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The Doris Huestis Speirs Award


The Doris Huestis Speirs Award is the most prestigious award given by the SCO-SOC. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions in Canadian ornithology. Past awardees include professionals who work at museums, government agencies, private companies and universities, as well as amateur ornithologists and people who have contributed to ornithological infrastructure of Canada.

Doris Huestis Speirs was born on 27 October 1894 in Toronto, Ontario and passed away in Ajax, Ontario on 24 October 1989. Doris was highly prominent in art, literary, and ornithological circles.   She founded the Margaret Morse Nice Ornithological Club, which was the only such group specifically for women, and she was also a founding member of the Pickering Naturalists’ Club. In her lifetime, Doris made several prominent contributions to the ornithological literature on Evening Grosbeaks and Lincoln’s Sparrows (the latter with her husband, J. Murray Speirs).

The award consists of a plaque bearing the logo of the Society, as well as the name of the award, the recipient, year and purpose of the award. The award is generally presented at the Society’s annual meeting.


To nominate a candidate for the Speirs award, preferably with supporting data, contact the Chair of the award committee by 19 April 2024 : 


Nicola Koper
Chair, SCO-SOC Speirs Award Committee Chair

University of Northern British Columbia

The Speirs award selection committee (2016-2017) is composed of Colleen Barber (Chair), Mark Brigham (University of Regina), and Nicky Koper (University of  Northern British Columbia).


Click on highlighted names for citations from Picoides in the year the recipient was presented the Doris H. Speirs award

2023 - Jim Quinn, McMaster University

2022 - Rob Butler, Pacific Wildlife Foundation

2021 - Phil Taylor, Acadia University

2020 - David F. Sherry, Western University

2019 - Jean-Pierre L. Savard, Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service

2018 - Robert W. Elner, Research Scientist and Manager, Canadian Wildlife Service

2017 - David Bird, Professor, McGill University

2016 - Vicki Friesen, Professor, Queen's University

2015 - Erica Nol, Professor, Trent University

2014 - Rodger Titman, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

2013 - Tony Diamond, Research Professor, Atlantic Laboratory for Avian Research, University of New Brunswick

2012 - Peter Arcese, Professor, Centre for Applied Conservation Research, University of British Columbia

2011 - Keith Hobson, Senior Research Scientist, Environment Canada

2010 - Susan Hannon, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta

2009 - Clive Goodwin, Naturalist and educator

2008 - Kathy Martin, Research Scientist, Environment Canada, and Professor, Centre for Applied Conservation Research, University of British Columbia

2007 - Anthony Gaston, Senior Research Scientist, Environment Canada

2006 - Allan Baker, Senior Curator of Ornithology and Head of Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum, and Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Toronto

2005 - John A. Crosby, Ornithological Illustrator

2004 - Spencer G. Sealy, Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba

2003 - Raleigh J. Robertson, Professor, Baillie Family Chair in Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Queen's University; and Director, Queen's University Biological Station at Lake Opinicon

2002 - Normand David, Director, Association québécoise des groupes d'ornithologues

2001 - Erica H. Dunn Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service, and David J. T. Hussell, Research Scientist, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

2000 - James (Jamie) N. M. Smith, Professor, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia. (see also Jamie Smith Memorial Award for Mentoring)

1999 - Henri R. Ouellet, Curator, Canadian Museum of Nature (obituary)

1998 - Ian McTaggart Cowan, Dean Emeritus (Graduate Studies) and Professor of Zoology (retired), University of British Columbia.

1997 - Hugh J. Boyd, Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service

1996 - James Murray, Naturalist and Teacher, University of Toronto

1995 - Robert W. Nero, Ecologist, Manitoba Natural Resources

1994 - Anthony J. Erskine, Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service

1993 - Fred Cooke, Professor and CWS/NSERC Wildlife Ecology Senior Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University

1992 - Thomas H. Manning, Arctic explorer and natural historian

1991 - Louise de K. Lawrence, Nurse and natural historian

1990 - J. Bruce Falls, Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Toronto

1989 - C. Stuart Houston, Radiologist and natural historian

1988 - H. Albert Hochbaum, Director, Delta Waterfowl Research Station

1987 - F. Graham Cooch, Wildlife Biologist, Canadian Wildlife Service

1986 - W. Earl Godfrey, Curator Emeritus, Canadian Museum of Nature

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