Isleib Award for Avian Conservation

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 award is presented to Robert J. Ritchie, ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services, Fairbanks, AK

Significant contributions to bird conservation

Bob completed his M.S. degree at the University of Alaska—Fairbanks. During the past 40+ years, his primary ornithological interests have focused on the ecology and conservation of raptors and waterfowl throughout Alaska. His main passion has always been studying the status and recovery of Peregrine Falcon populations from the effects of pesticides, oil spills, human disturbance, and habitat encroachment. He was a member of the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Team and has conducted surveys for peregrines and other raptor species in Interior and Northern Alaska since the early 1970s. He also has been the Principal Investigator on long-term population studies of Brant, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, and Spectacled and Steller’s eiders in Northern Alaska. Much of the applied research Bob has conducted has helped in protecting birds while planning environmental mitigation for development projects. Bob has published more than 40 scientific papers on birds.

Bob started the scientific-consulting firm Alaska Biological Research (ABR) in Fairbanks in 1976. Under Bob’s leadership, ABR has become a statewide leader in private-sector ornithological research, employing many graduates of the University of Alaska and training many others who went on to graduate school or careers with federal or state agencies. Through his business, Bob has provided opportunities to new generations of accomplished ornithologists, and his leadership and mentoring have produced a team known for its scientific capabilities and integrity. Bob also has been a leader in fostering strong ties and cooperation between the private sector and agency scientists, and he has worked tirelessly on behalf of avian conservation through his involvement with the Boards of Directors of the Alaska Bird Observatory and the Nature Conservancy. In summary, Bob’s ornithological legacy in Alaska includes his highly successful career in applied science, his dedication to raptor conservation, and his leadership in developing a business focused on producing objective science, the welfare of his employees, and good corporate citizenship.


Robert H. Day and Stephen M. Murphy, ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services


 Bob Ritchie at Calypso Farm


  1. E. “Pete” Isleib was an extraordinary birder who took his passion for birds into both science and avian conservation. He moved to Alaska in the early 1960s and made his living as a commercial fisherman. He was known for his study of birds in the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound area. His monograph coauthored with Brina Kessel, Birds of the North Gulf Coast–Prince William Sound Regions, Alaska, provided some of the earliest comprehensive data on the avifauna of that region and still stands as the authoritative work for that area. He also was involved in avian conservation through his extensive volunteer work for the National Audubon Society. Pete died in an accident while refitting his fishing boat in Naknek, Alaska, in 1993.

The Isleib Award in Avian Conservation is presented for “outstanding contributions to bird conservation in Alaska.”

This award has been presented at every Alaska Bird Conference since 1994. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Stanley E. Senner (1994), G. Vernon Byrd (1997), Calvin J. Lensink (1998), James G. King (2000), Daniel D. Gibson (2002), Brina Kessel (2004), Bruce Conant and John I. (“Jack”) Hodges, Jr. (2006), Robert E. Gill, Jr. (2008), Dirk V. Derksen (2010), Russell M. Oates (2012), and Brian J. McCaffery (2014).