The American Birding Association has six awards to recognize the many kinds of contributions dedicated individuals can make to the cause of birds, birders and birding. The awards and the categories of achievement they recognize are as follows:

The ABA Lifetime Achievement Award, The Tropicbird

Given in recognition of significant achievements in promoting the merits and benefits of birding. Recipients of this award have made birding the focus of their lives and have inspired many others to share that passion. This award honors individuals who have, by various means, advanced the practice and popularity of birding on a large scale. Inspired by the impact of birding icon Roger Tory Peterson this award is given only to recipients who have taken birding to the next level. Recent recipients include Scott Weidensaul, Bill Thompson III, JB Brumfield, and J. Drew Lanham.

The ABA Award for Education/Conservation

This award recognizes outstanding efforts in birder education, bird conservation or in the management or preservation of habitats on which birds and birding depends. It is presented for excellence in either or both in both areas. Achievements approaching the quality and scope of those of Chandler Robbins qualify recipients for this award.

The ABA Award for Distinguished Service

Given for a distinguished service to ABA. It is awarded to an ABA member volunteer or employee who has given long and useful service to the organization. This is a way for ABA to honor those individuals who have devoted many hours and considerable energy to the good of the organization. Long-serving ABA member Claudia Wilds was the embodiment of the ideals established for the recipients of this award.

The ABA Award for Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology

This award is given in recognition of individuals who have dramatically advanced ornithological knowledge for a particular region. This may be through their long-time contributions in monitoring avian status and distribution, facilitating the publication of regional bird books, or producing breeding bird atlases and significant papers on the regional natural history of birds. Their impact may also be through the force of their personality, teaching and inspiration. Ludlow Griscom served as a role model for many who followed to become leaders in their own regions. Recent recipients include Debi Shearwater, Al Smith and Daphne Gemmill.

The ABA Award for Conservation and Community

Since 2013, this award has honored those who, like the late Betty Petersen, have made great strides in expanding diversifying and strengthening the birding community and those who have worked to build a support network for conservation. It recognizes that major contributions are often made by those who work behind the scenes, organizing and facilitating progress. While conservation is a key element, the focus here is less on ornithology and more on the skill of supporting and connecting people, reinforcing the fabric of our bird conservation community.

Friend of the Birding Community

Community builders come from all walks of life and contribute to the promotion of birding as a healthy and worthwhile activity. This award celebrates ABA members who are making a difference in their own communities and/or who have brought birding to the attention of the public in a significant and positive way.

Procedures for Nominations

The nomination and selection process is the same for all awards. ABA Awards will be presented at ABA sponsored or cosponsored events or at appropriate birding venues. Which awards and how many of each will be given each time is the decision of the ABA Board of Directors. There is no requirement that each award must be given every year and more than one of each award could be given in the same year if the Board so desired.

Nominations can be made by current members of ABA in good standing, including staff and board members. The general membership is strongly encouraged to make nominations. Please use this form in the right sidebar of this page to make your nomination. The nominations deadline is December 31.