetics of bird migration. 

Congratulations to our winners!


Winger, B. M., and T. M. Pegan. 2021. Migration distance is a fundamental axis of the slow-fast continuum of life history in boreal birds. Ornithology 138: ukab043,

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