Dr. Dan Klem

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The Awards Committee is happy to announce that the winner of the 2008 PSO Conservation Award is Dr. Dan Klem in recognition of his decades of pioneering research regarding glass and avian mortality.

Dr. Klem is an ornithologist, educator, and researcher. Many of you may remember meeting him in 2007, when he presented “Birds and Glass” at our Harrisburg meeting. He has spent over 30 years researching avian mortality at man-made structures, specifically birds being killed at glass. Dr. Klem is a very modest man and did not call attention to the fact that he has single-handedly brought this to the forefront of many conservation efforts, locally, nationally, and worldwide. For many years he was considered a maverick, but his courage and perseverance finally resulted in many organizations now using his data.

Dr. Klem is the world’s leading authority on the window kills of birds. I would like to cite one of the many places on the internet where I found mention of Dr. Klem’s work. In the March 2004 issue of Audubon magazine, Frank Gill, udubon’s director of science, stated “Few people see the big picture” (regarding window-kills). The article ontinued, “That may be changing—in part owing to two decades of work by Klem, whom Gill calls ‘perhaps the only scientist to have gone at this problem systematically.’ Conservationists and architects interested in reducing glass’s death toll are increasingly calling on Klem for help. His bird-friendly building ideas are being incorporated into construction projects and may also find their way into evolving guidelines for ‘green’ buildings.”

Advice that now seems to be common knowledge, such as“place your feeders within 3 feet of windows” came from Dr. Klem’s research. Unfortunately, people often forget or simply do not know to cite their references, and Dr. Klem’s work is so widely used that many don’t even know where this important data came from.

In addition to his pioneering research and conservation efforts, Dr. Klem has taught biology and ornithology at Muhlenberg College, as well as at Moravian College for 28 years. He has done a brilliant job introducing thousands of students to the joy of bird watching, ornithology, and biology. His students have nothing but glowing comments
about his course and his enthusiasm for birds and teaching.