The Earl Poole Award for outstanding contributions to ornithology in Pennsylvania was presented to Doug Gross on May 19, 2007, at the PSO annual meeting in Harrisburg.
Doug is a great birder and friend to many Pennsylvania birders, as he was a County Coordinator for the first PA Breeding Bird Atlas and a founding board member of PSO. He served on the board continually until 2006, including serving well as our President for two 2-year terms. He wrote several of the species accounts for the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania, and has been a regular contributor to the PSO Pileated as the “Raven Reporter”. Doug is presently a Regional Coordinator for the Second PA Breeding Bird Atlas.
Doug has been a field ornithologist and ecologist all of his adult life. Residing in Orangeville, Columbia County, he is presently a wildlife biologist with the PA Game Commission in the position of Endangered Birds Specialist. In this role, he coordinates and works with several projects for inventorying and monitoring the state’s Endangered, Threatened, and other birds of conservation concern.
Doug devised the Special Areas Project, which became PSO’s own citizen science project and now has two state park checklists to its credit. He created the protocol and initiated Pennsylvania’s first state-wide night bird survey, the Northern Saw-whet Owl Surveys, known affectionately as “Toot Routes”, which vastly increased knowledge of the breeding range of this species in PA.
Doug served on the Ornithological Technical Committee of the PA Biological Survey, an advisory group to the PA Game Commission. He served as Chair of that committee for 12 years. The OTC oversees the state's Species of Special Concern list, including the Endangered and Threatened species list. The committee’s work also allowed him to be involved with the PA Important Bird Area selection; he helped to guide several nominators through the acceptance process.
Doug is generally considered to be the expert on Yellow-bellied Flycatchers in the United States; he authored the Birds of North America account for this species. He has also done a considerable amount of field work on breeding Blackpoll Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatchers in Pennsylvania. He has conducted countless BBS routes and Breeding Bird Censuses.
Typically, Doug has a new project in the works – a Pennsylvania page on Cornell’s eBird website, which will tie together all the data for the state, and also serve as “one-stop shopping” for bird enthusiasts, with links to the PABIRDS listserve and other birding websites.
We are happy to honor Doug with the Earl Poole Award in recognition of his many contributions to ornithology in Pennsylvania.