Auburn's Geoff Hill receives award given for exceptional work on birds of the Western Hemisphere

Published: October 30, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn scientist Geoff Hill, professor and curator of birds in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, has received the 2014 William Brewster Memorial Award from the American Ornithologists' Union. The award is the highest honor given to an ornithologist and is awarded annually to the author or co-authors of an exceptional body of work on birds of the Western Hemisphere.

"As a scientist, I wear many hats, including ecologist, evolutionary biologist, behaviorist and physiologist. The professional title that I wear most proudly is ornithologist," said Hill. "To be recognized by my fellow ornithologists for having done worthy studies of birds is the greatest achievement of my life."

Hill has published five books on birds with major publishers, including "Ivorybill Hunters: The Search for Proof in a Flooded Wilderness," published by Oxford University Press, which is the story of how Hill and two of his colleagues stumbled upon what may be a breeding population of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, a bird long thought to be extinct, in the swamps of northern Florida. His most recent book, "National Geographic Bird Coloration," is a work on bird coloration and plumage for the general reader.

In addition to his books, Hill has been cited in more than 10,000 scientific papers and has published 218 papers in scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Evolution, BioScience, The American Naturalist, Trends in Ecology and Evolution and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. He has also served as editor for the journals Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, and Animal Behavior.

The American Ornithologists' Union is among the oldest and largest ornithological society in the world. The William Brewster Memorial Award was first awarded in 1923 and is named after one of the founding members of the American Ornithologists' Union, William Brewster. There are currently two-dozen living recipients in the world.

For more information on the William Brewster Memorial Award or the American Ornithologists' Union, go to