Nick Bolgiano

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With deep gratitude for his many contributions to ornithology in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology awarded Nick Bolgiano the 2019 Earl Poole Award at our annual meeting in Williamsport. One of the nominations submitted to the Awards Committee states, “For some 30 years, Nick Bolgiano has been a major contributor to ornithology in Pennsylvania and, in particular, he has mined citizen science data for trends involving a wide variety of species – raptors foremost, but also species as disparate as bobwhite and pheasants to chickadees and Carolina Wrens to blackbirds. As our Christmas Bird Count editor since 1998, and his having dug deeply into the CBC database, Nick is without a doubt the foremost expert on CBC data in Pennsylvania.” Along with Greg Grove, Nick co-authored the book Birds of Central Pennsylvania, an excellent update of Merrill Wood’s 1958 work by the same name.

Nick is a major contributor to Stone Mountain Hawkwatch in autumn and Tussey Mountain Hawkwatch in the spring, where he is their primary coordinator. His commitment to understanding the migration of birds of prey was recently recognized by another national organization. The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) presented Nick its 2018 Appreciation Award “for his long-term citizen science contributions and dedication to raptor research efforts.”

During our 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas Project, Nick served as a Regional Coordinator and authored the species accounts for thirteen species. He has also served on the organization’s Board of Directors. Open any issue of Pennsylvania Birds, scan the table of contents, and you are likely to see Nick’s name beside an article. He has been our Winter Season Editor since the 2015-16 season. Dig into one of his many feature articles in the journal, and besides learning more about the status and distribution of particular birds or groups of birds in the Commonwealth, you will receive a primer in statistical analysis. Nick’s conclusions are always based on a rigorous examination of the data which he is able to share in a way that makes it accessible to the layperson.

Nick frequently speaks to bird clubs and to the general public about Pennsylvania’s birds. He has run three Breeding Bird Survey routes for the U.S. Geological Survey. Nick Bolgiano has a passion for the avian life of our state and works to conserve and protect it through knowledge and understanding.

For all these reasons Nick Bolgiano was an obvious choice to receive the 2019 Earl Poole Award.