Dr. Patricia L. Kennedy, Recipient of the 2022 Hamerstrom Award

Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom are icons in the field of raptor ecology. Through their long-term ecological studies, the scientific community gained an appreciation for predators and a greater understanding of raptor natural history and ecology. Between them, during their lifetime of research they authored and co-authored over 240 scientific papers and reviews. The also had a revolving door of field assistants, affectionately known as the Gabboons, and mentored countless budding raptor biologists.

The Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom Award recognizes an individual who has contributed significantly to the understanding of raptor ecology and natural history, and at the 2022 conference in Fort Lauderdale, the Raptor Research Foundation bestowed this prestigious award to Dr. Patricia L. Kennedy.

Dr. Kennedy’s record of scientific achievement related to raptor ecology and natural history is exemplary. With students and collaborators as co-authors, Dr. Kennedy has produced well over 100 contributions to the ecological literature. These include more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, a substantial portion of which deal with raptor ecology. In addition to contributed publications in peer-reviewed journals, she has authored many invited papers in symposia proceedings, journals, and as book chapters, all having a strong focus on raptor ecology.

Dr. Kennedy is highly regarded for her work on Northern Goshawks in the U.S. Southwest, the western Great Lakes region, the Pacific Northwest, and the isolated population in the Black Hills, and that work has informed goshawk conservation broadly in North America. In addition, Dr. Kennedy was part of the team that wrote Management recommendations for the Northern Goshawk in the southwestern United States, a highly influential document incorporating ecology of Northern Goshawks into conservation in the U.S. Southwest at the behest of the U.S. Forest Service.

She has also worked with grassland raptor communities in western North America, and arctic raptors in Alaska. Some of her contributions include evaluating methods to detect and study raptors, providing insight into the ecology and natural history of a suite of raptor species, and basing raptor conservation on science.

Dr. David E. Andersen, who helped create the Hamerstrom Award and chaired the first committee back in 1991, had this to say, “Especially relevant to the Hamerstrom Award, Dr. Kennedy has been an exemplary role model and mentor for graduate students, postdocs, and early career professionals, and particularly for early career female scientists. Fran Hamerstrom was the only female graduate student of Aldo Leopold, and she successfully navigated an era when few women were part of the emerging profession of wildlife management. Fran was a pioneer in the profession. Dr. Kennedy, in her roles as advisor to graduate students and postdocs, and in her teaching to undergraduate and graduate students at multiple academic institutions, has continued in the wake of Fran Hamerstrom in advancing diversity and inclusivity in the raptor research community.”

In her academic capacity at multiple institutions, Dr. Kennedy has advanced the science around raptor ecology and natural history while being an influential mentor and role model, and that will be an enduring legacy.