Acadia’s Professor of Biology, Dr. Philip Taylor, has been awarded the Doris Huestis Speirs Award by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists/Société des Ornithologistes du Canada. Named after Speirs (1894-1989), highly prominent in art, literary, and ornithological circles, it is the society’s most prestigious award, and is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions in Canadian ornithology.
An ecologist and Director of Acadia’s Field Station on Bon Portage Island, Dr. Taylor has spent his career studying the movement behaviors of animals in landscapes. In the early 2000s, his lab developed automated telemetry to track flying animals across regions. Tiny tags, lighter than a dime, are attached to birds, bats and even insects. When one of the tagged animals flies past a station, the detection is recorded. By having many hundreds of stations across vast landscapes, all listening to the same transmitting frequency, researchers, including NGOs and agencies, can co-operatively contribute to science. That system, “Motus,” is now managed by Birds Canada and encompasses over 1000 automated stations situated throughout North and South America, and Europe. The extent of the system has allowed (for example) Taylor’s lab to track Thrushes from Bon Portage Island migrating to south America and back. "The Doris Huestis Speirs Award is well deserved," notes Acadia's Associate Vice-President Research & Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Anna Redden, "Dr. Taylor has had an outstanding career in ornithology and is a nationally and globally recognized leader in avian conservation and ecology."