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27 January 2016 Harry R. Painton Award 2015, to Jeffrey Buler and Deanna Dawson

Every two years, the Cooper Ornithological Society bestows the Harry R. Painton Award for a paper published during the past four years in The Condor that makes an extraordinary contribution to ornithology. The Harry R. Painton Award for 2015 is presented to Jeffrey Buler and Deanna Dawson for their paper “Radar analysis of fall bird migration stopover sites in the northeastern U.S.” published in The Condor 116:357–370.

One of the challenges of modern science is to deal with the vast amount of data that are now being collected, in some cases by citizen scientists and in other cases remotely by satellites and other technologies. Buler and Dawson used radar sweeps from 16 weather surveillance radar stations operated by the National Weather Service in the northeastern United States to identify sites where densities of birds emerging at dusk to initiate nocturnal migration are particularly high.

Buler and Dawson found that such sites were typically deciduous forests embedded within landscapes dominated by agricultural or other human activities and the shorelines of large bodies of water. Using this information, they developed models predicting potentially important stopover sites throughout the region. The paper concludes by discussing how these findings, validated by on-the-ground fieldwork, will help advance the use of such remote sensing to identify and help focus conservation efforts on significant stopover sites in the northeastern United States and elsewhere. These advances and the authors' valuable use of “big data” make Jeff Buler and Deanna Dawson highly worthy recipients of the 2015 Harry R. Painton Award.

The Harry R. Painton Award, given in odd-numbered years as a cash prize of at least $1,000, is presented to the author of an outstanding paper published in the four preceding years in The Condor. The committee may choose not to grant an Award, with approval of the Cooper Ornithological Society Board. Funds for the Award come from a bequest from Mr. Painton. By vote of the board, Society funds may be used to increase the amount of this Award. A list of previous Painton Awardees can be found at

Jeffrey Buler


Deanna Dawson

"Harry R. Painton Award 2015, to Jeffrey Buler and Deanna Dawson," The Condor 118(1), 213, (27 January 2016).
Published: 27 January 2016
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