Past Nominees

We believe that it is an honour to be nominated for the Bruce MacKinnon Memorial Award. Therefore, it is our pleasure to post the nominees from previous years who were not voted to receive the award. See the winners here.

2015

Mac Kuhring, Founder of Canada’s first Bird Strike Committee

At the request of the National Research Council of Canada, in 1962 Mac formed the Associate Committee on Bird Hazards to Aircraft and acted as chair of that committee until 1973. During his tenure as chair the Committee he initiated the publication of “field notes” to ensure the rapid (at least for the 1960s) exchange of information for solutions to bird strike problems. Sixty-one field notes were produced under his chair. As well, in 1969, Canada hosted the first ever “World Conference on Bird Hazards to Aircraft” in Kingston, Ontario with 140 delegates from 21 countries. Together with Dr. Vic Solman, he was a primary force behind the establishment of Bird Strike Committee Europe in 1966. The International Bird Strike Committee (now WBA) awards the prestigious "Mike" Kuhring Prize for achievements of significance in improved flight safety concerning bird hazards to aviation

Red Mason

Red Mason was contracted by Transport Canada in 1975 to oversee the wildlife control contract at Pearson International Airport. Red was an aviator and  worked in management for Esso / Imperial Oil but was also an avid birder with the Toronto Ornithological Society. His birding skills and understanding of avian behaviour led him to a expert position in wildlife management with Transport Canada. Red recruited Martin Wernaart, a wildlife specialist and bird bander to organize a live trapping program at Pearson Airport originally to control Snow Buntings which also led to raptors which was the genesis for much of the live trapping programs seen on airfields today. Red Mason passed away a number of years ago.

Martin Wernaart

Martin Wernaart immigrated from Holland in his mid twenties, already well versed in wildlife and bird trapping. He was employed by the Halton Region Conservation Authority at the Mountsberg Wildlife Centre in Campbellville Ontario and soon became Park Superintendant and the driver of one of Ontario’s largest bird-banding stations and raptor-rehabilitation centres. In the mid-'70s, his bird identification, trapping and banding skills and understanding of avian behaviour led him to support Red Mason in managing the Pearson Airport Wildlife Control contract. By the late '80s the program not only included the Pearson Airport contract, but a new found need to train airfield personnel on wildlife identification and techniques. Martin’s involvement in the training program including preparing study skins and props and hosting several training sessions at Mountsberg as well as travelling to other regions to put on training. Martin has since retired from the Conservation Authority, lives in Port Rowan and is still actively involved in banding and his own wildlife control consulting business.

2013

Dr. W. John Richardson, LGL Limited

John is a specialist in bird migration and avian hazards to aircraft. His academic training was in animal behaviour. Much of Dr. Richardson's research, since the mid-1960s, has concerned bird hazards to aircraft and bird movements over many parts of Canada, the U.S.A., and Puerto Rico. He is internationally known for his work on the effects of weather on the timing and characteristics of bird movements, including radar and visual studies, analyses, and reviews. His recent bird hazard to aircraft work has included landfill studies and analyses of the circumstances of serious birdstrike accidents, especially involving military aircraft. He has contributed numerous papers to bird strike conferences in Canada, North America and internationally. He is a current member of the Bird Strike Association of Canada.

Dr. Vic Solman, Canadian Wildlife Service, retired, deceased

Vic Solman played an important role in sponsoring studies of bird strike hazards and in organizing their mitigation, both in Canada and internationally.  He was a member (1964-1973) and chairman (1973-1976) of the Associate Committee on Bird Hazards to Aircraft of the National Research Council of Canada, and he remained involved in birdstrike problems for many years thereafter.  He put much effort into promoting awareness of birdstrike issues, and into assisting others with their research and initiatives in this field. Dr. Solman was also instrumental in getting the Bird Strike Committee Europe started.  BSCEurope evolved into the International Bird Strike Committee, which in turn evolved into the current World Birdstrike Association. Dr. Solman's many publications, mostly on bird hazards to aircraft, leave a lasting contribution to the field. Vic died earlier this year at the age of 98.

2011

Dr. John E. Black, Brock University

John, along with colleague Kayo J. Roy, recently published a fantastic book called Niagara Birds, a 700-page volume that details Niagara's birds.  The following biography is provided on the back-cover of this book.

John is an avid bird watcher who arrived in the Niagara Region in 1966 to teach Physics at Brock University. In 1993 he began research on the migration of birds on weather radar and on the nocturnal calls of migrating birds.  Results of these studies have been published in Birders Journal and the The Auk.  One of his present ambitions is to see all of the families of birds in the world.  He has served as councillor and webmaster for the Association of Field Ornithologists, Regional Coordinator for Niagara for the second Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, member of the board of the Peninsula Field Naturalists, and he is currently president of the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Dr. W. John Richardson, LGL Limited

John has been active in bird hazards to aircraft ever since he was in graduate school. He is a pioneer in the use of radar to monitor bird movements and proved its utility in tracking the movements of Snow Geese in Manitoba. His work in that area laid the early groundwork for the long march towards the use of bird radars today. A long-time participant in the bird strike committees and conferences at both the North American and International levels, he, along with Tim West have tracked military bird strikes for many years and presented their findings numerous times to the bird strike committees. As a bibliophile, John is perhaps the single most knowledgeable person in the industry today of the large amount of research and development that has taken place since the bird hazard to aircraft field began in the 1960s.